PRISMA: First use of printed radio chips realized in public field tests – Results within the framework of the funded project PRISMA – ‘Printed Smart Labels’

Fuerth, 20 April 2009: Within the framework of the PRISMA project, printed radio chips, produced from polymer circuits on thin, flexible polyester foil, have been tested for the first time in various everyday situations in the areas of electronic ticketing and security. For this, the project partners realized complete systems. This initially incorporates RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags, i.e. printed chips including antenna that transmit at a standard frequency of 13.56 MHz. These tags were assembled according to the specific application; appropriate scanning equipment was developed and the specific application scenarios drawn up. In PRISMA, these systems were tested for the first time anywhere in the world in public field test scenarios in real applications. In a first field test, electronic tickets for control of admission to the international OEC-2007 conference with more than 400 tickets were used. The largest field test in the project took place with more than 4,000 admission tickets at the Mediatech 2008 trade fair in Frankfurt am Main. At another field test, an ‘Open Day’ at Bundesdruckerei as part of the Long Night of the Sciences in Berlin was equipped with electronic tickets. There was also a test at ticket machines as well as tests of the use of the tags as an electronic security element in documents.

Dr Wolfgang Clemens, head of the applications department at PolyIC GmbH & Co. KG and overall project manager for PRISMA summarizes the project achievements as follows: ‘In PRISMA, printed RFID tags were used in real applications for the first time anywhere in the world, thus demonstrating the opportunities and potential of the new technology for initial application cases. The experience gained from this are now an important basis for the further development of printed RFID.’

The project PRISMA received funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and was coordinated by the project sponsor VDI/VDE-IT (The Association of German Engineers / Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies) in Berlin. The project, with an overall volume of EUR 8.2 million, was launched in 2005 and successfully concluded at the end of 2008. The leader of the project consortium was PolyIC GmbH & Co. KG; the other partners were Bartsch International GmbH, Bundesdruckerei GmbH, Höft&Wessel AG, Leonhard Kurz Stiftung GmbH & Co. KG, Siemens AG, as well as Munich Technical University.

The printed tags were configured at PolyIC in collaboration with Leonhard Kurz and made available to the other partners. The tags were then customized at Bartsch for the other applications. Siemens developed the adapted RFID scanner equipment. Bundesdruckerei tested the use of printed tags as an additional security element in documents and cards. Scanning equipment for reading the tags was developed at Siemens. Höft & Wessel realized the use of electronic tickets in machines. The project partners were supported by Munich Technical University which analyzed the various application scenarios.

The basis for the tickets used here is the printed electronics developed at PolyIC. With the platform technology of printed electronics, it is possible to realize low-cost, high-volume RFID tags in roll-to-roll processes. At laboratory level, RFID tags have already been configured with up to 64-bit memory depth. However, for the public field tests, only simple radio chips with printed capacitors on an antenna that do not have any memory were used. The experiences with printed tags in the PRISMA project have since also been published in the book ‘Gedruckte Polymer-RFID-Transponder’ (‘Printed Polymer RFID transponders’), edited by J. M. Leimeister and H. Krcmar, ISBN 978-3-89936-762-1. Further information about the PRISMA project is available on the PRISMA home page: www.prisma-projekt.de as well as at LOPE-C Large-area, Organic & Printed Electronics Convention vom 23. – 25. Juni 2009 in Frankfurt am Main (www.lope-c.com) at the booth of PolyIC.

The world’s first test of the printed electronics demonstrated that printed electronics are now ready for the market and that there is enormous potential. According to the British market research company IDTechEX, the market for printed electronics, which includes both organic and non-organic compounds of the two, will grow from USD 1.92 billion in 2009 to USD 57.16 billion in 2019.

The partners of the PRISMA project are:

The consortium manager of the project was PolyIC GmbH & Co. KG; PolyIC was founded in November 2003 as a joint venture between Leonhard Kurz GmbH & Co. KG and Siemens AG to develop and produce printed polymer electronics technology.

Leonhard Kurz Stiftung & Co. KG as a hot stamping and coating specialist runs nine production sites in Europe, the USA and in the Pacific region. Kurz is a worldwide supplier and leading in hot stamping and coating.

Siemens Automation & Drives (A&D) is leading worldwide in the field of automation and drive systems and components. For more than 20 years, A&D provides RFID systems with a comprehensive portfolio for production, logistics and distribution and is European market leader for industrial identification systems.

Bundesdruckerei GmbH Berlin is one of the world's leading companies engaged in developing and supplying systems solutions and services for secure identification. In addition to passport and ID-card systems, the company offers ID documents, high-security cards, document checking devices, security software along with trust center services to national and international customers. Bundesdruckerei GmbH also produces banknotes, postage and revenue stamps as well as electronic publications.

Höft & Wessel AG, Hanover, established by the entrepreneurs of the same name in 1978, is a German IT and Engineering Group with focus on retail and logistics, public transport and parking. Höft & Wessel AG is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of mobile terminals and belongs to the leading providers of ticketing and telematics systems for public transport and check-in solutions for the airline industry.

Höft & Wessel AG is one of the largest providers of parking space management systems in the world.

Bartsch GmbH is a proficient specialist supplier of air traffic documents for more than 160 airlines as well as for railroad and public transport services. Bartsch is already working with RFID solutions, not only regarding paper media but they also integrate readers and proper software interfaces.

The chair of information systems (Prof. Dr. H. Krcmar) of the Technical University in Munich focuses on structuring and evaluating innovations for use. Especially in the field of ubiquitous computing/ RFID and with evaluating immense projects, the chair has extensive experience.