TactoTek: International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) publishes first standard on in-mould electronics
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has published the first standard “63899-202-10: Printed Electronics – Materials – Resistance measurement on thermoformable conducting” providing the printed electronics industry a standardised way to characterise the material. Finnish Structural Electronics pioneer TactoTek has led the standard development project that is part of the Technical Committee (TC119) activities. First proposed by TactoTek, the development project initiated in 2019 has now resulted in this standard, which enables injection moulded structural electronics (IMSE) designers to create optimised designs with standardised materials.
Creating smart functional electronics with IMSE requires thermoforming, i.e. creating shapes from flat 2D functional films with printed circuitry and mounted components. Thermoforming elongates the printed layers, causing resistivity changes that should be considered during the design phase. Using a standardised measurement method ensures comparability of the results and leads to optimisation of the designs/materials. The standard defines the terminology and measurement methods for characterising the resistance change of conductive ink traces as a function of thermoplastic elongation and is applicable to thermoformable surfaces with conductive ink layers.
Accredited bodies like IEC creating standards enable confidence in new and innovative technologies. With over 170 nations, IEC has an expert pool to peer review technology and create standards. According to Paavo Niskala, SVP of IMSE Technology at TactoTek, “TactoTek sees that standardisation will speed up the industrialisation of structural electronics technologies such as injection moulded structural electronics (IMSE). Thus, TactoTek wants to disseminate some of its knowledge through standardisation work. We see that IEC's way of working and input from other TC119 National Committees has been beneficial in developing the standard and the structural electronics industry as a whole.”
Caption: TactoTek’s leadership in IEC has enabled the publication of the world’s first standard for in-mould electronics (photo: TactoTek)