PPG & Powercast to Develop Ultra-Thin, Wirelessly Powered Printed Electronics

PPG and Powercast Corporation have come together to produce ultra-thin, wirelessly powered printed electronics products. The advanced solutions combine PPG's TESLIN substrate, PPG conductive inks, and Powercast’s POWERHARVESTER receiver technology to deliver over-the-air wireless power.

Powercast and PPG will introduce LED-based wireless illumination solutions for smart consumer packaging and smart identification (ID) cards, which enable enhanced security. With this technology, smart consumer packaging lights up to showcase products on a shelf. Smart ID cards also illuminate to permit or deny access to restricted areas or to verify user credentials.

The combined technologies 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.

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 usable direct current (DC) energy to power embedded electronics and LEDs.

The two companies showcased wireless illumination applications for smart packaging and ID cards at the IDTechEx Show.

The first showcased application, a PPG Teslin label affixed to the front of a six-pack of beer (courtesy of Straub Brewing, Inc., St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania), will illuminate 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.

Durable, flexible and water-resistant, PPG Teslin substrate is a microporous synthetic paper with the unique ability to cushion printed electronic circuitry while withstanding the handling and abuse typically associated with credential and packaging applications. PPG Teslin substrate provides an ideal surface material for enhancing the functionality and extending the service lives of illuminated and smart consumer packaging and identification cards.

PPG's state-of-the-art polymer thick film conductive inks are uniquely formulated to meet a wide range of 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.

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