The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is leading a consortium of major companies to create a UK supply chain to enable the widespread adoption of low cost, near field communication (NFC) devices using printable electronics. The project is a £10 million collaborative project involving businesses and the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).
The project will build manufacturing capacity, develop manufacturing skills and demonstrate application deployment. The project brings together the UK’s world-class strength in print, electronics and design in a collaborative consortium to open-up a globally competitive UK supply-chain in printed NFC components.
Many smartphones are enabled with NFC, allowing the user to interact with a diverse range of supported devices. This capability is already used widely in applications such as contactless payment. This project will extend NFC’s use so that smartphones can interact with printed items such as labels, posters, documents and product packaging. It will also allow retailers and manufacturers to manage their supply chains more efficiently.
CPI is the process element of the UK government’s national manufacturing strategy, dubbed the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The initiative is tasked with stimulating growth within manufacturing sectors throughout the UK. CPI is focused on the development, scale-up and commercialisation of a number of key enabling technologies including printable electronics. CPI’s National Printable Electronics Centre, based at NETPark in Co. Durham is equipped with an extensive range of assets specifically chosen and developed to allow clients to understand how their products and processes perform under industrial scale manufacturing conditions.
Nigel Perry, CEO of CPI said, “CPI is delighted to lead the project, which is in line with our role in supporting the development and commercialisation of advanced manufacturing processes. The project will enable the UK to be competitive in this high growth global industry”.
The programme will develop and integrate materials, printing, electronics, design, and manufacturing technology to create a UK supply chain that can make printed NFC devices at an industrial scale for market testing.
Scott White, CEO of consortium partner PragmatIC Printing Ltd said, “This programme will support the development of a complete manufacturing supply chain able to deliver our printed NFC solutions at a scale and cost suitable for widespread adoption.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said, “The manufacturing sector is crucial to building a stronger economy – the proof is that it contributes almost £150bn a year to the UK. We recognise however that a manufacturing sector is only as strong as its supply chains, often made of creative and growing small and medium sized businesses.”
The project is part of the UK Government’s £116 million Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) to strengthen UK manufacturing supply chains and to encourage major new suppliers to locate in the UK.