DP Patterning signs multi-million contract with Mühlbauer

8 July, 2014 - 11:08

Acreos subsidiary, DP Patterning AB, has signed a multi-million contract with the major German company Mühlbauer. An important breakthrough for the commerzialisation of Printed Electronics

The Norrköping-based company DP Patterning, DPP, has just signed a five-year cooperation agreement with the German company Mühlbauer. This agreement gives Mühlbauer exclusive rights to exploit passive* RFID antennas on the market; a unique manufacturing technology developed by DPP.  DPP sells machines that manufacture flexible rather than hard printed circuit boards - an environmentally friendly and cost effective method that is expected to replace the traditional etching method. This agreement is expected to generate MSEK 100 to 150 and is seen as a major breakthrough for research in the field of Printed Electronics conducted at Linköping University and by research institute Acreo Swedish ICT.

- Mühlbauer is our first real customer and highly regarded in the business", says Björn Wasell, CEO of DPP. "Through Mühlbauer we expect to learn a lot about how we can develop the manufacturing of our machines. Commercially, this agreement is extremely positive, but most importantly is the recognition it brings to our technology”, Björn continues.

DPP machines have a replaceable cliché which carries the chosen pattern. Manufacturing can be Roll to Roll using a flexible material such as a laminate of thin aluminium foil on a thin plastic film. This technology allows the pattern to be milled onto the aluminium foil leaving the plastic film untouched and can, for example, be used in the manufacture of bare circuit boards for PCBs, or on heat foils for car seats or antennas for mobile phones, computers or tablet computers. The method is dry, so even moisture-sensitive materials such as paper can be used for the patterning process.

Mühlbauer sells machines for the manufacture of RFID tags, an area in which they are world leaders. The company will buy the core unit of the DPP machine, the milling device, and integrate it into their own machine thus enabling them to cope with the entire production from raw material to finished RFID tags, including the antenna. This was not previously possible as traditionally antennas were etched with the aid of acid, an environmentally hazardous method that has to be purchased from an external supplier.

During the development work carried out by DPP, the unique pilot production environment PEA Manufacturing in Norrköping has been crucial. PEA Manufacturing has the first and only DPP-machine available today, funded by the Swedish Research Council. The DPP-machine in PEA-Manufacturing is used to produce prototypes and test the technology for different purposes. “Equally important,” says Björn Wasell, “this test environment has allowed us to invite customers to demonstrations that show that the technology actually works”. An additional key factor in the development work has been the financial support by VINNOVA, Sweden’s Innovation Agency.

- The agreement we have now entered into is important for the continued development of DPP", says Björn Wasell. - We have had interest in the technology for applications other than RFID, particularly from East Asian countries. In addition, we are anticipating a large order from Denmark. Our goal is to completely replace the environmentally harmful etching method used today in the manufacture of printed circuit boards with our method, Björn concludes.

* Passive RFID tags are the most common form used today and provide only an ID number and no additional data.

For more information

Björn Wasell, CEO DP Patterning: +46 70 551 50 40, bjorn [at] dppatterning.com

About DP Patterning AB

Established in 2009, the company’s operations are based on the patented Dry Phase Patterning method which has been developed in the PAELLA project at Acreo Swedish ICT and the Laboratory for Organic Electronics at Linköping University. The early years were mainly devoted to the development of the method and experimental manufacturing of various applications. In 2013 a new partner joined the company and a CEO was appointed. Today the company's mission is to sell machines for the manufacture of patterned laminates. DP Patterning is part of the Business Incubator LEAD in Norrköping.