Printed electronics for medical and leisure use

As a leader in innovation, VARTA is intensively involved in a large number of research projects, including in the field of printed electronics. The goal is to optimize existing application options and to add new ones. At VARTA, research and development are a key pillar of our company’s success. The battery group conducts research on printed batteries from different electrochemical systems and cooperates with universities and scientific institutions as a partner when it comes to battery know-how and battery innovation. For example, VARTA has been involved in the BEWELL project since it was launched at the start of 2019. There, the aim is to develop integration and production technologies that are needed by wearers of intelligent skin plasters and wrist appliances, such as smart watches and bracelets. In particular, the aim of the BEWELL project is to release the potential for flexible, wearable electronics for physical and emotional wellbeing through progressive, integrated technology components produced in Europe.

Sensors and actors on the skin
Another research project currently underway is OxiFlexIt. The aim of the project is to develop a mobile monitoring system for arteriosclerotic vascular diseases. Here, the main focus is on the three-dimensional real-time depiction of oxygen saturation in the body areas analysed. The measurement system consists of one or more re-usable measuring modules, a plaster that carries the system’s battery and antenna and an app for communication and data management. The monitoring system is intended for use in outpatient care, during or after an intervention or an operation and in rehabilitation programmes. OxiFlexIt is also designed to develop new application areas, such as in sport. One possible option is to offer marathon runners the opportunity to constantly monitor their oxygen saturation during a race and in this way to avoid overstrain. “For us as battery specialists, this opportunity for developing new applications for printed electronics in both the medical and leisure and sports areas is of particular importance,” stresses project manager Dr. Martin Krebs from VARTA Microbattery GmbH.

Increased energy density for the CoinPower series
VARTA offers high power and safe microbatteries with the CoinPower series of lithium-ion coin cells. With their compact, stable structure, the CoinPower cells are the ideal energy source for wearables and hearables. VARTA is now increasing their energy density by around 30 percent. The energy density is a decisive factor for the new generations of headsets, where the focus is on ever increasing durability. Only a short time previously, VARTA had announced an increase in energy density by 15 percent. This means that for a typical battery used in headsets with a 14 mm diameter (CP1454), around 100 mAh are now achieved, instead of the 85 available to date. Due to further improvements in electrochemistry, even more precise production technology and cell optimisation, this battery type will even achieve 110 mAh during the second half-year.

Flat, flexible and powerful: VARTA researches the printed batteries of various electrochemical systems. Photo: VARTA Microbattery GmbH
Flat, flexible and powerful: VARTA researches the printed batteries of various electrochemical systems.
Photo: VARTA Microbattery GmbH

VARTA AG produces and markets a comprehensive battery portfolio, ranging from microbatteries, household batteries, energy storage systems to customer-specific battery solutions for a wide range of applications, and, as a technology leader, sets industry standards in key areas. As the parent company of the Group, it operates in the business segments “Microbatteries & Solutions” and “Household Batteries”.
The “Microbatteries & Solutions” segment focuses on the OEM business for microbatteries as well as on the lithium-ion battery pack business. Through intensive research and development, VARTA sets global standards in the microbattery sector and is a recognized innovation leader in the important growth markets of lithium-ion technology and primary hearing aid batteries. The “Household Batteries” segment comprises the battery business for end customers, including household batteries, rechargeable batteries, chargers, portable power (power banks) and lights as well as energy storage devices. The VARTA AG Group currently employs almost 4,000 people. With five production and manufacturing facilities in Europe and Asia, and distribution centers in Asia, Europe and the USA, VARTA AG’s operating subsidiaries are currently active in over 75 countries worldwide.

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