NextFlex Events

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NextFlex Virtual Workshop: FHE for Automotive Applications

Preliminary Agenda

This event will focus on the role of flexible hybrid electronics in the auto industry for such topics as: autonomy, in-car informatics, and communication devices. It will also discuss flexible hybrid electronics technology advancements in other application areas such as in aerospace, antennas, medical wearables, and structural health monitoring that have already proven benefits for light-weighting, smaller, thinner form factors, and conformability, and can have applicability in automotive systems.


8:00am – 8:05am PST – Welcome

  • Scott Miller, Director of Technology, NextFlex

8:05am – 9:30am PST – Session I: The Role of FHE in Autonomy

This session will discuss the ways in which Flexible Hybrid Electronics improve the implementation of autonomous vehicles. A variety of topics will be included here such as:

  • Sensor integration
  • Testing
  • Reliability
  • Weight reduction
  • Improved manufacturing
  • Reduced part count
  • Novel packaging
  • Quality standards
  • Durability

8:05am – 8:10am

  • Session introduction by Session Chair

8:10am – 8:30am – The Journey to Full Autonomy

8:30am – 8:50am – True Solid-State LiDAR. Challenges of LiDAR integration in Autonomous Vehicles

8:50am – 9:10am – Fit, Form, and Function: Considerations in the Manufacture of Flexible Hybrid Electronics for Automotive Applications

9:10am – 9:30am

  • Panel Discussion with above speakers with live questions from attendees moderated by Session Chair

9:30am – 10:55am PST – Session II: FHE in In-Car Informatics

This session will explore applications for flexible hybrid electronics available inside vehicles and manufacturing processes that can integrate FHEs. These will include:

  • Human Machine interfaces (touch, gesture, haptics, voice, etc.) including the materials needed
  • Displays (Flexible/Reflective/OLEDs for infotainment, navigation, indicators, etc.)
  • Lighting
  • On-board diagnostics
  • In-car networks (WiFi, cellular, audio, video, SerDes)
  • Conformal electronics
  • 3-D
  • In-Mold Electronics
  • Glass in-mold

9:30am – 9:35am

  • Session introduction by Session Chair

9:35am – 9:55am – Flexible Inorganic Substrates for Electronic Device Integration

9:55am – 10:15am – Phosphorescent OLED Display Technology for Automotive Applications

10:15am – 10:35am – Structural Electronics Based on Printed Electronics for Advanced HMI in Automotive Applications

10:35am – 10:55am – Conformable HDR Displays and Smart Windows to Activate Almost Any Surface in Cars

10:55am – 11:15am

  • Panel Discussion with above speakers with live questions from attendees moderated by Session Chair

11:15am – 11:25am PST – 10 MINUTE BREAK

11:25am  – 12:50pm PST – Session III: FHE in Automotive Communications

This session will address applications in automotive communications focusing on interior and exterior designs. Special attention will be paid to structural integrated electronics and conformal printing of sensors and antennas. Topics will include:

  • Antenna, Sensor, and Radar Integration
  • Navigation systems
  • Cameras
  • RF Performance

11:25am – 11:30am

  • Session introduction by Session Chair

11:30am – 11:50am

11:50am – 12:10pm

  • TBD

12:10pm – 12:30pm

  • TBD

12:30pm – 12:50pm

  • Panel Discussion with above speakers with live questions from attendees moderated by Session Chair

12:50pm – 2:15pm PST – Session IV: FHE Applications with Synergies to Automotive

Flexible Hybrid Electronics have proven to be beneficial in a wide variety of non-Automotive application areas. The technology advancements can draw many parallels that are analogous to automotive applications. This session will focus on those applications such as:

  • UAVs
  • Human monitoring systems
  • Military Ground Vehicles
  • Applications used in harsh environments

12:50pm – 12:55pm

  • Session introduction by Session Chair

12:55pm – 1:15pm – Low Profile, Flexible and Long Pressure Sensor Stripes for Aerodynamic Measurements at Surfaces of Aircrafts and Vehicles

1:15pm – 1:35pm

  • Wladimir Punt, Business Development Manager, Printed Circuit Solutions, Molex

1:35pm – 1:55pm

  • TBD

1:55pm – 2:15pm

  • Panel Discussion with above speakers with live questions from attendees moderated by Session Chair

2:15pm – 2:30pm PST – Wrap Up

  • Dr. Scott Miller, Director of Technology, NextFlex
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Dr. Dragos Maciuca has 20 years experience in Silicon Valley and various industries:
automotive (BMW), consumer electronics (Apple), semiconductor manufacturing (KLA-Tencor) and aerospace (Lockheed Martin).

