VTT is developing a hybrid in-mould integration technology that enables seamless integration of novel optical, electrical, and mechanical features into 3D plastic products.
Freedom of design
With VTT's approach, industrial product designers gain more design freedom while simultaneous benefit can be reaped from reduced complexity, volume, and cost of 3D product systems. The hybrid technology truly combines the best of both worlds – the unique form factor of printed organic electronics components and the high performance of inorganic electronics devices. In addition, utilisation of roll-to-roll manufacturing in the printing, assembly, and over-moulding of flexible hybrid electronics systems enables cost-competitive production of 3D plastic products. The concept is based on seamless combination of roll-to-roll printing, component assembly, lamination, foil forming, and in-mould-labelling processes.
Rapid prototyping and pilot manufacturing
VTT has unique rapid prototyping and pilot manufacturing capabilities for creating 3D plastic structures based on over-moulding of flexible hybrid electronics systems. VTT has designed and manufactured several proof-of-technology demonstrators, consisting of:
- Flexible wide-area printed capacitive sensor
- Flexible signage elements with embedded inorganic and organic LEDs
- Flexible autonomous power source and storage systems
- Optical 3D touchscreens
Optimisation of user experience and manufacturing costs
Potential areas of application for VTT's hybrid in-mould integration technology in the short and medium term are wearable devices, automotive interiors and medical and health-care products.
In all of these short- and medium-term target application areas, work to adopt new hybrid solutions is driven by the need to enhance user experience and product performance while, simultaneously, reducing the systems' material and manufacturing costs.