InnovationLab (iL) is a unique research & development platform and includes an education model designed to encourage cross-disciplinary research and innovation at the interface of academia and industry. They are the experts in printed electronics with a focus on flexible printed pressure sensors and provide tailored print solutions for their customers’ R&D challenges.

Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities.

InnovationLab: Our expertise relies on a solid understanding of materials, processes and printing technologies being essential for the development of flexible and hybrid electronic systems. With our academic and industrial partners, such as BASF SE, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and Heidelberg University, we continuously expand our portfolio in printed electronics.

We offer services in R&D facility management, technical supply, maintenance of laboratories and scientific equipment, laboratory security, consulting, intellectual property protection, and commercialization. Partners can work with our printing operations team in our facilities to test, develop and prove processes, devices, applications, and products. Our cluster management team coordinates the agile community, consisting of partners on-site and in the extended network. Beyond that, we train young scientists and our partners’ personnel in printed and organic electronics.

E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

InnovationLab: We accompany customers from the initial product idea to the final production of their flexible, functional print products. In the process we draw on our research hub and knowledge transfer platform located at the interface of academia and industry to tailor print solutions for our customers. We have an experienced team with a profound understanding of materials, processes and printing technologies that are essential to the development of flexible and hybrid electronic systems.

Following the development process, we transfer the products into mass manufacturing on roll to roll printing systems and produce them for our customers.

E.E: What’s the news for 2020 about new products?

InnovationLab: Unfortunately, as a contracted developer for our customers, we are not authorized to talk about upcoming products, and we have to protect their interests. But you can be sure: Big things are coming up.

E.E: What are the ranges of traded products?

InnovationLab: We do not trade products directly. We deliver solutions for our customers to help them build up their products. Always with producibility in mind, we can assure scalability even to billions of pieces at every step of the development process and finally, we produce these products for our customers.

In fact, our customers mainly come from the automotive industry, consumer electronics, medical as well as live science markets, the field of logistics, warehousing, and smart cities. With other words, our technology can be adapted to nearly every market range you can think of.

We are able to do this because we can produce flexible and large area sensors in the highest quantity but at the lowest price. They can be applied to nearly any area where a sensor is needed. This allows an easy integration to more or less any task imaginable for IoT applications.

E.E: At what stage is the market in which you are currently active?

InnovationLab: The market for printed electronics is an emerging market. Printed electronics is still a new technology. However, it is gaining maturity and is used in solid applications which profit from the benefits of PE. These are, among other things, low production costs, flexibility of electronic devices as well as the easy generation of large area sensorics for pressure, temperature or gas sensing, or large area functionalities like heaters, touch inputs etc. as well as an easy integration into textiles.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

InnovationLab: In the field of PE, the technology as well as the market is growing continuously. We see a strong increase of requests of novel applications in the field of sensorics. Sensors are the core elements for most IoT applications. If there is the aim for large amounts of IoT devices, the sensor cost per device should be at a minimum. Further, there is a rising demand for personalized applications, like smart health sensors or medical sensors, and PE is perfectly suited for such applications. The very low production costs enable the easy generation of smart patches or sensors for single usage. Besides, there is also an enormous trend towards measurement or sensor applications that can be used in more or less any conceivable market.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

InnovationLab: Currently, the most prominent product developed by iL that is on the market is the Sensor OccluSense (R) by Bausch. It is a sensor for occlusion control for dental applications. The sensor was developed in cooperation with Bausch and is now a product of Bausch which is produced by iL and its stakeholders. Further products are currently in the process of upscaling for market introduction. However, we respect the needs of our customers and will not talk about the products before they will be officially launched.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2020?

InnovationLab: We are looking into the future with bright eyes. There is a tremendous market potential out there as well as a vast amount of products that we are working on right now.