TF Massif flexes its electronic muscle on the print industry
By Sohail Kamal, EP&T’s West Coast CorrespondentElectronics Printable Electronics Electronics electronics point-of-purchase POP POP printed printed
Vancouver firm enables printed electronics for POP industry
Specializing in creating printed and extra-large flexible electronics for the point of purchase (POP) display industry, Burnaby BC-based TF Massif has established a manufacturing process that enables a more cost-effective solution for its customers.
The emerging leader in electronics signage products is finding success in tapping potential applications such as autonomous vehicles, heating elements, large array antennas, as well as other electronics that require large area flexible backplanes. Currently in use by large format print shops, high-end electronic displays can be produced using existing large-format manufacturing line equipment, using a process that won Printed Electronics USA’s Best New Product Development Award at the IDTechEx Show in 2016.
“We believe that printed electronics has large potential in the point of purchase (POP) industry, where flexibility and a need to stand out from the crowd is needed,” says Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, about TF Massif’s impact on the print industry. “However, the manufacturing process to enable cost-effective printed electronics POP has not been addressed – until now [with TF Massif].”
West Tech Report took the time to catch up with TF Massif’s new CEO, Tom Peregoodoff, to find out more about the genesis of the technology, who it benefits, and how the product can be applied in various industries. The printed graphics space is competitive. It’s a race to the bottom, with good profit margins becoming difficult to achieve. Enter TF Massif:
“We are enabling current manufacturers to expand their product line with minimal capital outlay and minimal technical risk,” says Peregoodoff.
TF Massif’s Lumiere FlexTech display technology enables businesses to differentiate themselves from others in the industry by selling a value-added service that will create a new type of relationship with their clients. Print shops can now produce electronic signs that can be rolled up to be shipped in a tube and then installed on-site, providing huge cost-savings and design enhancements to marketers. This helps print shops garner better control of profit margins: “We provide print companies with the opportunity to join in the world of flexible printed electronics and stay relevant by enabling them to produce illuminated displays that attract, connect, engage and interact with their end-users. And that added value is worth a lot more to their customers, which leads to higher margins and greater loyalty,” explains Peregoodoff.
Alain Carel, TF Massif’s founder and CTO, surveyed the print shop industry to find out which print system was the most popular. Zund was chosen as they held a very large market share and the TF Massif’s Circuit Fabrication Tool was designed to fit seamlessly into the Zund cutter. “We checked in with print shops, and what we found is that they like that they don’t have to make a big capital investment, they already have the Zund cutter,” says Peregoodoff.
From a strategic perspective, the graphical display application enables TF Massif to get exposure, but at its core, TF Massif’s product is a design enabling technology. “It is leading to conversations about many other applications. Engineers can look at the core technology and find ways to use this large-format conductive backplane for their design applications,” says Peregoodoff. “Aviation, automotive, materials groups, this is a new technology. We are getting the core technology in front of manufacturers, and we are working with them to figure out how TF Massif fits into their product.”
Perhaps this is also a challenge for TF Massif. Doing something that has never been done before means there is no manual to fall back on. Zeroing in on a solution too early can drive you down the wrong path, or you might have an innovation that the market is not ready for. “Focusing on our Minimal Viable Product was absolutely crucial and definitely not easy considering the full potential of the technology. And as we exit the research and development stage, we need to ensure we have resources to execute on a large scale and keep space to allow for that innovation,” says Peregoodoff. “The key to managing these challenges is by deeply understanding where you are in the evolution of the company and as you evolve having the courage to admit you cannot do it all, and bring in the additional resources to take you through the next stage of the evolution.”
TF Massif, and it’s marketing arm, CAPTIVA Innovations, can be found at tfmassif.com and captivainnovations.com.