He has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from the Haas School of Business with focus on Finance and Corporate Strategy.

True Solid-State LiDAR. Challenges of LiDAR integration in Autonomous Vehicles

LiDAR allows a digitalization of the vehicle surroundings with a resolution not achievable by radar, at night or in poor weather - unlike cameras - and with a superior accuracy level. LiDAR are indeed a key enabler for AV technologies.

The LiDAR are rapidly evolving to meet the needs of automotive mass production. The needs of increased reliability, cost reduction and compactness can be achieved through component reduction and elimination of mechanical moving parts, driving indeed the industry toward the use of solid-state electronics. XenomatiX is leading this technology with a multibeam concept developed in 2012 while the industry was still focusing on improving methods to steer the laser beams. True solid-state results in compact modules that can easily find their way in the already crowded exterior body. The future will lead to a proliferation of LiDAR integrated in any location capable of offering enough packaging space, heat dissipations, and aesthetical integration.

Flexible Hybrid Electronics technology could be leveraged to simplify some of these challenges, improving performances of current systems and enabling the positioning of sensors in location currently not feasible.

Jacopo is the Sales and Business Development Manager leading the expansion of XenomatiX’ revolutionary and simple LiDAR technology in the North American region. With the vision to contribute to safer roads and transportations he is convinced of the advantages that the True Solid State could bring to the AV world. In his earlier career he covered managerial positions in Automotive Lighting and North American Lighting supporting the introduction of the first LED technology in transportation while, in parallel, guiding people on the mountains around the world. Jacopo earned a MS in Aerospace Engineer and a Mountain Guide Certification, qualifications that reflect his passion for exploration and techniques.

Fit, Form, and Function: Considerations in the Manufacture of Flexible Hybrid Electronics for Automotive Applications

This presentation will address the important considerations of Fit, Form, and Function in the manufacture of Flexible Hybrid Electronics for Automotive applications. We will begin with a broad overview of why these items are vital to improving the total cost of ownership while meeting the industrial designers' intent.  Various choices will be presented as necessary in the creation of manufacturing plans including, Material Choice, Design for Manufacture and Design for Quality. Specific examples will include integrated sensors, lighting, heating and connected applications.  Also covered will be recent developments in materials for said applications, for example, pliable and thermal control materials that enable finished products with improved the user experience. Whenever possible, we recommend that these technologies be delivered utilizing automated methods to reduce assembly steps and improve reliability.

Enid Kivuti is the Director of Technology for Sheldahl Flexible Technologies a wholly owned subsidiary of Flex, located in Northfield MN.

Enid has 20yrs experience in Advanced Product Development specifically around functional flexible composites and their applications. She works collaboratively with customers to take products from idea to solution, beginning with concept development, through product design and development ensuring successful product launch.

Enid works to innovate solutions in Flexible and Hybrid Electronics that turn ordinary interconnects into elegant, functional devices, thereby easing product acceptance and improving user experience.  Current initiatives are focused on expanding the FHE applications platform with clear and ultra-thin core materials for applications in Moldable Sensors and Thermal Management respectively. Forward looking projects leverage vacuum technology in building thin film sensors for applications in Automotive and Medical markets.

Enid holds a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in Material Science.

Flexible Inorganic Substrates for Electronic Device Integration

Substrate choice is critical for overall flexible electronic device and process optimization. Flexible inorganic substrates such as glass and ceramic, ≤200mm thick, offer several advantages for web manufacturing of electronic devices. As an example, glass substrates offer advantages of dimensional and thermal stability, hermeticity, transparency, and surface quality. Similar to other web materials, flexible inorganic substrates are appropriately conveyed through fabrication equipment using roller systems. As an example, use of glass web has been demonstrated in key R2R building block processes such as: vacuum deposition, lamination, laser patterning, printing, photolithography, and solution coating.

