Cutting edge flexible electronics developed with tech funding support
NETPark based PragmatIC has propelled itself into world leadership with its ultra low cost and thin flexible integrated circuits, supported by a grant from Digital Drive County Durham, which provides events, one to one business support and grants.
Powered by UMi, a grant from the Digital Drive County Durham programme has enabled PragmatIC to further develop its unique technology platform for flexible integrated circuits. These FlexICs are thinner than a human hair and ideal for introducing intelligence and interactivity into a wide range of everyday products, such as consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.
The grant helped to accelerate the company’s advances in the data capture and analytics used in its manufacturing plant. More than half of the company’s 80 members of staff are based at the manufacturing plant, based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, County Durham.
Gillian Ewers, vice president of marketing at PragmatIC, said: “The Digital Drive County Durham programme was a very simple programme to join, the application process was very smooth, and it enabled us to quickly advance our project. The grant meant we could bring in additional resources, and as a result we reduced the time to complete this phase of development by six months.
“Having an inlay with a PragmatIC FlexIC embedded into the packaging of a product means that it can be assigned a unique identity,” said Gillian. “With a simple tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone, consumers can gain access to additional information, such as legible advice for medicines or allergy information for food.
“The rapid design and implementation of robust data capture and analytic processes is critical to enable us to reach our challenging goals of having a trillion FlexICs manufactured close to where they will be required around the world to meet local demand and shorten supply chains.
“In the future, we will add sensors, which will enable more applications, for example making sure a product is being stored at the right temperature, or even checking if it is still okay to use,” Gillian said. “It would be a real step forward if we could use this technology to do things like reducing food waste.”
Andrea McGuigan from Business Durham, said:
“Business Durham is delighted that PragmatIC has taken advantage of the Digital Drive grant to develop this leading edge technology. The programme was developed to support SMEs in County Durham to make better use of technology in their business and PragmatIC is a prime example of what the project can help businesses to achieve.
“I wish PragmatIC every success with its new and innovative technology and hope that their story convinces other businesses to take advantage of the support Digital Drive County Durham offers.”
News source: Umi
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Access to quality facilities was one of the main drivers for deciding to locate the business at the NETPark. We have been able to use this as a launch pad to link into support from CPI and world-class expertise from Durham University.
We initially came because of the printable electronics centre but access to a highly skilled semi conductor workforce in the North East has been a key factor in us staying and growing here, as well as the value for money office space and the access to funding.
CPI has developed a specialist offering to support SMEs looking to develop their printable electronics applications and our partnership with Business Durham has been instrumental in attracting several SMEs to locate here in the region.
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The proximity to the universities and the infrastructure are very important factors. Ultimately having a presence in Europe is very valuable to us and we intend to stay at NETPark for many years to come.
It fits perfectly for us that we’re surrounded by like-minded companies at NETPark. There are a number of highly skilled people in the area who can help us grow our business. The facilities and services offered by NETPark are first class, they make office life simple and engaging.