Joint project KonFutius
Continuous functionalization of lightweight structural materials in the roll-to-roll process through printed electronics and hybrid integration (KonFutius)
Duration: July 2019 to December 2023
In order to secure the long-term competitiveness of the lighting industry in NRW, new approaches to solutions for the resource- and cost-efficient production of light panels are needed due to the increasing cost pressure from Asian manufacturers. In KonFutius, research into a new system architecture for panel lights and the development of a new integrative production system based on electronically functionalised fibre-reinforced composites will create the required competitiveness in the long term.
The overall objective of the joint project is the development of an integrated process chain for the cost-effective and energy-efficient production of electrically and optically functionalised fibre composites. The lighting panels thus produced for the first time in a continuous process surpass conventional LED panels in terms of weight and rigidity, while at the same time being less thick and offering greater design freedom. With the continuous process and the associated substitution of complex assembly and logistics processes, cost reductions of over 60 percent compared to current LED panels can be achieved. The process and system technologies developed in KonFutius thus make it possible to serve the fast-growing lighting market with high-tech panels made in NRW. Exemplary applications are lighting in indoor and outdoor areas such as offices or billboards. By transforming the panels into curved structures, which is also envisaged in the project, design-oriented applications in architecture (exterior facades) and in the transport sector (ceiling lights in trains and buses) can also be addressed.
Structure of the panel
The structure of the panels consists of a fiber-reinforced base layer on which LEDs are mounted. These emit light rays laterally into a compound of functional layers (reflection, light guide and diffusion layer), whereby a homogeneous light field is coupled out on the surface.
By combining continuously running and thus highly productive individual processes into an integrated overall process chain, an efficient and cost-effective production of the material is made possible. The individual processes are:
- Continuous production of thermoplastic FVK laminates by double-belt press
- Continuous printing of conductive tracks and application of functional layers in a roll-to-roll process
- Hybrid-Integration of LEDs
- Continuous sealing of the layers by laser transmission welding
- Shaping of curved final contours
The project success is guaranteed by the interdisciplinary composition of the consortium. The project covers the entire value chain from material production, process and plant development to the marketing of the functionalised fibre composite plastic. The direct connection to the market is guaranteed by the end customers won for the project as well as the extensive and highly diversified company network of the project partners.
- Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT (Projektkoordinator)
- Aachener Zentrum für integrativen Leichtbau AZL der RWTH Aachen
- Leister Technologies Deutschland GmbH
- Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
- Polyscale GmbH & Co. KG
- Pixargus GmbH
- Trilux GmbH
This project was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (reference number: EFRE-0801653)