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Nano-Enabled Conducting Materials Accelerating Device Applicability

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NECOMADA (Nano-Enabled Conducting Materials Accelerating Device Applicability)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

The objective of NECOMADA was the delivery of conductive inks & adhesives compatible with Roll to Roll application on flexible substrates via a pilot line featuring high speed printing and/or pick and place conversion. Such printed flexible electronics will enable the manufacture of devices for Machine 2 Machine Communication such as Near Field Communications & Radio-Frequency IDentification. The project targeted the substantial reduction in device costs (greater than an order of magnitude) compared with current State of the Art. The ultimate ambition of the project was two-fold. Firstly the intention to develop materials and methods that are beyond state of the art, which will enable the manufacture of very low cost RFID inlays to be realised opening up the market and possibilities for the IoT. The second ambition to deliver an open access pilot line able to develop, evaluate and produce nanoparticles, inks & adhesive materials & devices beyond the project. NECOMADA builds on three use cases:
1. BSH: Printed tags (on tags) to be attached to food items, that will be read by a smart fridge. Allows creating an inventory and keeping track of best-before dates
2. Crown Packaging Manufacturing: Printed tags on metal packaging. Allows improving brand security and customer interaction
3. Henkel: Printed tags on FMCG packaging. Allows improving marketing and communication activities through customer interaction and could be the basis for reordering processes and loyalty programs.
4. Consortium demostrators: Passive NFC tag fully converted to a smart business card, can be programmed with multiple content; active NFC tag logging temperature over programmable period, can be configured and analysed using a mobile phone; passive NFC RFID tag using a PragmatIC FlexIC, provides UID for multiple applications
Specification Validation, focussed end-user specifications developed for the 4 end-users: BSH, Crown Packaging Manufacturing, Henkel NXP, developed with end-users. For particle development & stabilisation characterising the ‘standard’ nanomaterial products to identify the formulation challenges associated with them. Development of a low cost process reductions of 75% achieved through optimisation of the synthetic protocol, especially purification via cross flow filtration. Exploration of the synthetic conditions resulted in an x85 increase in product’s silver conc. Development work determined that Thomas Swan graphene was insufficiently conducting, and could not meet the requirements of either ink or adhesive. However an attractive component for hybrid materials. Existing synthetic process for copper nanoparticles successfully optimized. Dispersion of ferrite has proved difficult preventing dispersion in water. Formulation & testing of conductive adhesives, involved the development of nano-enabled conductive adhesives for the attachment of flexible devices. Formulation of an adhesive that matches materials properties with the mechanical characteristics required to support the use of larger FlexIC pad sizes. Formulation & testing conductive inks developed a nano-enabled conductive ink suitable for creating printed antennae that meet the requirements of WP2 (Specification Validation) by achieving:• High conductivity • A strict cost targets •Sustainability of particular interest a focus on the development of a water-based ink with zero VOC and halogen content.
Print process development & integration trials – adhesives, determined critical process factors for dispensing & curing novel isotropic & anisotropic adhesives, where possible widen this window, transfer this knowledge from a sheet to sheet system to the Műhlbauer R2R integration line (pilot line). Print process development & integration trials – inks, brought forward from M13 to M7 the reasons, to mitigate against a potential single point failure. Inks are being developed as part of WP5 and imperative that they were trialled using print proofing equipment whilst being developed. Otherwise there is a risk that significant time & resource is utilised to develop an ink that ultimately proves to be unsuitable. Optimisation of printing process on a sheet fed system, as part of WP2, both polymers and paper identified as potential substrates by the consortium. Electronics System Design, WP feeds into is to validate capability for volume manufacturing RF antenna & integrated NFC tags. Required: Use case & acceptable cost points, Known antenna capability, Demonstrator schematics, simulations & inlay design for the hybrid electronics solution, Cost optimised manufactured FlexIC with appropriate functionality, An attach process through a conductive attach adhesive. LCA, SHE and Regulatory Affairs, ensures that NECOMADA contributes to the circular economy & sustainable development in general. Work started on the review of minimising the ecological impact of NECOMADA products, Maximise ecological benefits of NECOMADA applications, identify potential SHE issues & provision of solutions & guidance & tackle potential sustainability & regulatory issues.
Exploitation & Dissemination, produced a project dissemination, communication strategy & project branding creating a project branding, ID of the marketing communication audience, website, social media & workshops. First project flyer produced for use at events/conferences, draft Business Plan for the operation of the pilot-line addressing the facility for the 5years post-funding. In first period of NECOMADA work started to publicise the project as widely as possible. Partners who attended events/conferences where they were presenting made every effort to mention and publicise the project.
The project legacy will be an open access pilot line facility provided by the project Research Technology Organisation (RTO) partners covering the synthesis of nanomaterials (DTI), high throughput formulation (CPI-F) and R2R RFID tag printing and inlay production (CPI-PE). From the perspective of global competitiveness, advanced materials (which include nanomaterials) have been identified as major component to Europe’s Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). There are many new SMEs and spin-off companies in nanotechnology. Currently, the direct employment in nanotechnology is estimated at 300,000 to 400,000 jobs in the EU, with an increasing trajectory. The opportunity for conductive inks alone is substantial. Therefore, strategic capability needs to be developed to support the creation of new markets. For electronic packaging opportunities for the introduction of electronics into the packaging market are stated where ever possible in terms of specific market surveys covering the sectors, e.g. Metal Can Coatings, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and Domestic Appliances. For the wider global impact the NECOMADA pilot line represents a unique capability:
Healthcare: Food Waste:It will therefore have significant impact outside of the EU and is likely to create business opportunities for the pilot line partners particularly from the Far East divisions of the global multi-nationals which dominate the printable electronics and printed packaging markets.