Henkel Makes Strategic Equity Investment in Vitriflex, Inc. to Accelerate Ultra-Barrier Film Technology
Integration of Novel Barrier Film and High Performance Adhesives to Enable Cost-Competitive Flexible Display Devices
May 28, 2014 – The Electronics Group of Henkel today announced that it has made a strategic equity investment in and signed a joint development agreement (JDA) with Vitriflex, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, Henkel will work with the ultra-barrier film innovator to develop customized solutions for the display market.
“This investment and joint collaboration will open the door to some very exciting future opportunities,” says Mark Popovich, Henkel Corporate Vice President Global Marketing. “With Vitriflex’s profound expertise in ultra-barrier film design and manufacturing, and Henkel’s adhesive formulation proficiency, the market could soon see the first truly cost-competitive encapsulation product for high-volume flexible display production.”
Current display technology relies on glass, in most cases, to provide device protection and a product lifetime at a cost that is acceptable to consumers. In order to enable bendable, non-breakable displays, however, flexible barrier layers with glass-like permeation resistance properties are necessary. While flexible displays have been developed, the barrier layer processes employed to produce them are generally capital-intensive, costly and difficult to manufacture, therefore preventing widespread adoption. Vitriflex’s novel barrier technology enables a flexible, transparent ultra-barrier film with low water vapor and oxygen transport rates (WVTR and OTR) that meet the needs of new products employing OLED materials, among others.
Founded in 2010, San Jose, California-based Vitriflex has developed a unique barrier film technology that utilizes a proprietary roll-to-roll (R2R) process to deliver high-performance ultra-barrier films in an easy-to-integrate form factor. Delivering a flexible polymer film with glass-like properties in high volume has been the ambition of barrier film specialists for many years but, to date, no low-cost commercial product has been produced. Drawing on the expertise of its impressive technical and management team, which includes business and technology leaders with notable electronics market and barrier film development backgrounds, Vitriflex has invented an ultra-barrier film technology that resolves the price/performance challenge.
“In the past three years, Vitriflex has developed a highly differentiated approach to the flexible barrier problem,” explains David Parker, President and CEO of Vitriflex. “Now we are turning our attention to delivering integrated solutions that meet the needs of display manufacturers. Our new partnership with Henkel is a major step forward in this development.”
Central to the integration of the ultra-barrier film is its ability to deliver robust adhesion to and compatibility with a variety of substrates. Henkel’s history as the market leader in adhesives formulation delivers a strong competitive advantage and the ability to evolve the barrier film technology at an accelerated pace. This, in addition to Henkel’s broad global resources, connection to top display device manufacturers and its worldwide R&D, service and sales capabilities, provides both a technology and commercialization edge.
“Henkel is confident that the future of display technology is, indeed, flexible,” concludes Popovich. “We are very optimistic about the success of the Vitriflex ultra-barrier film technology and have already begun our adhesive development program in earnest.”
For more information about The Electronics Group of Henkel, visit www.henkel.com/electronics.
Henkel operates worldwide with leading brands and technologies in three business areas: Laundry & Home Care, Beauty Care and Adhesive Technologies. Founded in 1876, Henkel holds globally leading market positions both in the consumer and industrial businesses with well-known brands such as Persil, Schwarzkopf and Loctite. Henkel employs about 47,000 people and reported sales of $21.8 billion and adjusted operating profit of $3.3 billion in fiscal 2013. Henkel’s preferred shares are listed in the German stock index DAX.
Founded in 2010, San Jose, California-based Vitriflex, Inc. is a leading developer of high-performance barrier films for flexible electronics. Vitriflex ultra-barrier encapsulation provides cost-effective protection from moisture and oxygen, improves lifetime and reliability and has the added benefits of being flexible, lightweight and shatterproof. Vitriflex enables exciting new categories of flexible solar modules, next-generation OLED and LCD displays and solid state lighting.