A disruptive industry ecosystem for flexible inorganic substrate manufacturing is emerging with new equipment sets being specifically optimized for glass and ceramic R2R processing. This paper provides specific examples of scaled-up glass web processing at manufacturing widths, lengths, and conveyance speeds. In addition to discussing key flexible glass and ceramic attributes, examples of representative devices relevant to automotive applications will be provided.

Sean Garner is a principal research scientist at the Corning Research & Development Corporation where he has worked for more than 20 years. He received a B.Eng. degree in Engineering Physics (Applied Laser and Optics) from Stevens Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (Electrophysics) from the University of Southern California. At Corning, Sean works in the area of materials processing and device prototyping focusing on the integration of new substrate concepts.

Phosphorescent OLED Display Technology for Automotive Applications

OLED displays are now in commercial production for a range of products from cell
phones, tablets, UHD TV’s, and newly emerging applications such as AR/VR headsets,
wearable devices as well as automobile and avionic applications. OLEDs possess novel
features such as transparency and flexibility, on account of being ideally suited to
fabrication on plastic substrates, and these features are now further increasing their
market potential. With the recent very exciting emergence of foldable and rollable
displays, OLEDs are providing a much greater differentiation from previous display
technologies. Their ability to deliver vivid light weight, fast response time and energy
efficient flexible displays makes them ideally suited to be employed in a variety of
different scenarios within an automobile including entertainment platforms, driver
consoles and to replace wing mirrors. OLED lighting is also increasingly being used for
taillights on account of its ability to deliver highly uniform shapes of light that can be
sequenced to convey information to other drivers.

In this talk we will review the tremendous progress made by phosphorescent OLED
display technology and preview exciting new developments that will further expand
market opportunities, particularly for automotive applications. UDC is constantly
improving the performance of our phosphorescent technology with a focus on lifetime,
efficiency and increasing the color gamut of OLED displays, as well as developing new
technologies to grow the industry.

Mike is Vice President of Business Development at both Universal Display Corporation and UDC Ventures. Prior to joining Universal Display in 1999, he was associated with dpiX, a Xerox Company, where he was responsible for manufacturing flat panel displays and digital medical imaging products based on amorphous silicon TFT technology. Mike received his Ph. D. degree from Cambridge University, England in 1981 and in 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Society for Information Display. In 2014, Mike was nominated to serve on the board of the U.S. OLED Lighting Coalition to promote the advancement and commercialization of OLED lighting. Mike has served as a technology scout and led the evaluation team for Universal Display in a range of areas given his extensive experience with many thin film technologies, both organic and inorganic, as well as display technologies.


Structural Electronics Based on Printed Electronics for Advanced HMI in Automotive Applications

Holst Centre is developing technology for structural electronics based on a single substrate approach with hybrid printed electronics.

By applying additive technologies of printing graphical and electronic materials onto one flexible, even thermoformable, substrate a 3D shape incorporating electronics can be achieved.

The advantages are in the resulting overall thickness that can be substantially decreased, design freedom, costs and waste.

This also results in better performance of functionalities that are contained in one piece of plastic film compared to the two substrate approach.

The realised functionalities are amongst others proximity sensing, touch, display and light distribution in the substrate itself.

In this presentation we will explain the technology challenges and how they are tackled.

The functionalities that can be achieved with structural electronics will be highlighted and an outlook to future interactive panels for automotive will be given.

Dr. Margreet de Kok received her PhD in polymer chemistry in 1999 at the Limburg University Centre of Diepenbeek (B) on the synthesis and evaluation of electroluminescent polymers for OLEDs. She joined Philips Research in 1999 as senior researcher and was responsible for the material development and new applications of OLEDs comprising biomedical applications. In 2008 she joined TNO / Holst Centre to work on integration of (organic) electronics in stretchable and wearable systems including textile integration. Free form factors is the main benefit for printed electronics she is currently exploring for automotive applications like smart surfaces. She is the project leader of the team developing In Mold Electronics and Thermoforming of printed electronics.

