The total investment in the three year 'MaDriX' project is €15m, with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) contributing approximately €8m. The project is funded as part of the BMBF’s 5th Framework Program.
For its part, PolyIC will address the issues of component characterisation and process development, while BASF, Evonik Industries and Elantas Beck will develop the materials from which the tags will be made. Siemens will develop new real-time visual print inspection systems to address the issue of quality control in the printing process.
Because of their high cost, the current generation of RFID tags, which contain silicon chips, are mainly used for high-priced products. Printed electronic technology will reduce the cost of RFID tag production thanks to the development of new materials such as electrically conductive and semiconducting plastics that can be employed in a high throughput printing process.
The alliance members say that this will make printed RFID tags suitable for use in cheaper consumer goods so that they may even come to replace printed barcodes.