Smart Plastics Congress on 7th and 8th June in Linz, Austria

"Plastics meet Electronics" is the motto of the first international Smart Plastics Trade Congress on 7th and 8th June 2011 at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz/Austria. The organiser of the congress is the Smart Plastics Initiative, which was founded at the beginning of this year and whose goal it is to make Upper Austria a one-stop shop for intelligent electronic plastic products.

Dashboards without switches and buttons, flexible solar cells or medical diagnostics systems integrated in plastic products: Smart Plastics prepare the way to help these visions become reality. The combination of plastics technology, mechatronics and design not only allows for new product ideas, but opens up enormous market potential at the same time. How to leverage this with the help of new technologies will be the topic of discussions in the scope of the event.

The congress starts in the evening of 7th June with a keynote by Prof. Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci, the Head of the Institute for organic solar cells at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz. The second day features an all-days programme with talks and an open innovation workshop. The speakers include Mathew Gardiner (Orobotics AEC-Future Lab, Austria), Jaap Lombaers (Holst Centre, Netherlands), Thomas Müller (Chair of Plastics Technologies, University of Erlangen, Germany), Roland Streule (Sefar Holding, Switzerland), Dirk W. Pophusen (Bayer MaterialScience, Germany) and Dr. Markus Riester (maris TechCon, Austria). The conference language is English.

Bundling expertise along the entire value-added chain
The important thing for the initiators and organisers is the mutual exchange and the ability to network with new contacts. Nowhere else in the world are the companies and the infrastructure required for Smart Plastics represented in such large numbers and geographical proximity as in Upper Austria; and this is what prompted the founding of the Smart Plastics Initiative. Companies and research institutes are now invented to join the network.

"Our aim is to promote cooperation between companies along the value-added chain in this field", emphasises Prof. Georg Steinbichler, Senior Vice President of Development Technologies with ENGEL AUSTRIA and Programme Chair of the event. "After all, the opportunities and challenges that this discipline presents require very different fields of expertise, which should preferably be accessible to partners via an efficient network."

Initial prototypes created in cooperation with partners
The network currently includes Hueck Folien, Schöfer, STIWA Automation, KEBA, Brands and Friends, ENGEL AUSTRIA, plastic electronic and formquadrat among others. Prior to the founding of the initiative, the companies had already started cooperating in the field of intelligent electronic plastics. For example, ENGEL exhibited trims with integrated switches for vehicle interiors during the Symposium 2009. The development partners were Schöfer and plastic electronic. Touching the surface of the trim activated specific functions. This was made possible by a foil with capacitive sensors which were back injection moulded with thermoplastics and covered with polyurethane in a single step. With its many years of experience and extensive competence in the fields of foil back injection moulding, surface decoration and process integration, ENGEL already plays a leading role in the young market segment of Smart Plastics.

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