Innovative Finnish firm set to produce its flexible LED film lighting in Russia

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Flexbright CEO Pekka Makkonen (L) and commercial dir. Atte Varsta with product

Flexbright Oy, a Finnish firm that has developed novel LED lighting solutions based on printed flexible film, plans to launch production in western Russia.

The company, headquartered in Haukipudas, near Oulu, Finland, last year invested around €1.5m to establish a fully automated line to manufacture its ‘LEDfoil’ thin, flexible illuminated film using a roll-to-roll process. The 20m line at the plant started early this year.

The innovative Finland business, formed in 2013, soon drew attention abroad and three years ago it attracted investment from Russia’s state-run technology development company Rusnano Corporation.

Russian partnership led Flexbright to signing a technology transfer deal with a Rusnano offshoot, NNCRM (Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials Centre of the Republic of Mordovia). It is part of Rusnano’s capital investment company FIEP.

Now, Flexbright and its Finnish and Russian partners, with potential applications for printed electronics products growing, intend to set up a second ‘LEDfoil’ production line at Saransk in Russia’s semi autonomous Russia’s Mordovia republic.

A new company, Svetcom is reported to have been established in Saransk focusing on ‘LEDFoil’ application and technology improvement.

NNCRM is reported to have committed up to €4.64m to invest in the development of a flexible and printed electronics industrial cluster in Saransk over the next three years, according to the centre’s managing director Dmitry Krakhin.     

The Mordovia region, located in the Volga river basin in central western Russia, is recognised as a centre for the lighting industry in Russia.

‘LEDFoil’ is already in use or in demand in a number of application areas including automotive solutions, consumer products, in bus and train service illuminated information screens and for advertising signs.

Flexbright has been focusing its attention on product development and has launched a number of R&D projects in various sectors.

‘LEDFoil’ production is based on lower cost polymers such as PET, polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) and polycarbonate and an adhesive bonding process for LED devices. Competing technology makes use of etched copper laminates polyimide with a reflow soldering process, according to Flexbright.

Late last year, its chief executive Pekka Makkonen said the company was devoting around 70% of its net sales to research and development. Sales in 2016 amounted to more than €220,000.

Flexbright’s film production line in Finland has a capacity sufficient to achieve an annual turnover of around €5m. But the company says customers are already committed to buy ‘LEDFoil’ products worth about €30m in 2021.

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