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NextFlex Continues to Accelerate Flexible Hybrid Electronics into the Mainstream Market; Awards Largest Set of Development Projects to Date, Topping $21 Million

Broad Range of Proposals Underscores Potential for Game-Changing Solutions Enabled by Flexible Hybrid Electronics-Illustrates Industry Commitment to Advancing U.S. FHE Capability 

San Jose, Calif., – NextFlex®, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Institute, today announced it has awarded the largest set of contracts to date-an impressive 11 new projects totaling a staggering $21 million in value-to both corporations and academia to help transform FHE into a commercially viable industry. The project proposals were submitted in response to project calls issued by NextFlex, and address not only FHE product designs, but also a range of underlying technologies that will help build the sustainable supply chain, standards and workforce essential to cost-effective, wide-scale manufacture of FHE-based products.

The recipients will cost-share $13 million of the total $21 million value of the 11 projects chosen for this latest round of awards. The contracts were awarded to the following NextFlex members and projects; additional details on each of the projects identified below are provided in this summary sheet:

  • Auburn University – “Mechanical Test Methods for FHE Materials and Devices
  • The Boeing Company – 1) “Flexible Antenna Array Technology” and 2) “3D Patterning of Embedded FHE with High Fidelity” (#1, key partner: Georgia Tech; #2, key partner: nScrypt Inc.)
  • Lorain County Community College – “TRAIN Ohio for Micro-Electromechanical Systems”
  • Purdue University – “Ultra Flexible RFID/Sensor Systems for Inventory Monitoring” (key partner: Raytheon)
  • Sensor Films – “Implementing a FHE Prototype and Production Capability for NextFlex” (key partners: PARC, a Xerox Company, The Boeing Company, General Electric Company, Jabil Circuit, Universal Instruments, NovaCentrix, Binghamton University and the Rochester Institute of Technology)
  • Uniqarta, Inc. – “Enabling Ultra-Thin Die Assembly Prototyping at NextFlex Hub” (key partners: ON Semiconductor, Jabil Circuit, University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst and North Dakota State University)
  • United Technologies Research Center – “Manufacturing of Distributed, Flexible and Stretchable Asset Monitoring Sensor Networks” (key partners: Stanford University and Acellent Technologies, Inc.)
  • Universal Instruments Corporation – “Ultra-Thin Die Assembly for FHE Systems” (key partners: Binghamton University, General Electric Company, i3 Electronics and Lockheed Martin)
  • UC Berkeley – “Integration Processes for Flexible and Wearable Wound Monitoring and Therapeutic Bandage” (key partner: Jabil Circuit)
  • UMass Lowell – “Test Methods for Electrical and Mechanical Durability of Flexible/Rigid Interfaces in Multi-Axial Fatigue and Dynamic Loadings” (key partners: Raytheon, Jabil Circuit and DuPont)

Commenting on the project awards, Dr. Malcolm Thompson, executive director of NextFlex, noted, “We are beyond thrilled to have reached this degree of momentum in less than two years since the Institute was founded. This latest $21-million-dollar investment, which is the largest of its kind to date (previous awards were $8.6 million and $14.8 million, also cost-shared), further demonstrates we mean business in bringing this technology rapidly to market. Our members equally share our passion for making FHE technology real and pervasive in the U.S. To this end, our project reviewers look closely at the submissions to ensure the proposals are ambitious, yet also practical and achievable. We truly believe that this latest round of projects all show great promise for furthering the NextFlex mission to help its members commercialize FHE-based products-and revitalize the U.S. manufacturing economy.”

About Flexible Hybrid Electronics
FHE gives everyday products the power of silicon ICs by combining them with new and unique printing processes and new materials. The result: lightweight, low-cost, flexible, conformable, stretchable, and highly efficient smart products with innumerable uses for consumer, commercial and military applications.

About NextFlex
NextFlex®, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute, is a leading force in the Manufacturing USA network of Institutes. Formed through a cooperative agreement between the US Department of Defense (DoD) and FlexTech Alliance, NextFlex is a consortium of companies, academic institutions, non-profits and state, local and federal governments with a shared goal of advancing U.S. manufacturing of FHE. Since its formation in 2015, NextFlex’s elite team of thought leaders, educators, problem solvers, and manufacturers have come together to collectively facilitate innovation, narrow the manufacturing workforce gap, and promote sustainable manufacturing ecosystems. For more information, visit www.nextflex.us and follow NextFlex on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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