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Cutting edge flexible electronics developed with tech funding support

PragmatIC has propelled itself into world leadership with its ultra low cost and thin flexible integrated circuits, supported by a grant from Digital Drive County Durham, which provides events, one to one business support and grants.

A grant from the Digital Drive County Durham programme, delivered by UMi, has enabled PragmatIC to further develop its unique technology platform for flexible integrated circuits. These FlexICs are thinner than a human hair and ideal for introducing intelligence and interactivity into a wide range of everyday products, such as consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.

The grant helped to accelerate the company’s advances in the data capture and analytics used in its manufacturing plant. More than half of the company’s 80 members of staff are based at the manufacturing plant which is based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield.

Gillian Ewers, vice president of marketing at PragmatIC, said: “The Digital Drive County Durham programme was a very simple programme to join, the application process was very smooth, and it enabled us to quickly advance our project. The grant meant we could bring in additional resources, and as a result we reduced the time to complete this phase of development by six months.

“Having an inlay with a PragmatIC FlexIC embedded into the packaging of a product means that it can be assigned a unique identity,” said Gillian. “With a simple tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone, consumers can gain access to additional information, such as legible advice for medicines or allergy information for food.

“The rapid design and implementation of robust data capture and analytic processes is critical to enable us to reach our challenging goals of having a trillion FlexICs manufactured close to where they will be required around the world to meet local demand and shorten supply chains.

“In the future, we will add sensors, which will enable more applications, for example making sure a product is being stored at the right temperature, or even checking if it is still okay to use,” Gillian said. “It would be a real step forward if we could use this technology to do things like reducing food waste.”

Andrea McGuigan from Business Durham, said:

“Business Durham is delighted that PragmatIC has taken advantage of the Digital Drive grant to develop this leading edge technology. The programme was developed to support SMEs in County Durham to make better use of technology in their business and PragmatIC is a prime example of what the project can help businesses to achieve.
“I wish PragmatIC every success with its new and innovative technology and hope that their story convinces other businesses to take advantage of the support Digital Drive County Durham offers.”

Digital Drive County Durham is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Business Durham (which works on behalf of Durham County Council) and private investment. It forms part of the wider Digital Durham initiative to transform broadband speeds for residents and businesses across the North East.

Digital Drive County Durham provides grants of up to 40% towards the cost of digital projects, and is delivered by UMi, on behalf of Business Durham. UMi takes the hard work out of finding and using the best information, expertise and finance to help businesses go further. For more information, please visit