At this year's LOPE-C the Felix Schoeller Group, Osnabrück-based manufacturers of high-quality specialty papers, showcased one of their innovative new developments: a touch-sensitive, functional, high-gloss wood-based panel that can be used in furniture fronts in kitchens or hospitals, for example.
It consists of sensors that are inkjet printed onto a specialty paper which is then laminated to a wood-based panel. In this way, a completely invisible switch is created that can be integrated into a furniture front and be used to control household appliances, switching lights and radios on and off or operating taps.
The development that will be demonstrated is based on the company's many years of experience in two different fields: printing electronics onto high-gloss paper – applications that are well-known as p_e:smart – and speciality inkjet decor papers, which Technocell Dekor, one of the Felix Schoeller Group's business units, produces for individualised designs in the market.
The first step involves using a large-format inkjet printer in the company's Applications Lab to print conductive ink in the form of a touch sensor to the inkjet decor paper. A standard HPL process commonly used in the wood-based products industry is used to press the printed paper onto a decor paper and onto a wood-based panel. The sensor created in this way is linked to an electronic circuit that can be used to perform the on/off or dimming functions.
The demonstration model was exhibited for the first time at LOPE-C 2014, where it met with great interest.