We are pleased to announce the release of the inaugural issue of NextFlex News, our monthly newsletter designed to keep members and the flexible hybrid electronics community informed about funded project work, technology advancements, workforce development activities, and industry events.
Project Call 3.0
With 24 active projects already underway from our first two project calls, we’re extremely pleased to announce the release of Project Call 3.0 on May 31. The Governing Council recently approved the topic areas per recommendation and ranking by the Technical Council. An open meeting will be held in conjunction with the 2017Flex Conference on June 22nd to allow those interested to learn more and discuss common interests about Project Call topics in anticipation of the pre-proposal due date of July 12. For more details, click here.
Under the leadership of Brynt Parmeter, director of workforce development, education, and training, activity has taken off like a rocket ship over the past two quarters. Of note, we hired a full time deputy director of workforce development, so please extend a warm welcome to Emily McGrath. She has been invaluable as the project manager in charge of the FlexFactor program.
We started up FlexFactor in October 2016 with eight students at Lincoln High School in San Jose, California. This project-based learning program blends entrepreneurship, technology, and education and career pathway familiarization. Over the course of four weeks, student teams define human or health performance monitoring problems, develop product solutions to those problems, and then pitch business models to a shark tank of industry, academic, and non-profit professionals. After starting with our first pilot of eight students, we have since hosted over two hundred students across four Silicon Valley school districts. For next steps, we are currently in conversations to expand the program to four other states, and we would love to discuss ways to bring it to wherever you see an opportunity to do so.
We continue to build great relationships and programs developing future technicians and technologists with our community college partners, particularly Lorain County Community College in Ohio and Evergreen Valley College in California. Finally, NextFlex is pleased to support the City of San Jose’s SVO Strive Internship program this summer. We encourage companies in the San Francisco Bay Area to participate in this no-cost-to-you program that will match you with student interns that have a demonstrated affinity for high tech. Here at NextFlex, we will host high school, community college, and university interns again this year, and we have found this experience to be as rewarding for us as it is for the young people placed here. I hope you will consider it. For more information, contact Brynt Parmeter at email@example.com.
The Technology Hub pilot manufacturing line is now ramping up. Just over the last four weeks, we have taken delivery of four major pieces of equipment: a BTU Pyramax high-throughput reflow oven for lead-free solder curing for packaging and assembly as well as curing printed conductors, a Meyer Burger PiXDRO inkjet printer for digital printing of conductive inks on flexible substrates, a Universal Fusion pick-and-place machine for surface mount, pick-and-place of discrete components and final assembly processes and including a multiple wafer feeder that enables bare die placement, and a Nanotronics nSpec® for optical inspection of substrates and surface morphology for other materials. This equipment will help NextFlex members prove new technology, develop new manufacturing processes, and test new materials in a pilot manufacturing environment. It is very exciting to see the equipment starting up, and you are welcome to stop in for a visit to see the Hub take shape. For more information, contact Brian Arbuckle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NextFlex Supporting Healthcare Startups
NextFlex is pleased to be a sponsor of the 2017 Rosenman Institute Innovators Awards, part of the QB3 Life Science Pitch Summit. The Rosenman Institute provides startups with expertise and mentorship from stakeholders across the healthcare industry. Forty startups are selected to pitch and, if selected, gain access to cash or in-kind services. NextFlex will provide prototyping and pilot manufacturing services for winning pitches that strive to convert devices from rigid to flexible circuits in medical devices.
Please share this newsletter with colleagues whom you think would be interested in keeping up with activities at NextFlex.
Dr. Malcolm J. Thompson