The Nanotechnology Lab LTFN runs a research project under the EU’s SmartLine funded by Horizon 2020
Based in Thessaloniki, the ‘Factory of the Future’ will soon be able to produce intelligent and zero-defect nanotechnology products, that can find application in various sectors such as electronics, lighting, smart textiles, food packaging, greenhouses, automotive and more. The construction of the factory –which was officially set in operation on the 1st of September- is based on the ambitious project Smart Line, funded by EU’s Horizon 2020 and consisting of 7 partners from 4 different European Countries (Greece, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands) under the coordination of Lab for Thin Films - Nanobiomaterials - Nanosystems & Nanometrology (LTFN) of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The ‘Factory of the Future’ will produce organic photovoltaics for energy production and OLEDs for lighting, through two main production lines, that will be fully automated, minimizing defects and losses during production phase. The project’s budget is around 5.5 million euros, out of which 4.3 million will be provided by the EU.
‘It is one of the most ambitious projects, whose target is the development of the Industry of the Future and which will play a critical role in the digital transformation in Greece and in Europe in general’, said Mr. Stergios Logothetidis, Head of the Nanotechnology Lab of Aristotle University, during the opening of the Center of Organic & Printed Electronics – Hellas (COPE-H). He added that it is been two years now that these two production lines have been under testing, while in 2018, Smartline is expected to improve the measurements and production control using ‘optic metrology’, so that the best possible result (99%) in the end product is achieved.
The Smartline Project
Smartline started on September 1st, 2017 and will have a 3-year duration. Its goals are:
- development of smart non-destructive optical metrology tools for quality control of Nanomaterials and Organic Electronic (OE) Devices
- automation of the production of OE devices after the implementation of metrology techniques in pilot lines for adjusting the production parameters in order to optimize the production of OE devices (OPVs, OLEDs for lighting)
- optimization of the OPVs & OLEDs Production
- integration of OPVs & OLEDs in Automotive Applications
LTFN is the project’s coordinator, while the other partners are industries and research centers from Germany (3 partners), the Netherlands (1 partner), Italy (Fiat) and Greece (OET-Organic Electronic Technologies) . As far as the automotive sector is concerned, Fiat is already planning the construction of a small vehicle that will have photovoltaics on its roof, which will be produced at the ‘Factoty of the Future’.
‘The innovation of Smart Line’, says Vasilis Matskos from OET, ‘is the software that will be used, so that production-line instruments make the decisions and give orders for the corrective moves that should be made, so that the best quality at the least time during production is achieved’. ‘A global standard for the production process in organic electronics will be created’, he adds.