CPI project to accelerate commercialisation of lightweight nanomaterials and composite products

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CPI, an independent technology innovation centre, has announced that it will be contributing its facilities and capabilities to a Horizon 2020 project focused on creating an open-innovation test bed for the development and production of lightweight embedded electronics.

The ‘LEE-BED’ project will run for four years with a consortium funding value of over €10 million. The aim is to de-risk and accelerate the development and manufacture of nanomaterials and lightweight embedded electronics, with the aim of giving European industry a competitive advantage as well as creating more jobs in the sector.

Digitisation of the development and manufacturing of functional nanomaterials and printed components is seen as essential to ensure that Europe can compete with markets in the US and Asia. By addressing challenges such as high costs and limited volume production, the project is intended to provide the infrastructure necessary for the rapid development and pilot production of nanomaterials, inks, adhesives, and composites as well as digitally-enabled pilot production lines.

CPI is one of 17 partners contributing to this EU-funded Horizon 2020 project, with each partner bringing 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 the formulation, high throughput and electronics integration pilot lines. The new facilities will allow the formulation of nano-enabled inks, composites, adhesives and 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 end-users of the test bed. This includes embedded electronics in areas such as automotive interior parts, the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in packaging, and creating functional and fashionable surfaces for applications such as wearables and interior design.

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, said: “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.”