Sustainable electronics thanks to TracXon

Sustainable electronics thanks to TracXon
"The TSMC of printed electronics"

Worldwide, consumer electronics are an unimaginably large market, with billions of smartphones, laptops, and numerous other devices. Unfortunately, they all contain circuits and components with little or no recyclability. TracXon, a TNO spin-off company, should put an end to the huge mountain of waste caused by traditional electronics. Circuits are no longer etched on circuit boards but printed with special ink on ultra-thin film. TracXon received a €250,000 convertible loan from the Smart Industries TTT fund. Co-founder Ashok Sridhar talks about what this boost means for him and his company and investor Rogier Ketelaars explains why Innovation Industries chose TracXon.

The TracXon spin-off is a major step towards sustainable electronics. Copper, solder, and chemicals on a hard surface give way to recyclable components printed on flexible film with special conductive inks. The process was developed at Holst Centre, where many thin-film applications see the light of day. One of these is printed electronics.

The advantages of printed electronics are innumerable. Almost all film, ink, and paste used are recyclable at the end of their service life. This saves an unimaginable amount of waste on a global scale compared to the traditional production process. No longer an inflexible surface, but a lightweight, thin, and flexible material that can be produced in any shape. In addition, by printing only the required material, there is no waste of raw materials. Production is also energy-efficient and has a low carbon footprint.

Potential for complex applications

Ashok Sridhar from India is one of the three founders and current CEO of TracXon. He completed his PhD in printed electronics at the University of Twente and also did an Executive MBA at the TIAS School for Business and Society in Tilburg. He explains the mission of TracXon.

“Printed electronics in themselves are not new, but until now they have only been used in fairly simple products such as tags and sensors. The method of hybrid printed electronics developed by TNO has the potential for many and also very complex applications. Apart from electronic circuits, this includes components in computers, tablets, smartphones, LED lighting, sensing, automotive, and healthcare. With this, hybrid printed electronics enter a completely new phase in which sustainability is the starting point.”

TracXon has setup a state-of-the-art facility to manufacture printed circuitry in a roll-to-roll (R2R) manner. Even the component assembly will shift from the current sheet-to-sheet (S2S) process to a unique R2R process flow. This means mass production to serve the major electronics manufacturers. This will allow them to swap their traditional production of electronics, which is resource-intensive and wasteful, for sustainable production and products.

Special feature

Sridhar: “At the request of and in collaboration with a number of European and Asian multinationals, pilot projects for the manufacture of printed electronics are now under way. A special feature of this unique technology is the ability to produce LED lighting on large surfaces with tens of thousands of diodes. Work is under way with a foreign manufacturer on an extremely thin and flexible sensor that can be incorporated into clothing and measure body posture in a variety of conditions to prevent complaints. At an advanced stage is a temperature sensor that allows batteries in electric cars or laptops to be monitored to a very high accuracy.”

Ambition: ‘The TSMC of printed electronics’

According to Sridhar, TracXon received the TTT convertible loan at exactly the right time. “That boost, together with investments from TNO Tech Transfer, BOM and Brabant Startup Fund, enabled us to develop a world-class production facility for printed electronics in Eindhoven (see photo, ed.). Our contact and the cooperation with TTT (managed by Innovation Industries) was very pleasant. They provided direction and critical input that helped steer our strategy and its implementation in the right direction. Over time, we want to be the largest company in printed electronics. What TSMC of Taiwan is for semiconductor production, we want to be for printed electronics. We are on track, partly thanks to the confidence from the TTT program.”

‘TracXon could grow into major player’

Investor Rogier Ketelaars of Innovation Industries acknowledges TracXon’s great potential. “They are filling a commercial gap with their ability to print electronics on a large scale. That’s a growing market. We believe their contract manufacturing model can grow into a major player in the Eindhoven ecosystem of printed electronics. TracXon’s technology is carefully patented and builds on years of top-notch research by TNO. Moreover, their great strength is that they have the scientists who provided those patents on board. Ashok is a hardworking entrepreneur with great ambition and we are confident that he will lead TracXon’s multidisciplinary team to even greater success.”


Smart Industry

Nico Nijenhuis

Circular Technology

Maurits Burgering


Esther Rodijk

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