Category: LTM News
November 3, 2015

Integration of the LTM smart material in the several proposed design concepts is the key issue of the third and last iteration in the design process. A dedicated task tackles the problem of how to best integrate the smart material in, on or around specific parts and products, addressing the most feasible and common processes for manufacturing, joining and assembly, such as injection moulding, embossing, vacuum forming and adhesive bonding. The task is taken up by manufacturing specialists among LTM partners, namely Holst Center, AITO Interactive and GradoZeroEspace, with input on product-specific manufacturing and integration techniques coming from the design studios.

A specific challenge is formed by the fact that the OLEDs cannot survive long-term temperatures over 60-70°C, which may either rule out certain common processes or necessitate the application of suitable barrier layers between e.g. OLED and a relatively hot molten plastic; chemical compatibility may also make specific demands. However, various consortium members have the necessary in-house experimental facilities and experience for this task; apart from that, the manufacturers panel is expected to provide valuable input, as progress of flexible electronics and related manufacturing and assembly technologies are developing strongly worldwide.

Dario Presti from LTM design & engineer partner GradoZeroEspace is leading the dedicated task, gathering the upcoming issues from the prototyping activity. During Workshop 09 main focus was set on the integration issue organizing small round tables between designers and materials & integration specialists in order to exploit the knowledge within the consortium and uncover feasible solutions for integration, considering different aspects regarding substrate, light, colour, touch and wiring.

Some specific integration issues were identified such as: defining the minimum size of the OLED that can guarantee precise interactions, striving for maximum reduction of the control box in order to integrate it nicely into the product, enabling neat integration and high flexibility of all the components, including control box and battery, in order to provide high wearability and comfort, exploring OLEDs’ output in terms of colour and coherence [programmability] and PIEZO sensitivity in order to offer correct feedback and guarantee good user interaction.

Solving these issues means overcome the integrations obstacles and be able to produce some really good demonstrators by the end of the project due by July 2016.