The joint development agreement combines PPG TESLIN substrate and conductive inks with Powercast’s Powerharvester receiver technology for delivering over-the-air wireless power to create LED-based wireless illumination for smart consumer packaging and also for smart ID cards with enhanced security. With the technology, the packaging lights up to showcase products on a shelf without having to have a power supply. Smart ID cards also illuminate to permit or deny access to restricted areas or to verify user credentials.
The deal will allow developers to seal electronics into packaging and cards via lamination to provide indefinite illumination without wires, batteries, charging ports or direct contact with a power source. POwercast’s technology is one of two free space charging systems to be approved by the FCC for use in the US.
“Powercast is excited to partner with PPG to deliver differentiation to the product packaging and secure credential markets,” said Dr Charles Greene, chief operating and technology officer at Powercast. “PPG Teslin substrate and the company’s conductive inks have great RF characteristics, which complement Powercast’s long-range wireless power technology.”
The illuminated products are created by printing graphics or information on one side of PPG Teslin substrate using conventional or digital print technologies. The electronic circuitry is printed directly onto the opposite side of the substrate using PPG’s conductive inks. The ultra-thin (1 millimeter or less) Powerharvester wireless power receiver chip and other components are then attached to the substrate using conductive epoxy, and the label is laminated to seal in the electronic circuitry.
Powercast’s embedded Powerharvester receiver chips harness RF energy wirelessly from a Powercast Powerspot transmitter or other RF source. The harnessed RF is turned into useable DC energy to power embedded electronics and LEDs.
The first application has a PPG Teslin label on a six-pack of beer from Straub Brewing of Pennsylvania that illuminates the package and draw attention to the Straub brand. The second application is a smart ID card that authenticates a user based on proximity to an ID reader.
“A smart illumination solution using Powercast technology is a perfect complement to PPG’s current offering for secure credentials and label and packaging applications,” said Greg Terchick, PPG business director, Teslin substrate products. “The products we are developing with Powercast will enable our customers in these segments to create highly differentiated, value-added solutions for their customers.”
“The technology sharing between PPG and Powercast is an excellent example of the type of collaboration that continues to strengthen PPG,” said John Yundt, PPG global market manager, electronic and conductive materials. “We see this partnership as an ideal way to use the unique synergies of our broad portfolio of coatings and materials technologies to help our customers find solutions.”
The PPG Teslin substrate is a microporous synthetic paper with the ability to cushion printed electronic circuitry while withstanding the handling and abuse typically associated with credential and packaging applications. The polymer thick film conductive inks are formulated for printed electronic circuitry applications, including printed radio-frequency identification (RFID) and mobile antennas, membrane switch and capacitive touch panels, flexible OPV solar panels, printed sensors and medical biosensors.