WE.1.E || Green-Lean-Digital

Prenzel, Tobias Manuel; Gehring, Florian; Davis, Zachary J.

Printed and embedded electronics are considered a game changer in the electronics industry as they allow smaller, more flexible and lightweight devices. So far ground-breaking developments have been achieved at lab-scale and for single demonstrators by various research groups worldwide. What often still hampers a wide rollout, particularly in the European Union (EU), is the lack of access for industry and businesses to the new developments. Additionally, technical progress is often evaluated only from a performance perspective, i.e. if the functionality can meet user and developer requirements. Since printed and embedded electronics are often predicted as a green low-cost alternative for conventional electronics, a more holistic evaluation is required to ensure sustainable innovation. In the EU-funded project LEE-BED, European leaders in research and innovation created an open innovation test bed for printed electronics, offering a goal-oriented and time-efficient three step process accessible via an online single entry point. The approach provides the opportunity to initially evaluate ideas, subsequently develop prototypes, and finally enable knowledge transfer to involved stakeholders. The service offer hereby is directed at interested parties from SMEs to global OEMs with or without previous involvement with printed and embedded electronics. Within the developed approach the first step (LEE-BED Phase 1) includes a multi-dimensional assessment of technical feasibility, economic viability, environmental sustainability, safety and intellectual property before even starting the production of any prototype. This concept has already successfully been applied to internal industry partners., whose background ranges from construction sector, automotive suppliers, and label manufacturers to luxury brands, each offering novel functionalities and appealing aesthetics. This contribution shares key learnings of the process and presents opportunities to get involved.