PAPERONICS: Low-cost multisensory paper & packaging applications
Prof. dr. ir. Wim Deferme
Institute for Materials Research (IMO-IMOMEC) Hasselt University
Printed electronics started to develop a megatrend for packaging, food and pharmaceutical industries because it is an enabling technology and accelerator for other megatrends such as the internet of things, consumer interaction via mobile phones, traceability and safety during online retail by surveillance of storage and transport conditions, etc. Many technologies are however stand-alone solutions, which are often costly. Therefore, it is important to look at the challenge from different perspectives, starting from the base material (paper, labels, cardboard), studying the interaction of the functional inks and the printing technology with that base substrate, develop printed sensors and investigate the integration of RFID tags, off-the-shelf components and scavenger and encapsulation technology. Also, software applications (apps, social media), cloud solutions & design, and specific end-user applications for paper and packaging, are needed to foster innovation by mutual cooperation.
In this masterclass we discuss the platform for smart systems based on existing technologies such as
sensors for touch (printed), temperature, humidity; light-emitting devices; RFIDS tags; data processing with internal data transfer and external communication; printed batteries or organic solar cells as energy sources; actuators; and encapsulation materials/processing. The integration of selected components on paper based substrates will lead to smart applications on labels and packaging. However, before looking at the integration of the above-mentioned technologies, the interaction between functional material, deposition method and substrate needs to be understood. After selecting the right fibre-based substrate, inks and printing technologies, 3 application scenarios that demonstrate specific possibilities such as a customer relationship product; an anti-counterfeiting tag; and a temperature logger are discussed. Encapsulation materials to protect water vapour and oxygen sensitive electronic components (solar cells, printed wires, antennas, OLEDs) to allow processing and encapsulation in air, instead of in nitrogen/argon glove boxes, at much lower processing cost, are discussed. Fully integrable energy sources are studied to activate sensors, logic components and displays. In addition, we will have a look at sustainability from the start of the material selection till the investigation of the recyclability or the reuse of the final demonstrators.