In support of a growing flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) community, NextFlex sponsors three regional Nodes, one located in Massachusetts, one in New York and one in Missouri. Nodes bring together a combination of companies, universities, and economic development groups all working in collaboration to further build out the FHE manufacturing ecosystem. Nodes foster collaboration and benefit NextFlex members by providing access to facilities, equipment, and infrastructure to fast-track FHE design, development and manufacturing. The Nodes support the national NextFlex mission to facilitate FHE manufacturing innovation, accelerate the growth of the manufacturing workforce, and promote sustainable advanced manufacturing ecosystems in the U.S.
The NextFlex Massachusetts Node, led by the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2), concentrates on manufacturing processes. Leveraging prior state investments at UMass Lowell, UMass Amherst, and Northeastern University, plus on-going support from the University of Massachusetts’ President’s Office. Their focus is two-fold:
- Accelerating competitiveness of the regional FHE supply chain
- Serving as a complement to the NextFlex Technology Hub in San Jose, California
The NextFlex New York Node, led by Binghamton University and supported by New York State’s Empire State Development Corporation, designs, develops and manufactures printed flexible electronics tools, processes, materials and products. It also attracts, trains, and employs an advanced manufacturing workforce, building on the region’s existing electronics manufacturing base. The Node’s flexible electronics application areas of focus include defense, medical, industrial infrastructure, and manufacturing. This Node also supports the emerging regional supply chain, including materials suppliers, system integrators, equipment manufacturers, academic institutions, and research centers surrounding the region.
The NextFlex Missouri Node, led by the Jordan Valley Innovation Center at Missouri State University, is supported by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Priority technology areas for the Missouri Node include advanced semiconductor packaging, flexible electronics, environmental sensors, and automotive and defense applications. Strong emphasis is placed on integration of NextFlex workforce development programs with existing state-led education and training programs.