The first commercial application of graphene-based inks is in the final stages of trials and is expected to be ready to launch in select U.S. retail stores in 2012 according to US companies Vorbeck Materials Corp. and global packaging solutions provider MeadWestvaco Corp. (MWV). Earlier this year IDTechEx published the announcement of Vorbeck Materials that Graphene-based conductive inks will appear in products this year.
In an interview with IDTechEx Vorbeck's President, John Lettow, Development Director, Sanjay Monie, and MWV's Director of Open Innovation, Michael Londo, spoke about their groundbreaking commercial application of graphene-based Vor-Ink in the new security smart packaging Natralock® with Siren™ Technology. Currently in the last stages of regionalized field tests, it is expected to appear in select US retail stores in 2012.
According to Michael Londo, MWV developed this new product as a loss prevention solution for retailers and brand owners. Natralock® with Siren™ Technology eliminates the need for a product to be locked up or hidden by "spiders" and "safers." The new packaging solution allows for consumers to interact with the package and see the branding and other messaging that is important for the brand owners to relay while keeping would-be thieves from stealing the product.
MWV has been a player in the security business for several years through their Natralock® packaging which is a secure and more sustainable alternative to traditional plastic clamshells. Before they started to work with a customized Vor-Ink on the Siren™ technology, they tried several other materials based on silver or carbon, which proved either high-cost and causing technical issues, or cost effective, but not good enough in terms of conductivity.
With Vor-ink the fully integrated conductive circuit consists of graphene, which shows excellent conductivity at competitive price and can also be flexed and wrinkled without damage to the circuit. MWV uses flexographic roll-to-roll printing to process Vorbeck's graphene-based Flexo-Vor-Ink at 60m/min.
To complete the circuit the retailers simply attach a thin, reusable electronic module that gives the alarm sound via an integrated speaker if removed from the package or other damage to the circuit. In terms of bringing the product into the retail stores MWV works together with Alpha Security Products at Checkpoint Systems, a global leader in apparel labeling solutions and merchandise visibility.
Representatives from both companies, Vorbeck Materials and MWV, will present and exhibit at the upcoming Printed Electronics & Photovoltaics USA conference & exhibition, which will take place in Santa Clara on November 30 and December 1, will cover all this and more in great detail. For more see Printed Electronics USA 2011.
MWV is a global leader in packaging and packaging solutions with $6 billion in revenue. It has 17,500 employees worldwide and a presence in 30 countries. Seventy five percent of its revenue comes from its packaging business with over 40% of sales coming from outside of North America.
Vorbeck Materials develops products based on Vor-xTM graphene to meet real-world industrial challenges. Vor-ink formulations are available for screen, flexographic, and gravure printing techniques and can be used with standard commercial graphic printing presses. Vorbeck is planning to scale up their productions capacity of currently 100 tons/year in the near future.
Vor-x™, Vorbeck's proprietary graphene material, was developed in the Chemical Engineering Laboratories of Princeton University by Dr. Ilhan A. Aksay, Dr. Robert K. Prud'homme, and their coworkers. The Princeton team's pioneering work enables large-scale production of graphene. Vorbeck owns an exclusive license on the patented Princeton University graphene technology.
Learn more about the CNT & Graphene market in the latest IDTechEx report on the topic Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene for Electronics Applications 2011-2021. And e-packaging involving more of the human senses, which will be more important to all in the value chain, is the topic of the new report Brand Enhancement by Electronics in Packaging 2012-2022.