Combining flexible printing and conventional designs, Classic Stripes is adding a ‘smart’ touch to electronics and aesthetics

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A robust research and development ecosystem, a large consumer base and the rising popularity of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) have pushed electronics and design manufacturing to become a growth driver for the country. The industry is making strides as it rides a wave of new-age innovations that are driving change with future-ready solutions.

Talking about frontier technologies like IoT, these tools are believed to be fundamental pillars of the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and are transforming industries like electronics to pave the way for niche sectors like flexible electronics.

To its credit, flexible electronics is introducing consumers to smarter, sleeker and more useful products that feature a miniaturisation of designs, unlike the case with traditional electronics. What gives it an advantage is that it combines the best of printing and conventional electronics to help manufacturers build flexible and stretchable products.

Adding a smart touch to electronics

To that end, Mumbai-based Classic Stripes was among the early players in the Indian electronics industry that leveraged the power of flexible printed electronics to design smarter and more efficient products that are fuelling change across sectors like consumer durables, healthcare, automobile and wearable technology.

A part of Astrac Group, the company is working with its industry partners to offer solutions with integrated surface augmentation, sensing, illumination and touch interface features.

As part of its flexible printed electronics division, Classic Stripes works with processes that allow the development of flexible components such as flexible piezoresistive sensors and ultra-thin and flexible electroluminescent (EL)/LED displays, which remove form factor constraints and give product designers more creative freedom.

On the other hand, they offer product brands and designers a platform to keep innovating and exploring new use cases, tools and components that are not just thin and flexible, but also exciting to interact with.

What works in flexible electronics' favour is that they are lightweight, durable, offer mechanical flexibility and can be integrated with a range of product applications in fields like consumer appliances, durables, modular switches, automobiles, consumer electronics, gaming devices, medical devices, wearables and IoT-based devices.

How flexible printing is making electronics more impactful for end-users

Here’s a lowdown of how Classic Stripes is driving impact with flexible electronics:

1. Consumer electronics: One of the most common applications of integrated position and resistive touch sensing in consumer electronics is a touchpad. The module's tough surface, which is resistant to moisture, can be used with a finger, stylus, or glove.

2. Consumer appliances and durables: In case of products like coffee machines and refrigerators, touch interfaces can add a lot of value to their useability, combined with beautiful aesthetics.

As switches and buttons are replaced with touch interfaces, consumers are in for a far more intuitive experience. For instance, in a coffee machine, force sensors detect the presence and estimate the size of cups that are put under the nozzle to dispense the right amount of contents.

With refrigerators, sensors proactively prevent problems by using force detectors to ensure that all components are securely placed before operation. Also, if you are able to close your refrigerator with a gentle push of your hand or foot, it's all because of the pressure sensors.

3. Automotive applications : Designers are already thinking outside the box, by reinventing car interiors with the help of smart surfaces. There has been a growing trend towards greater connectivity, aesthetics, and enhanced user interfaces in vehicles, focussing on the value added by human machine interfaces (HMI) through integrated position and resistive touch sensing. In the future, a greater proportion of a car’s interior s will be replaced by touch interfaces and the industry would be moving away from mechanised buttons and knobs.

Inside the cabin, sensing and illumination technology is utilised to enhance functionality as well as occupant safety and comfort. Pressure sensors in passenger seats can detect a child’s weight and turn off the airbag, protecting them from serious injury.

A capacitive sensing system can be discreetly integrated into the steering wheel to help monitor if the driver's hand is on the steering wheel. The hands-on/hands-off detection function enables to know who and at which precise moment is in control of a vehicle. It allows for very precise monitoring of the hands-on/off status in the transition between the manual and automated driving modes.

It's hard to miss how these sensors are making car interiors and human machine interfaces more user-friendly with touch controls and enhanced aesthetics. Plus, there are seat occupancy sensors to ensure safety.

4. Healthcare: Flexible electronics is among the leading innovations that have been driving impact for the past few years. The unique properties of force sensors (FSR) help build devices that need a small surface area for activation and are cost-effective. They also have a high tolerance to temperature, chemicals, and moisture, thereby making them ideal for sensor-based biomedical applications. For instance, FSRs are integrated with devices built for detecting bedsores in patients. They are integrated with skin patches and biosensors for recording information about a patient's vitals. These force sensors are widely used in robotic surgery and medicine delivery among other fields.

Classic Stripes is leading the way in the field of flexible printed electronic products in the country. Leveraging its advanced design, screen printing & thermoforming capabilities developed over three decades, the company is best equipped to provide end-to-end solutions from design, development, prototyping, testing, to mass production of various products in this new field of flexible printed electronics.


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