National Research Council Canada-NRC

National Research Council Canada-NRC

September 30, 2013 10:20 ET

Government of Canada Partners With Industry for Next Generation Printing Innovations With Electronic Intelligence

Working on innovations that will revolutionize our world

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 30, 2013) - The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology), along with the National Research Council of Canada and industry partners, announced a new program and an industrial consortium that will develop interactive products for consumers, by adding electronic intelligence capabilities to printed materials. This will be made possible by creating new functional inks, printing and imprinting processes, and electronic circuits. Everyday uses of this technology by Canadians include, drug packaging that tracks dosage history and food labeling that tells you when your food has spoiled.

"This new program and consortium will position Canada as a global leader in printable electronics," said the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology). "Our government is working closely with partners across a variety of sectors, including academia and industry, to support the development of amazingly thin, flexible, and inexpensive electronic solutions, benefitting Canadians in countless ways by improving our quality of life and leading to the growth of our economy."

The Printable Electronics program, a $40-million NRC investment over five years, will develop cutting-edge technologies and light-weight electronic devices for a smarter world. For example, Canadians will benefit from innovations such as smart labels reducing shipping costs, smart drug packaging improving health care delivery, new anti-counterfeiting measures increasing bank note security, and printed antennas for radio frequency identification.

"Printable electronics technology allows everyday objects to interact with customers in ways that were unimaginable five years ago," said Dan Wayner, Vice-President of the Emerging Technologies division at the National Research Council of Canada. "It will lead to a revolution in the manufacturing of high-volume, interactive consumer products and security documents. At every level, printable electronics will revolutionize the world we live in."

The consortium, a $16-million contribution over five years, is pooling resources from Canadian companies and research centers to provide strategic research and development, technical services, and test design and manufacturing techniques. It will also help industrial clients solve the technical gaps and commercial challenges to developing new products, and will provide a robust technology platform from which other innovations can be pursued.


Printable Electronics Program and Consortium

Printable electronics is an emerging field at the intersection of two well-established Canadian industries: information and communications technology, and printing. It combines new materials with existing processes to print functioning devices on flexible surfaces such as plastic or paper, offering Canadians an enhanced and more up-to-date printing experience. Printable electronics presents a transformative opportunity to add intelligence to printed products, and to enable lower cost digital manufacturing of ubiquitous electronic devices that will transform industries and markets.

Examples of existing printable electronics:

  • Buttons on microwaves
  • Rear car window defroster

Examples of innovative products to be developed:

  • Smart labels that lower shipping costs through wireless supply chain management;
  • Anti-counterfeiting measures that will increase bank note security;
  • Self-powered solar blinds;
  • Printed Near Field Communications or Radio Frequency Identification antennas;
  • Smart drug packaging that will prompt you to take your daily pill.

The Printable Electronics program will develop new functional inks and printing/imprinting processes, and will produce electronic circuits to be integrated into everyday objects. The program's long term goal is to position the packaging, commercial and security printing industries to be early adopters of emerging printable solutions making them global leaders. This will be done through a coordinated approach by engaging or creating Canadian industry supply chains. The program will drive the adoption of previously unavailable information and communication technologies, offering many different benefits.

The Printable Electronics consortium is a joint effort integrating the best in public and private research and development expertise in the printable electronic industry. Canadian industrial players have indicated a strong drive to participate in the program to innovate in applications such as:

  • Widespread electronic interactive devices-everyday objects embedded with low cost electronics for multi-use functions
  • Drug packaging that tracks dosage history
  • Interactive packaging for consumer goods that enhances the brand experience

Players include:

  • Krupack Packaging, a division of Kruger
  • Xerox Research Centre of Canada, a division of Xerox Canada Inc.
  • GGI International
  • RFID Canada
  • Jones Packaging Inc.
  • Communication Research Centre Canada (part of Industry Canada Spectrum, Information Technology and Telecommunications (SITT))
  • MW Canada Ltd.
  • Canadian Bank Note Company Ltd.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations Team
    National Research Council of Canada
    1-855-282-1637 (24/7)
    Twitter: @nrc_cnrc

    Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology,
    and Federal Economic Development Initiative for
    Northern Ontario)