Cartamundi, Van Genechten Packaging, PragmatIC, SMARTRAC, TNO and imec have joined forces to realise the creation of smart and interactive printed objects.
Consortium launches PING project to bring flexible electronics to market
Inspired and supported by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission, six world leading companies from four different EU countries have launched PING (Printed Intelligent NFC Game cards and packaging), a consortium to bring flexible electronics from the lab to mainstream markets.
The overall goal of the PING consortium is the creation of a platform that enables and facilitates the production of smart printed objects based on new technologies. Flexible thin-film electronics and printed materials, like cards, stickers and packaging, make a perfect combination to realise the Internet of Things.
The collaboration intends to establish, within three years, a standardised low cost and high volume manufacturing flow for embedding wireless identification and power transfer technology into printed objects (i.e. packaging, cards, stickers) and printable substrates (i.e. paper, cardboard, plastic). The process, based on innovative thin-film electronics, will enable the identification and interaction of printed objects through standard NFC and RFID reading devices (e.g. smartphones). Moreover, the project will also explore the integration of additional features such as sensors, displays and sound, ultimately paving the way to the realisation of the ‘Internet of Things’ and the ‘Internet of Games’.
Imec and TNO will focus on the development of a flexible thin-film technology and chip design. PragmatIC will work with imec and TNO to align developed designs with its own mass manufacturing processes, transferring future generation NFC chips into commercial production. SMARTRAC will contribute its expertise in antenna design and printing technologies with a special focus on the connection interface between the printed antenna and TFT electronics. Cartamundi and Van Genechten Packaging will perform the last step of the supply chain: embedding the electronics in printed products.
Cartamundi, TNO and imec already started working together to establish the knowledge platform for integrated circuit (IC) design in thin-film technologies, targeting NFC chip as a minimum viable product demonstrator. With this background and the help of the new consortium partners, all consortium members will be able to bring these first realisations to the next level and to establish a complete and reliable supply chain for volume manufacturing.
For all information about the project and its partners, visit www.pingproject.eu
Cartamundi is able to boost nearly 250 years of experience in the production and sales of playing cards and cards for games. The headquarters of Cartamundi are located in Turnhout, Belgium. The group generated sales in 2014 of 200 million Euro with a workforce of 1.700 and with factories in Belgium, Germany, France, UK, Poland, USA, Brazil, Mexico, India and Japan, and 14 sales offices worldwide. In 2008, the company was awarded as Entrepreneur of the Year. Cartamundi has its own card game collection with licensed cards (such as Disney®, James Bond®, Hasbro®, Fifa®, etc.), but is also known for its promotional card collections, casino cards, collector cards (e.g. Yu-Gi-Oh!®) and cards for games (such as Uno®, Monopoly®) or the new concept iCards. These cards provide the connection between physical cards and the virtual world of the internet, smartphone, gaming consoles, etc. The purpose of Cartamundi is “sharing the magic of playing together”.
SMARTRAC is the leading RFID technology company in the production of both ready-made and customized products and services. SMARTRAC makes products smart, and enables businesses to identify, authenticate, track and complement product offerings. The company’s portfolio is used in a wide array of applications: access control, animal identification, automated fare collection, automotive, border control, contactless payment, electronic product identification, gaming, industrial applications, libraries and media management, laundry, logistics, retail, public transport, and many more. Leveraging its global R&D, production and sales network, SMARTRAC’s solutions combine physical products with digitally based services to empower the ecosystem of connected things. PING consortium partner is SMARTRAC Technology in Dresden, Germany. For more information, visit: www.smartrac-group.com
PragmatIC enables printed electronic logic circuits that introduce intelligence and interactivity into a wide range of products and applications, in form factors that are not possible using silicon chips. Our intellectual property covers unique device architectures, process techniques, and circuit designs that enable flexible imprinted logic circuits with compact footprint, high performance and low cost.
PragmatIC operates a pilot line at the UK’s National Centre for Printable Electronics, part of the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI). The pilot line supports customer prototyping activities as well as commercial production for deployment of new product concepts. We also license our technology for higher volume production. www.pragmaticprinting.com
Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China, India and Japan. Its staff of over 2,080 people includes more than 670 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2013, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 332 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be. Stay up to date about what’s happening at imec with the monthly imec magazine, available for tablets and smartphones (as an app for iOS and Android), or via the website www.imec.be/imecmagazine
Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited).
TNO has over 3000 professionals who put their knowledge and experience to work in creating smart solutions to complex issues. These innovations help to sustainably strengthen industrial competitiveness and social wellbeing. We are partnered by some 3000 companies and organizations, including SMEs, in the Netherlands and around the world. For example on the topic of Industrial Innovation we reinforce the innovative strength of industry through innovation in products and processes, with a strong focus on sustainability.
For more information about TNO and the five societal themes that are the focus of our work, go to www.tno.nl
About Van Genechten Packaging (VGP)
VGP is an independent industrial group with headquarters in Turnhout, Belgium. It consists of 10 folding carton factories in 7 countries, leading the European consumer goods industry with printed folding cartons, microflute and other packaging solutions. With an annual turnover of €300 million, the group converts more than 200,000 tons of cardboard each year and employs 1,500 people. Trusted by blue-chip companies and multi-awarded by industry specialists, VGP is widely known for both pushing and setting standards in tailor-made folding carton packaging solutions that drive business, while being sustainable and innovative on all levels.
Through this joint project we give a new dimension to packaging and this for the benefit of consumers and supply chain. The future purpose of packaging is - next to its transport, communication and branding means - to organise interactivity via digital and social media platforms. In addition, more and more domestic appliances will be able to communicate with packaging, e.g. when preparing a meal in a microwave oven. This project perfectly fits within our strategy of making packaging ready for future consumer needs.
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PragmatIC is a world leader in ultra-low-cost flexible electronics. Our unique technology platform enables innovators to create novel solutions to everyday problems that are beyond the scope of conventional electronics. Our ConnectIC® family of flexible integrated circuits (FlexICs) are thinner than a human hair and extend proven applications such as RFID and NFC into mass market use cases, enabling the potential for trillions of smart objects that can engage with consumers and their environments. Our novel, differentiated products are being adopted by a growing base of global companies across diverse markets, including consumer goods, games, retail, pharmaceutical and security. Alternatively, designers can create their own application-specific flexible devices using our FlexIC Foundry™ offering at a fraction of the cost and time required for traditional silicon circuits, opening up multiple new markets beyond RFID. These FlexICs are manufactured on our revolutionary FlexLogIC® production system, a highly scalable manufacturing model for cost-effective high-volume production, achieved with orders of magnitude less capital investment and operating cost compared to a traditional silicon IC fab. PragmatIC is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with our first billion-unit production facility in Sedgefield. Shareholders include Cambridge Innovation Capital, Arm and Avery Dennison.