Canadian Manufacturing

Feds invest $56M to boost Canada’s printable electronics industry

Funding for program, consortium aimed at developing electronic intelligence capabilities in materials



MISSISSAUGA, Ont.—The federal government has announced $56-million in funding for a program and consortium it hopes will position Canada as a global leader in printable electronics.

Announced at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada in Mississauga, Ont., the Printable Electronics program will be aimed at developing cutting-edge technologies and light-weight electronic devices used in so-called smart labels.

Existing examples of printable electronics include microwave buttons and automotive rear window defrosters.

Backed by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), the Printable Electronics program will receive a $40-million investment over five years to develop interactive products for consumers by adding electronic intelligence capabilities to printed materials.

“Printable electronics technology allows everyday objects to interact with customers in ways that were unimaginable five years ago,” NRC vice-president of emerging technologies Dan Wayner said in a release.

“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 will receive $16-million over five years and will pool resources from Canadian companies and research centres to provide strategic research and development, technical services and test design and manufacturing techniques.

The NRC said it will also help industry solve technical gaps and commercial challenges that stand as barriers to developing new products.

Some of the new technology the program and consortium will target include drug packaging that tracks dosage history, smart labels that reduce shipping costs through wireless supply chain management, anti-counterfeiting measures that will increase bank note security and food labeling that indicates when it is spoiled.

Members of the consortium include Krupack Packaging, a division of Kruger, Xerox Canada Inc., GGI International, RFID Canada, Jones Packaging Inc., MW Canada Ltd. and the Canadian Bank Note Company Ltd.

“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, benefiting Canadians in countless ways by improving our quality of life and leading to the growth of our economy,” Science and Technology Minister Greg Rickford said.

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