Congratulations to FlexTech Alliance for receiving a $75 million Department of Defense award to establish and manage a Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) for Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE MII). The new institute is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation program (NNMI), an initiative of the Obama Administration to support advanced manufacturing in the U.S.
As Chairman of the Board of FlexTech and a longtime member of the organization, I have seen first-hand how the Alliance has built a successful track record of facilitating collaboration and advancing technologies from R&D to commercialization.
The new Institute, guided by FlexTech, will impact markets beyond defense. Developing an infrastructure for flexible electronics will spur growth in other industries that benefit from electronics that are fabricated on a thin and flexible form factor.
Flexible electronics are already re-shaping multiple markets. For example, we’ve been experiencing increased demand for flexible electronic labels that dynamically sense temperature excursions and help preserve perishable medicine or foods. We also see tremendous interest in wireless NFC tags that allow consumers to communicate with products and help connect the physical and digital worlds.
This NNMI initiative is a catalyst that ensures the U.S. will benefit from the industry’s commercial growth, with deep supply chains, multiple product developers, and integrators participating. FlexTech will be using a hub and node approach, with a national hub in San Jose, California, that links to a network of centers of excellence throughout the U.S.
We agree with San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s assessment that this award affirms San Jose’s role as a global hub for innovation advancing the Internet of Things (IoT). Thinfilm has long supported the goal of using flexible and printed electronics to build the IoT. Our San Jose-based NFC Innovation Center is helping do just that.