Toppan Printing’s Electronic Paper Display Is Powered by Energy Harvesting Technology

Toppan electronic paper display

Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., a Japanese global printing company, has developed an electronic paper display (EPD) powered by energy harvesting technology. This EPD can be used to generate a display on battery-free Internet of Things (IoT) devices compliant with the EnOcean standard. The company will launch sample shipments in September 2018 and target collaboration with manufacturers of IoT devices.

Current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, known as industry 4.0 is receiving significant attention along with IoT. Therefore, the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to leverage and visualize information in the manufacturing and logistics industries is becoming increasingly important.

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The EnOcean is an energy harvesting wireless technology, whereby minute amounts of energy from external sources, such as heat, sunlight, and vibration, are captured and converted into electrical energy. It is used primarily in building automation systems, and is also applied to other applications in industry, transportation, logistics and smart homes.

There is an increasing demand for energy harvesting for sensors and switches, as it eliminates the need to for a power source or change batteries. Meantime, EPDs have several advantages over other types of displays. EPDs are lightweight and thin and offer visibility close to that of paper and it takes very little power to work.

Toppan electronic paper display
Type of EPD applied to a batteryless switch that was showcased at the 29th Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo.

Acknowledging the characteristics of EnOcean and EPDs, Toppan Printing has used its expertise to successfully develop an EPD that can be powered by energy harvesting technology. This can improve functions of batteryless IoT devices by enabling them to have a display exhibiting information at all times.

As the new technology is compliant with the EnOcean wireless communication standard, devices adopting this technology can therefore be introduced easily in combination with systems that use existing data communication infrastructure.

As the EPD consumes very low power, minute amount of power provided by energy harvesting is enough to change the displayed information.

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A segmented EPD has been selected because of its ability to display numbers, letters, icons, and other pre-defined patterns smoothly with very little power consumption.

Future plans

Toppan Printing plans to further develop the technology, select partnership, and begin mass production in spring 2019.