Following on from several years of collaboration with Conductive Inkjet Technology (CIT), US firm Atmel will begin shipping its flexible touch sensor product xSense in the coming months.
California-based provider of microcontroller and touch sensor technologies Atmel is using CIT's roll-to-roll mesh technology to produce touch sensors that can be applied around curved surfaces and edges of smartphones, tablets, and other consumer gadgets, as well as industrial applications. The process uses ultra-fine metal lines injected into film, to produce flexible touch sensors that are lighter and thinner than indium tin oxide (ITO) sensors.
In April 2012 Atmel announced it was sampling xSense to some customers and earlier this month launched a demonstration video to help market the product and show potential applications.
In 2013 CIT, which is a subsidiary of UK plastics technology business Carclo, will increase production capacity to prepare for growing demand for xSense. CIT has been working closely with Atmel for over three years, gaining invaluable access to the mobile electronics industry to develop its deposition process and materials to eliminate visible evidence of lines, and reduce reflectivity from screens that incorporate its film.
In late 2010, CIT installed a pilot line for making the touch sensor film that it supplies to Atmel to produce xSense. The partnership has evolved to become CIT's most lucrative contract, worth several million dollars and positioning CIT as one of the fastest-growing businesses within Carclo in the process.
Other Carclo subsidiaries include a firm developing single-use, point-of-care diagnostic devices. Following an extensive strategic review during 2012, Carclo's board decided to retain and develop CIT as a core business within the group and CIT's Cambridge, UK site will be expanded to support the fast ramp-up of sensor film production for xSense.
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