TERASEL, a new European effort to develop industrial production chain for manufacturing randomly shaped electronic circuits

Seventh Framework Programme project merges key electronics and polymer industry competences

Leuven, (PresseBox) - Imec and its project partners today announced the launch of TERASEL (Thermo-plastically deformable circuits for embedded randomly shaped electronics), a project under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for Information and Communication Technologies (FP7). The overall goal of the project is the development, industrial implementation and application of large-area, cost-effective, randomly shaped electronics and sensor circuit technologies.

Conventionally, electronics are made on flat substrates. The TERASEL project will develop a basic technology platform for rigid large-area randomly shaped electronic circuits. To achieve this, a process to embed elastic flat circuits in thermo-plastically deformable polymers will be developed. Then, a high pressure, low temperature thermoforming technology to deform the circuit into its random final functional shape will be developed.

TERASEL will also set up a complete multi-competence industrial production chain, capable to achieve mature, near-to-production industrial processes for manufacturing randomly shaped circuits. The developed technologies will be applied in a number of functional prototype demonstrators, such as television sets with ambient illumination, free-form man-machine interfaces, intelligent car interior components, 2.5D lighting devices, and household appliances.

"TERASEL will draw upon the synergy and collaboration between partners in the electronics circuit fabrication and assembly industry and polymer processing industry", said Jan Vanfleteren, Project Manager at imec. "By merging the two industries' competences and expertise, the project will produce an exciting new range of products for a wide set of application domains."

Over the next three years, TERASEL will be coordinated by imec, through imec's associated laboratory located at the Ghent University (Center for Microsystems Technology (CMST)). Industrial, academic and research partners will bring their expertise to the project. Project partners are Centro Ricerche Fiat (Italy), Fraunhofer IZM, Freudenberg Forschungsdienste, Niebling (Germany), Nief Plastic, Association Pôle Européen de Plasturgie (France), TNO/Holst Centre, Philips Lighting (Netherlands), plastic electronic (Austria), ACB, Page Electronica, Quad Industries, TP Vision and Fundico (Belgium).

About ACB

ACB is a specialist in the production of prototype and small series PCBs and offers a wide range of technologies including multi-layers in rigid, flex rigid and flexible constructions. ACB is a leader in technology and offers a wide range of services to its customers. With the combination of prototype & Quick Turnaround services, printed circuit board design, design for manufacturing (DFM) support, flexible logistics, in-house reliability testing and research ACB can cater to all PCB needs. In the production facilities in Dendermonde (BE) and Malville (FR), ACB employs 200 people and the two plants achieve an annual turnover of approximately 24 Mio Euro, producing PCBs for a large and varied customer base, in the avionics, space & defence, telecommunications and medical industries, mainly in Western Europe.

About Centro Ricerche Fiat (CRF)

Centro Ricerche Fiat, founded in 1978, has the mission to develop and transfer innovative products, processes and methodologies in order to improve the competitiveness of the products of the Fiat Group. Also through the cooperation with a pan-European and increasingly global network of more than 1700 partners from Industry and academia, CRF conducts collaborative research initiatives at the national and international levels in partnership with all the key public and private stakeholders concerned with Sustainable Mobility, targeting specifically the industrial exploitation of research.

With a workforce of approximately 1000 full-time professionals, CRF develops research and innovation along the three principal axes of sustainability: Environmental Sustainability, which encompasses all aspects relating to energy efficiency as well as to the reduction of the impact on the environment over the entire lifecycle of the vehicle; Social Sustainability, focusing on the safety of transportation systems through the development of active, passive, preventive and cooperative solutions while addressing the mobility of all users irrespective of their specific needs; Economically sustainable competitiveness, oriented towards viable innovation, i.e., improving the performance and functionality of new vehicles in a cost-effective manner while reducing the time-to-market of research results.

The CRF research activities imply strategic competences not only in the field of automotive engineering, but also in the fields of manufacturing, advanced materials, ICT and electronics, as well as a wide range of state-of-the-art laboratories and extensive test facilities, including EMC chambers and a dynamic driving simulator with immersive virtual reality.

About Fraunhofer IZM

Fraunhofer IZM focuses its activities on the area of microelectronic packaging and interconnection. The research topics at IZM cover the full range of issues in state of the art microelectronics: system design and characterization from consumer, medical, power to high frequency electronics. Back end wafer processing for ultimate miniaturization of systems using through silicon via and waver level redistribution technologies for chip size packaging. The developments are substantiated by in detail materials analysis to the set-up of mechanical and electrical simulations. Experimental functionality and reliability investigations of fabricated systems are mirrored by models, the combination of which leads to in depth understanding of processes and systems. The Fraunhofer IZM department involved in nanosmart is focusing on technology development for substrate and interconnection technologies.

About Freudenberg Forschungsdienste (FFD)

Freudenberg Forschungsdienste(FFD) and its 3rd party Freudenberg NOK Mechatronics (FNM) are part of the Freudenberg group. The Forschungsdienste serves as central R&D division with focus on pre-development research for the business groups. The business activities of FNM range from the development and production of mechatronic solutions based on large flexible printed circuits, ready-for-use SMD assembly, flat wiring harnesses which can integrate switches, sensors, LEDs to other functional flat wiring components e.g. automotive LED lighting, mirror heating, antennas, seat sensors and windshield connectors.

