Innovative prototypes for the toy sector
The FLEXeTOY project, financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and co-financed with ERDF funding, totals € 981,687 and will end in 2015
Barcelona, 6 March 2013,- Two companies and two technological centres have created a consortium to develop the scale-up of flexible electroluminescent (EL) devices for application in the toy sector through an in-depth and detailed study. With this development, these devices may become drivers of the toy sector, by creating prototypes of toys that integrate devices printed on flexible material and achieving electronic functionalities that have never been seen before in objects and products for children.
Financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and co-financed with ERDF funds, the project totals € 981,687 and will be completed in August 2015. As a result, prototype toys will be obtained so that SMEs in the toy sector can manufacture value added products, in mass production and at low cost, to increase their competitiveness at international level.
Competitive and environmental advantages
The insertion of flexible electronic devices in toys and children’s articles will make products more attractive and dynamic, enhancing their interaction with users and increasing the child’s attachment to the product. For example, these devices could require an action on the child’s part (by lighting up, depending on the drawing), allow the child to imitate adult roles (switch on the cooker, turn on the lights of a toy house) among many others.
In economic terms, the manufacturers can introduce high-tech devices into their articles, thus improving their competitiveness and sustainability in the medium term. The prototypes that will be developed will reduce electric and electronic waste while complying with RoHS directives and with European standards EN62115 for electrical products and EN71 concerning toy safety.
The graphic arts and electronic industries involved in the project will benefit from the developments of the project on flexible substrates, opening up new sectors of application, compared to conventional electronics.
The European and Spanish toy sector in figures
According to TIE (European Toy Industry Association), the toy market generated a production value of € 5.5 billion in 2011, from 5000 companies that generate 220,000 jobs. Spain is ranked in second place, behind Germany, and is noted for having a high export capacity. The capacity for expansion both in the Spanish and the European market of the results of this project can be clearly seen.
The members of the FLEXeTOY consortium
AUTOADHESIVOS Z y R, S.A. (Z&R) is a company in the graphic arts sector. Created in 1985, it has 4,000 m2 of facilities in an industrial estate in Barcelona.
Since its creation, Z&R has gone on to specialize in the industrial and commercial labelling sector, and has managed, year after year, to be the benchmark in the sector of self-adhesive articles for decoration. Z&R is noted for its constant search for new products in collaboration with its suppliers, both in the development of new raw materials and in improving existing materials.
The company has the capacity of adapting its machinery to the industry’s new needs and favours the incorporation of the latest technologies and the search for new production processes that add value to its end product.
The main aim of Z&R is to position itself in the specialist labelling market as one of the leading purchase options, aimed at diverse applications.
SEMAI is a competitive company made up of a dynamic team with more than 20 years’ experience in the electronic circuit production and assembly sector. It specializes in products for industry in general, especially lighting equipment for the automotive industry (rear lighting, interior lighting, vehicle exterior signalling, among others).
CETEMMSA is a technology centre, with a 20-year history, with specific expertise in the treatment of flexible surfaces in the field of Printed Electronics to obtain smart devices. These smart devices are capable of contributing new utilities to a variety of economic sectors: health and well-being, automotive industry and transport, professional sports, safety and protection, packaging, architecture and construction and technical textiles, among others.
Government-certified and approved, it forms part of the TECNIO network and is one of Catalonia’s six advanced technology centres. Its mission is to enhance the competitiveness of companies and help them through product innovation.
AIJU, the Technological Institute for Children’s Products and Leisure, was created in June 1985 at the initiative of the Institute of Valencia Medium-sized and Small Industry (IMPIVA) and the Ministry of Industry and Energy (MINER), in order to support the development of the toy industry. Nowadays, AIJU has extended its activity and is a benchmark in all industrial sectors concerned with children’s products and the leisure industry (childcare, parks, promotions, sport, etc.), and offers service with a high technological value to a range of different businesses. It also carries out R&D projects specializing in children and leisure, innovative materials, technical production processes, technological applications in the development of children’s products, quality and health through therapeutic leisure, energy and sustainability, etc.
AIJU is the first laboratory recognized by ENAC to carry out testing on toys, childcare items and child play areas.
The services provided by AIJU to its more than 450 associates are concentrated on 6 specific areas: Child Consumer and Leisure, Product Development and ICT, Technologies, Safety and Testing, Innovation and Sustainability Management, Training and Information.
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