NOW INTELLIGENT PACKAGING IS AS SIMPLE AS PRINTING
A new company has been formed to launch a revolutionary technique for printing electronic circuitry onto packaging using conventional printing techniques. Novalia, based in
Imagine adding the functionality of electronics to packaging as easily as adding a barcode – and at next to no cost? Imagine turning a breakfast cereal box into an interactive game. Imagine adding safety checks and information to drugs packaging. The applications for this technology are almost endless; anti-counterfeiting, brand protection, pharmaceutical compliance, toys/games, differential marketing are just a few.
For a start-up company like Novalia, the opportunities are tremendous. Equally, the originator of this amazing technology, Dr.Nick Stone, is very aware of the potential dangers in the world market. “Ideas, on their own, have little commercial value and, of course, are vulnerable,” he says. “So, from the beginning, I have been working closely with patent attorneys Venner Shipley, ensuring that each development is fully protected by patents, which then add a clear marketable value to my concepts.”
The system of printed electronics being pioneered by Novalia has been brought about by advances in organic electronics. Organic semi-conductors are a material that can be coated and patterned on flexible substrates to create transistors and other electronic devices. They have properties that enable simple circuits to be printed over large areas on conventional low-cost thin and flexible substrates such as cardboard or plastics.
The beauty of the Novalia process is its ease of application, using the same printing techniques and equipment that are currently employed. Novalia will discuss a concept with a client – a promotion, brand-linking, an ongoing game, product verification, or whatever may be required – and, considering the types of materials and processes that are available, put forward a concept to add value and functionality to the packaging.
“I am discussing concepts with major packaging companies and manufacturers of toys and games,” says Nick Stone, “and will be moving forward carefully with Venner Shipley’s advice on how best to license this technology. Our work together has been of immense help in identifying the unique technical aspects of this overall concept, helping to uncover the subtle and valuable parts of the process, so that it can be fully protected.”
Novalia is working with a printing company to manufacture a printed electronic-based trading card game. The concept uses printed silver tracks on the card to enable a type of logic functionality allowing the cards to ‘compete’. Two cards selected by children are slotted into a simple master device, produced in the same way, but with a slim battery built-in, and light emitting diodes determine which of the two cards is the winner.
“If you want to include a game with your box of breakfast cereal, why not print it on the box itself, when the box is printed,” says Nick Stone. “This saves costs and differentiates the brand at the same time.” But this is just the tip of the iceberg. If display effects such as electrochromics were utilised, then simple animations such as a footballer kicking a ball could also be added.
Novalia is at the start of this exciting new technology – one that will affect all of lives in the future. To discuss your marketing or packaging ideas, call Dr Nick Stone on 07811 893 351.
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