CPI, an independent technology innovation centre and founding member of the UK Government's High Value Manufacturing Catapult, has announced a new collaborative project with Reelables to demonstrate a novel technology for printing smart Battery-on-Circuit labels, used to track shared objects in workspaces. This low-cost power source will eliminate the need for expensive and bulky external batteries for printed electronics, overcoming a key barrier to their widening application, mass production and industry growth.
Existing asset tracking solutions on the market require time consuming installation procedures and are often expensive to use. The London-based SME, Reelables, has invented a smart-label that can be easily attached to objects and tracked automatically through a phone app. The smart-label incorporates a key manufacturing innovation that allows a battery to be inserted directly alongside the wireless tracking circuit on a thin plastic film. The low-cost battery technology is formed by electrochemically coating and laminating two plastic films together, which can power a wireless smart-label for more than a year. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Flexible, Printed and Thin Film Batteries 2019-2029.
Funded by Innovate UK, an initial 12-month feasibility study will be carried out, combining the expertise of Cisco and the Digital Catapult, with each partner bringing unique skills and capabilities for technology innovation. CPI will provide expertise from both its electronics and formulation business units to support the development of the battery device, including: anode coating, electrolyte formulation, cathodic slurry formulations and coatings, device assembly, and the testing of battery cells. In addition, CPI will compile a written report detailing how the technology will be manufactured at larger scales and its potential in the printed electronics market.
The successful development of the smart, Battery-on-Circuit labels will enable a new, growing workforce of geographically disperse employees to track shared objects ranging from tools and demo kits to portable medical equipment.
Brian Krejcarek, CEO at Reelables, said: "The ability to coat a lithium-based battery on the same substrate as our wireless circuit would be a breakthrough manufacturing win for track and trace applications across multiple industries. It would enable long-lifespan Internet of Things (IoT) devices to be made at very low cost. We're particularly excited to be working with CPI to figure out how this can be done under ambient manufacturing environments in the presence of atmospheric oxygen and water - the key challenge when working with lithium based electro-chemistries."
Sam Chan, Technical Lead of POETICS Project at CPI, said: "This challenging project brings together the expertise from two business units at CPI to develop an advanced, integrated flexible battery on an existing IoT product. This battery development will boost the market value for printed electronics by greatly reducing costs. The integration of flexible batteries in smart labels also has the potential to be exploited in other IoT devices."
CPI is an independent technology innovation centre and a founding member of the UK Government's High Value Manufacturing Catapult. Founded in 2004, CPI applies its years of experience across a broad range of industries to ensure that every great invention gets the best opportunity to become a successfully marketed product.
CPI's integrated approach provides its partners with a unique combination of assets, expertise and skills to drive successful innovation. With a deep understanding of innovation processes and funding, outstanding technical expertise and industry-relevant assets, CPI enables products and processes to be quickly and cost-effectively brought to market. By employing bright minds from both academia and industry, CPI helps create a bespoke team that will provide the right support, helping you to navigate the route to commercialisation while reducing risk along the way.
We form connections throughout the supply chain, bringing together investors, government organisations and academic institutions to facilitate the necessary partnerships for effective innovation. This increases productivity across industries and supports the development of next-generation manufacturing, highly-skilled jobs and economic growth for the UK.
Rob Dods, Notch Communications
Source: Notch Communicatons