Innovative printed electronics tech firm Flexbright Oy. is embarking on a partnership project to develop its product range at a new science park taking shape in the Middle East.
The Finnish company, based in Haukipudas, near Oulu, Finland, agreed a deal with Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last month.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by Flexbright chief executive Pekka Makkonen and SRTI Park CEO Hussain Al Mahmoudi on 15 January, agrees the firm's future cooperation in business and technology development alongside a new local operation in the emirate of Sharjah.
This deal follows two years of detailed research and planning by Flexbright for its entry to the UAE market. It believes the time is now right to set up an operation there, it said as the deal was unveiled.
Flexbright was part of an official trade delegation to the Emirates from Finland's Oulu region, and the visit resulted in several other MOUs being signed by Finnish business executives with SRTI Park.
Since its formation in 2013, the Finnish enterprise has developed a range of novel LED lighting solutions based on printed flexible plastics film. Last year, Flexbright invested €1.5m to launch a 20m wide automated line turning out its ‘LEDfoil' thin, flexible illuminated film using a roll-to-roll process.
Already in use for advertising signs, illuminated bus and train service information and in the auto industry, ‘LEDfoil' production is based on PET, polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) or polycarbonate film with an adhesive bonding process for LED devices.
CEO Pekka Makkonen called agreement with SRTI Park “an excellent local basement for a business operation and collaboration with local universities”. He added: “I am looking forward to starting cooperation on a practical level.”
The SRTI Park, being developed by AUS Enterprises, part of the American University of Sharjah, is under construction with the initial development due to be completed early this year. It is a key element in the emirate's shift towards establishing a knowledge-based economy.
SRTI Park is located beside the University City with two universities – Sharjah University and the American University of Sharjah, both of which are being transformed from solely teaching bodies to science and research-based institutions.
Flexbright is also planning to manufacture ‘LEDfoil' in Russia through a technology transfer deal signed in 2015 with an offshoot of Russia's state-run technology development company Rusnano Corporation.
Rusnano subsidiary NNCRM (Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials Centre of the Republic of Mordovia) is partnering and investing in a second Flexbright ‘LEDfoil' line as part of a printed electronics industry cluster in Saransk, western Russia.