Leverkusen, Germany -- - Polymer group Bayer MaterialScience AG is to be part of the Holst Centre, an open-innovation initiative by research organisations IMEC (Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands), in flexible electronics.
A 13 July statement from Bayer said that the move will allow Bayer MaterialScience to share its expertise with the existing network of academic and industrial partners.
Together with some leading players in flexible electronics, Holst Centre subscribes to "the vision of a smart foils industry," said Bayer. In this view, a value chain starts with materials and equipment suppliers delivering polymers to manufacturers of smart foils for uses in organic light emitting diode (OLED) lighting, battery or organic photovoltaics (OPV). At the end of the chain are producers of smart devices who develop products by integrating foils with various functionalities.
Jaap Lombaers, managing director of systems-in-foil at the Holst Centre, said in the statement that the group is pleased to add Bayer MaterialScience to its network. "Over the past few months, I have met with many colleagues of Bayer. I am convinced that their dynamic spirit and world-class technical expertise is a valuable asset to our programme," he said.
"We are committed to deliver improved films product solutions to our customers addressing new applications within the flexible electronics industry," commented Bernd Steinhilber, head of Functional Films at Bayer Material Science. "The partnership in Holst Center is an excellent opportunity for us, bringing together competent industry in the open innovation surrounding. The growing demand for increased functionality in the materials we supply is matched perfectly with the improvements we expect from this collaboration."
To stimulate innovation and decrease time-to-market in this eco-system, Holst Centre aims at gathering academic and industrial partners from across this value chain around shared technical roadmaps. Already Holst Centre teams up with several global leaders and local startups to jointly develop technologies for flexible electronics such as OLED and OPV.
In early 2010, BMS bought Artificial Muscle Inc., a US manufacturer of electro-active polymers for consumer electronics, and an innovator in this technology. EAPs can use polyurethane films, but BMS's functional films business has a range of other polymer films at its disposal. Mass printing of electronic components is one aim of such work, as it will form a huge market in future.