Conformable HDR Displays and Smart Windows to Activate Almost Any Surface in Cars

Increased vehicle automation, connectivity and safety are all drivers of the need for more and larger displays in vehicle interiors - a trend that requires displays which can conform to the invariably curved surfaces of the car interior. Organic LCD (OLCD) meets these requirements by replacing the glass in the display with flexible TAC film, whilst using the traditional LCD architecture and its supply chain which is proven for automotive-grade reliability and brightness.

OLCD also meets the demand for ever increasing contrast for automotive displays through deeper blacks. As it is extremely thin, OLCD bring unique advantages in performance and cost to dual cell displays. We will discuss an approach that drastically boosts contrast to 1 million whilst retaining OLCD’s ability to conform to surfaces.

We will also discuss FlexEnable Liquid Crystal Cell technology to activate other surfaces in the car for colour-neutral, rapidly switchable smart window films that can be biaxially conformed to the glazing.

Paul has 20 years’ experience in the flexible and organic electronics industries, in both technical and strategic management roles. He has a deep technical and industry knowledge of flexible display technologies and companies. Paul has taken new flexible display technologies from lab to fab to commercial product, and has 25 patents relating to processes and architectures that enable the high yield manufacture of flexible displays, and has. Paul has a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from London Business School.

Dr. Williams is developing additive electronics manufacturing (AEM) for use on Boeing platforms. He founded the BR&T Huntsville AEM effort performing ground breaking research in microwave filters, antennas, and flexible hybrid electronic (FHE) sensors by maturing manufacturing capabilities, implementing modeling and simulation, and developing prototype demonstrators. He is Boeing’s Technical Council Representative for the NextFlex MII, and leads the Materials Working Group road mapping within the NextFlex community. John applies additive electronics across the enterprise in areas associated with communications, health monitoring, hybrid aircraft, soft robotics, autonomy, and wearable devices factory floor safety. He implements new research goals and directions using disruptive technologies that when matured, have the potential to change the way we look at sensors and electronics. This is achieved through active collaborations with several Boeing teams, universities, and small businesses. John has been awarded 20 US patents, has more than 15 patents pending, 2 trade secrets, published more than 40 journal articles, and given dozens of talks to peers, universities, 2 US congressmen, and the Governor of Alabama during his 15-year career. His current and previous funding comes from NASA, DARPA, NIH, DoD, NSF, and NextFlex.

Low Profile, Flexible and Long Pressure Sensor Stripes for Aerodynamic Measurements at Surfaces of Aircrafts and Vehicles

Recent technological developments in Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) have opened the door to a wide spectrum of new products for which conformability, free form factor, low weight and both high functional performance as well as low manufacture cost represent key success factors. The presentation will give a detailed view on the development of film based flexible pressure sensor stripes of a thickness below 0,5 mm. Application scenarios are aerodynamic measurements at aircraft wings, surfaces of vehicles, rotors of wind engines and further more. The very low sensor encefile prevents the disturbance of the airflow by the sensor stripe itself. The stripes consist of a set of thin capacitively working MEMS pressure sensors and microcontroller ICs for data read out and digital signal transmission. So far, the stripes were prepared at a length of up to 2 meters. The thermo-mechanical robustness (down to -55 °C / -67 °F) of the film-based sensor packaging could be confirmed experimentally. The presentation will also show the recently extended technical capabilities at Fraunhofer EMFT for the development of “endless” hybrid electronic devices prepared by roll-to-roll (R2R) processing of film substrates. The research work was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the German project frameworks “ADAMOS” and “Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD)”.

Christof Landesberger studied physics at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich and joined the Fraunhofer institute in Munich in 1990. The focus of his research work has been manufacturing technologies and analysis of ultra-thin silicon devices, carrier techniques for thin semiconductor substrates and new packaging concepts for embedding of thin electronic components in film substrates. Since 2018, he has headed the department Flexible Systems at Fraunhofer EMFT in Munich. The research team develops technologies for system integration on and in film substrates with a strong focus on roll-to-roll manufacturing.