A $171 million public-private partnership will include key players from throughout Indiana. The FlexTech Alliance initiative is part of President Barack Obama’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation program and involves Purdue University, IUPUI, the Battery Innovation Center at the Westgate @ Crane Tech Park and several companies with locations in the state.
The five-year effort revolves around the U.S. Department of Defense’s launch of the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute in California. It will focus on design, manufacturing and integration of electronics and sensors as well as examining building and testing automation for hybrid electronic technology on non-traditional substrates, which could include anything from glass, plastic or paper to human skin. The majority of the alliance will be funded from a combination of private, university and state dollars. $75 million will come from the federal government.
Purdue says the initiative includes national participation from a total of nearly 100 companies, 11 laboratories and nonprofits, plus over 40 colleges and 14 state and regional organizations. The university says private industry involvement connected to the state includes Eli Lilly & Co., Roche Diagnostics USA and Kimball Electronics, among others.
The team from Purdue and IUPUI will be led by Purdue electrical and computer engineering professor Ali Shakouri.
Purdue President Mitch Daniels calls it an "ideal mix" of public, private and academic interests and will "create jobs, strengthen the economy and potentially benefit a wide array of markets."
Flexible hybrid electronics have a wide range of uses from wristwatches, video displays and communication technology to medical, robotic and sensor uses.Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith calls the state the "ideal place" to develop this burgeoning technological front.
IUPUI will handle synthesizing of "nano-inks," which will then be used in roll-to-roll film manufacturing technology at Purdue.
Of the five previously-detailed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation institutes, Purdue is involved in two: the $270 million Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation the $320 million Digital Lab for Manufacturing.