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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Fluid Foil (A groundbreaking no contact, roll to roll, modular transportation and fluid delivery technology that enables faster and more uniform chemical reaction of any feature size without risk of damage.)

Fluid Foil Report Summary

Project ID: 717643

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Fluid Foil (A groundbreaking no contact, roll to roll, modular transportation and fluid delivery technology that enables faster and more uniform chemical reaction of any feature size without risk of damage.)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The PCB and related industries has seen significant contraction across Europe in the last 15 years as contract work has migrated to China and other APAC economies.
Cemco have designed and developed automated processing equipment, predominantly for the PCB industry for over 40 years. Many of these designs have become the industry standard and are often reproduced in series production, and exported worldwide. Ninety percent of PCB’s are now fabricated in Asia which has led to the growth of local equipment manufacturers who supply PCB manufacturers with low-cost processing equipment. As a result, and following the overall trend of the European PCB industry, many Cemco products have been copied, or rendered uncompetitive following industry migration.
However, with the continual drive to reduce size and cost of electronic devices while simultaneously increasing their capability, there are a number of challenges that the processing equipment industry has so far failed to resolve fully (for example, the likelihood of in process waste using conventional processing technology increasing due to ever thinner substrate materials being required; equipment for emerging technologies is large, expensive and inflexible, and therefore unable to provide cost effective demonstration and testing facilities in a production environment; for the same reasons, it is inaccessible to all but the largest businesses and, due to the bespoke nature, generation of large amounts of chemical waste from inefficient processes often results.)

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Cemco’s proven and multi-patented Fluid Foil technology solves these problems, and can be applied to many different market sectors - faster and at lower cost. Once launched, we are confident that Cemco will be able to capture, an improved share of the processing equipment market (through a combination of strategic partnering, maintaining control over critical components and licensing arrangements) and bringing back this rapidly growing industry to Europe
Our overall objectives for this study were to validate interest in the benefits of Fluid Foil with potential customers, to engage with appropriate partners to bring Fluid Foil to market with, to develop our Commercialisation and IP protection strategies, and a plan for the remainder of our development programme, to assess the inherent risks to our project, and to further develop our business plan.
Running parallel with our feasibility study, Cemco have also conducted a programme of proof of concept engineering in order to further minimise project risk at later stages. A number of key discoveries were made during this work which have fed into our assessment of the market, commercialisation opportunities, IP strategy, development and business plans, as well as highlighting other potential project risks.
The funded feasibility study enabled Cemco to evaluate the market for Fluid Foil, engage in discussions with potential customers and identify acceptable price points. Cemco have been able to validate that our design and engineering approach will deliver product which meets acceptable pricing levels, while maintaining sustainable return on sales for our business. Letters of support received indicate a willingness to partner with Cemco to deliver Fluid Foil to market. Cemco own the relevant IP, and further protection and commercialisation opportunities have been identified. An ambitious but realistic plan for further development of Fluid Foil has now been developed, along with mitigation strategies which manage identified risks. Our business plan is developed, and presents Fluid Foil as an attractive opportunity. With the business case for Fluid Foil validated, Cemco intend to proceed with the development and commercialisation plan as described.
Compared to conventional equipment, Fluid Foil products are smaller (low footprint), more adaptable and re-usable/ recyclable, and have greater capability than convention equipment, particularly with regard to the ‘contactless’ processing of delicate film materials, enabling higher yields.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

This equipment will help facilitate the ongoing socio-economic trend (particularly within Europe) towards smaller, efficient highly skilled and technologically capable companies within the industrial sector, due to its lower cost, smaller footprint, greater capability and adaptability in use, meaning that emerging technologies are better supported.
Reduction in (chemical) waste to drain and equipment turnover will reduce the impact of such industries on the environment, while affordable, adaptable equipment will help facilitate the uptake of new technologies into mass production.
The availability of Fluid Foil products will help to ‘level the playing field’ allowing companies, particularly in developed nations, to compete again in markets recently dominated by large scale Industry in Asia, by increasing production efficiency and lowering capital equipment costs for SME’s operating in competitive industries.

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