About Niebling

Niebling - the originator of High Pressure Forming Technology - delivers both sophisticated forming machinery as well as forming and trimming tools in highest precision out of the in-house workshops to both automotive tier 1 suppliers and countless consumer electronics manufacturers. Connected with a strong partner network, Niebling GmbH provides any kind of competencies around IML/FIM decoration process and forming technology for a wide range of applications in various industries worldwide for more than 20 years. All process steps can be studied in an own prototype lab under the technical advice of experience process engineers. Niebling is located in Southern Germany, about 40 min south of Munich. Visit www.niebling-form.com for more information.

About Nief Plastic

Nief Plastic is a French based group, with subsidiaries in Europe and Maghreb. For more than 80 years, they are processing a wide range of plastics and composites, both thermoplastics and thermosets, from commodities to high performances materials. The managed processes are injection, compression, thermoforming and machining. Nief Plastic serves different markets, such as automotive, electrical engineering, electronic, aerospace and medical. Electrical applications have always played an important role in all Nief Plastic's developments, for both insulators and conductive materials. Future applications include embossing and/or overmolding electrical paths, processing highly filled conductive materials for fuel cells, ...

About Page Electronica

Page is a Flemish SME, specialised in electronics assembly, test and repair. They go for long partnerships with employees, customers and suppliers. In the project they will develop the assembly technology of electronics components on the stretchable circuits. The assembly technology consists of solder application, component placement and reflow soldering. The assembly will be done on test vehicles for technology development at the beginning of the project, as well as on functional demonstrator substrates towards the end of the project, together with the other partners in the production chain. The assembly process will be optimised for yield, performance, reliability and cost.

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people's lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2012 sales of EUR 24.8 billion and employs approximately 115,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at www.philips.com/newscenter.

About Association Pôle Européen de Plasturgie (PEP)

PEP is a private technical centre dedicated to injection moulding of thermoplastics and composite processing. Since more than 20 years, PEP offers means, expertise and services on technological, incremental and disruptive innovations, particularly regarding injection moulding field. Located in the heart of the largest concentration of companies working in or around polymer processing in France, the PEP staff is composed of 75 plastic specialists, including 20 researchers, with a 8 million € turnover. Its activities can be divided in three important specialities: multi-partnership R&D programs, engineering activities, and expertises / services activities dedicated to the whole plastic industry. More information can be found on http://www.poleplasturgie.net/home.html

About Quad Industries

Quad-Industries is a leading manufacturer of User Interfaces and Control Panels. We manufacture custom made membrane & capacitive switches, touchscreen solutions and graphic overlays for a broad range of markets. We print electronics and graphics on numerous substrates such as plastics and glass. Quad Industries supplies Electronic Manufacturing Services such as pcb assembly, production of cable harnesses and final product assembly. We support projects from design & engineering phase up to prototype and serial production.

Quad Industries is organized in 2 dynamic production plants. Headquarters are located in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, where 23 people daily aim at developing and manufacturing the perfect interface solution for our customers. In our Slovakian factory, 35 employees devote themselves every day to delivering high-quality control panels.

What makes Quad Industries unique is the knowledge we have gathered in various domains. We have extensive know-how in graphical, electronic and mechanical design and we are eager to combine these technologies into powerful assemblies.

About TNO / Holst Centre

With more than 4000 professionals, TNO is the largest Dutch organization for applied research. The activities of TNO within IMOLA are being conducted by its research division at Holst Centre. Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D centre, set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands). Holst Centre develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Sensor Technologies and for Flexible Electronics. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs. Holst Centre was setup with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research. Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 170 employees from 28 nationalities and a commitment from over 30 industrial partners. More information:

About TP Vision

TP Vision is a dedicated TV player in the world of visual digital entertainment. TP Vision concentrates on developing, manufacturing and marketing Philips branded TV sets in Europe, Russia, Middle East, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and selected countries in Asia-Pacific. We do this by combining our design expertise and innovative Philips TV heritage with the operational excellence, flexibility and speed of TPV Technology. With these combined strengths, we bring high-quality TV sets to the market: smart and easy to use with sophisticated styling accentuating i.e. new materials and slim design. We believe in creating products that offer a superior TV experience for consumers. With Philips TVs, TP Vision is a global leader in the hospitality market. Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, TP Vision is the exclusive brand licensee of Philips TV for the above listed countries. The TV Company is 70% owned by TPV Technology, headquartered in Taiwan, and 30% by Royal Philips, headquartered in the Netherlands. TP Vision employs close to 3,100 people in several locations around the globe.

About Fundico

Fundico bvba, located in Zwijnaarde, Belgium, is a consultancy company with the objective to assist industrial companies and research organisations with the submission of financing proposals for research and development, mainly in the field of information and communication technologies. These financing proposals are submitted to regional public authorities or to the European Commission. In the latter case these proposals are submitted in response to an official call for proposals issued by the European Commission. In case of project proposals for which financing is granted, Fundico will also, in many cases be involved in the management and coordination of the research and development project.

imec

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 Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China, India and Japan. Its staff of more than 2,000 people includes more than 650 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2012, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 320 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be.

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).

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