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Paperonics: Low cost multisensory paper & packaging applications

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Printed electronics started to develop a megatrend for packaging, food and pharmaceutical industries because it is an enabling technology and accelerator for the other megatrends such as the internet of things, consumer interaction via mobile phones, traceability and safety during online retail by surveillance of storage and transport conditions, etc.

SMEs are highly interested to serve this increasing market but they face several challenges. The research landscape and possible SME supply industry for printed electronics is fragmented. In addition, many technologies are stand-alone solutions, which are often costly.

Therefore, PAPERONICS will bring together research centres and companies active in the areas of paper, labels, cardboard, ink and printing technology, sensors, RFID tags, scavenger and encapsulation technology, software applications (apps, social media), cloud solutions & design, and end users of packaging, with the aim to foster innovation by mutual cooperation.

PAPERONICS aims to develop a platform for smart systems based on existing technologies such as sensors for touch (printed), temperature, humidity; light-emitting devices; RFIDS tags; data processing with internal data transfer and external communication; printed batteries or organic solar cells as energy sources; actuators; and encapsulation materials/processing. The integration of selected components on paper based substrates will lead to smart applications on labels and packaging.

PAPERONICS will reveal design and production ways for 3 application scenarios that demonstrate specific possibilities such as a customer relationship product; an anti-counterfeiting tag; and a temperature logger. Paper will be used as substrate because it is temperature stable, stiff and printable and suitable for efficient roll-to-roll processes. Furthermore, it has the potential to deliver low cost, innovative applications that can serve many purposes as intelligent packaging. Encapsulation materials to protect water vapour and oxygen sensitive electronic components (solar cells, printed wires, antennas, OLEDs) will be developed to allow processing and encapsulation in air, instead of in nitrogen/argon glove boxes, at much lower processing cost.

Fully integrable energy sources will be studied to activate sensors, logic components and displays. In addition, PAPERONICS will target sustainability from the start of the material selection till the investigation of the recyclability of the final demonstrators.

Project coordinator:

IVLV Industrievereinigung für Lebensmitteltechnologie und Verpackung e.V.


  • Universiteit Hasselt, Packaging Technology Center IMO-IMOMEC, BE
  • Universiteit Hasselt, Functional Materials Engineering IMO-IMOMEC, BE
  • IMEC vzw, Smart Electronics, BE
  • KU Leuven, Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory, BE
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung, GER
  • Technische Universität Chemnitz, Institute for Print & Media Technology, GER
  • Papiertechnische stiftung-Institut für Zellstoff und Papier, GER