22 July 2019

Open innovation at new nanomaterial and composite test bed

Our Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has state-of-the-art facilities and capabilities driving innovation every day. That’s why they’re contributing to the LEE-BED project, a Horizon 2020 initiative.

Our Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has state-of-the-art facilities and capabilities driving innovation every day. That’s why they’re contributing to the LEE-BED project, a Horizon 2020 initiative focused on creating an open-innovation nanomaterial and composite test bed for the development and production of lightweight embedded electronics (LEE). It’s clear that we at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult are always looking for ways to drive manufacturing technology growth.

Innovative nanomaterial and composite manufacturing equipment

The project’s overall aim is to de-risk and accelerate the development and manufacture of nanomaterials and lightweight embedded electronics, giving European industry a global competitive advantage as well as creating more jobs in the sector. With a consortium funding value of over €10 million, this is a significant step towards the future of manufacturing.

With competition with the US and Asia in the sector, the digitisation of nanomaterial and printed component development and manufacture is essential. By overcoming the challenges of high costs and limited volume production, the LEE-BED project will provide the infrastructure necessary for innovation in the industry. With the rapid development and pilot production of nanomaterials, inks, adhesives, and composites on the table, as well as digitally-enabled pilot production lines, the project promises good economic returns across Europe.

CPI is one of 17 partners contributing to this EU-funded Horizon 2020 project, with each partner bringing unique skills and capabilities in terms of technology innovation. In particular, CPI’s electronics and formulation capabilities will provide the project with a range of expertise in inks, adhesives and composite formulation, as well as in printable device fabrication, flexible electronics and electronic system design.

The project will enable the enhancement of formulation, high throughput and electronics integration pilot lines. The new facilities will allow the formulation of composites, adhesives and nano-enabled inks whilst increase the flexibility of substrate and component integration. CPI’s emphasis is on the pilot project phase, with the upgraded facilities enabling an expanded range of applications for test bed end-users. This includes embedded electronics in areas such as automotive interior parts, the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in packaging, and creating functional surfaces for applications such as wearables and interior design with style in mind.

Once the test bed pilot lines have been developed, CPI will play a leading role in the launch of the open-access LEE-BED test bed in 2021, enabling companies to use the new facilities developed as part of the project. The tailored services provided through LEE-BED will enable SMEs, entrepreneurs, start-ups and large enterprises to go from concept to prototype in six months. They will also be supported throughout the supply chain, with SMEs being provided with funding sources for LEE-BED access.

Neville Slack, LEE-BED Business Development Manager at CPI, said:

“The LEE-BED project and the development of the innovation test bed will contribute to the growth of embedded electronics in Europe by de-risking and accelerating the development of sensors and electronic components. It is exciting to be involved in this project and to see the impact that LEE-BED will have on the future of the electronics industry.”

John Cocker, Director of Electronics at CPI, added:

“The LEE-BED innovation test bed will have a huge impact on businesses across the nanomaterials, formulation and embedded electronics industries in Europe. The benefits of the cost-effective and accelerated development of sensors and electronic components will have a number of applications in the IoT, wearable electronics, automotive, construction and energy industries.”

Digital manufacturing equipment

Find out more about the project and other work by the CPI here.

About EU Horizon 2020

The LEE-BED project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No: 814485

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