German polymer specialist Rehau and 13 other partners are investigating OLED lighting technology as part of an EU-funded project to advance the new lighting technology.
The €14m Lyteus programme will look to establish a pilot line enabling companies of any size to develop concepts related to flexible OLED lighting technology quickly and cost-effectively and to bring products to market maturity.
Lyteus is focusing on product streams in the areas of automotive, designer luminaires and aeronautics applications.
Coordinated by the Holst Centre, Lyteus has brought together partners from five European countries and includes Audi AG, Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), VTT, Fraunhofer, M-Solv, FlexEnable, DuPont Teijin Films, Brabant Development Agency (BOM), Rehau, emde design, Pilkington, Coatema Coating Machinery and Amires.
In a statement on 23 May, Rehau said that its role in the consortium was to “validate” the pilot line as a launching customer, along with Audi AG, Pilkington and emde design.
The research activities are supported by the European Commission through the Photonics Public-Private Partnership.
"In this project, REHAU is venturing into the market of printed electronics. With our know-how in the processing of polymer materials, we are trying to integrate OLED films into edgebands and profiles," explained Constanze Ranfeld, corporate research & development / advanced technologies at Rehau.
If the project is successful, the profiles could light up aircraft cabins, for example, as a design highlight.
Moreover, the advanced, film-based and therefore flexible OLEDs could also be used for other applications, such as automotive sector.
Rehau also said that the integration of OLEDs into its products fitted perfectly with the strategic direction of the company.
There are, however, commercialisation obstacles, which must be overcome before the technology reaches the mass market.
Two of those are price intensity and limited availability, according to Rehau.
"OLEDs could become the lights of the future. Initially, however, technology scale up and commercial price points must be achieved," Ranfeld emphasised.