F2E – Free Form Electronics

F2E – Free Form Electronics
© Fraunhofer IZM

A pioneering touch slider enabled by multiple layers of printed electronics, combined with innovative heating, thermoforming and injection molding technologies was developed in the publicly-funded ‘Innovations with Organic 3D Electronics (ORIGAMI)’ project, which brings together various German and Japanese technology companies and institutes. The demonstrator is equipped with 14 LEDs, has a drawing depth of 10mm and a touch functionality. This engineering feat enables the fast sheet to sheet production of injection molded 3D electronic devices, reducing the necessary productions steps and overall weight of the finished devices. This accomplishment in printed electronics is expected to find its way to automotive interiors, white goods, large electronic appliances, and medical equipment, among others.

In this project, at Fraunhofer IZM, we developed fully in-line compatible SMT processes based on thermoplastic substrates, printing and adhesive bonding. The focus was on the development of robust assembly and interconnection technology for electronic components that can withstand the high thermal and mechanical stresses that occur in thermoforming and injection molding technology. Accelerated ageing tests of overmolded test coupons, including a variety of different circuit materials and components (stretchable Ag-paste, conductive polymers, 0201-, 0402-, 0603-, 1206-, VSOP8-components) have validated reliable functionality within the chosen test environments (thermal cycling, thermal storage, temperature humidity).

The project "Innovations with organic 3D electronics", sub-project 1: "Investigation and development of formable printed components" (VKN 03INT509B) was funded within the framework of the internationalization of leading-edge clusters, future projects and comparable networks of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, carried out in cooperation with the partner cluster Yonezawa (Japan) and coordinated by Organic Electronics Saxony e.V. (OES).

Working Group

System on Flex

The research group System on Flex at Fraunhofer IZM focuses on advancing the fields of flexible hybrid electronics, stretchable electronics and electronic textiles (smart textiles). The goal is developing innovative solutions for various applications. The group focuses on developing scalable manufacturing processes for flexible, stretchable and textile electronic systems.