TMC Entrepreneurial Lab presents the OLED demonstrator
One of the unique aspects of TMC is The Entrepreneurial Lab (TEL). Within this physical “room to play” TMC offers its Employeneurs the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills and work on ideas for innovative technical products. Like Employeneurs Date Moet, Jeroen Karregat, Peter Brouwer, Bo Hou, Paul Dee, Willem Adriaans en Venu Madhav Mothukuru, who united their skills and knowledge in the realization of an OLED demonstrator. After six months of hard work they proudly presented their final product to the world.
‘The project started with the idea to design a representative demonstrator to show interested companies the working of a flexible OLED lighting device,’ Date Moet, initiator of the project, tells. ‘As a Project Manager at the Holst Centre I’m involved in development projects that enable the technologies needed for efficient flexible OLED lighting devices on moisture barrier film. The OLEDs consist of a stack of thin films, some of which are brittle and can break when the device is bent too much. It is therefore difficult to demonstrate flexible OLEDs reliably to interested clients. This brought me to the idea to develop a firm, robust mount that is able to show the flexible form factor and material of the OLED, while it protects the product from any damage. In consultation with the Holst Centre and TMC I gathered a team of driven Employeneurs who were motivated to set up this project and develop an OLED demonstrator within several months work.’
The next six months every Thursday evening the team members met at TEL to work on the project. ‘One of the challenging parts was the design and the realisation of a multifunctional, low profile hinge, for a simultaneous mechanical function and electrical connection,’ Date explains. ‘This proved to be more complicated than we previously thought, so we spent extra time on this part. Moreover, we designed a printed circuit board (PCB) with analogue circuits for touch-controlled pulse-width modulation (PWM) dimming, so the user is able to control the intensity of the light. With this we were able to develop, prototype and assemble 15 portable demonstrators and realised one of the first “product-like” flexible OLED lighting devices ever made! I believe the success of the project is due to the multidisciplinary skills of the team. We all put in knowledge and experiences from our own background and so we were able to create this new product.’ Jeroen Karregat, one of the team members, adds: ‘During my graduation I learned about some processes that are needed to produce OLED’s, so when I heard of this project, I was immediately interested to join the team. Together with Peter Brouwer, one of the other team members, I worked on the mechanical design of the demonstrator. A very challenging but instructive process. Moreover, I enjoyed to get to know several of my colleagues in a different setting and learn from the different disciplines involved.’
Broaden your horizons
Benjamin Jurg, Director of TEL, expresses his pride of the team and the results they have accomplished with the words: ‘It is nice to see how we stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit within the projects of TEL and how we offer our Employeneurs the opportunity to broaden their horizons. We believe that the TEL projects contribute to the development of our Employeneurs and lead to more ownership, technical leadership and steering towards business results. Moreover, it offers our Employeneurs the opportunity to translate technical ideas into a new business. The ultimate step towards entrepreneurship! I believe TEL is the perfect way to carry out TMC’s innovative drive and the OLED demonstrator is a great example of how we invest in the realisation of ideas for promising technical products.’ ‘When I look back at the past six months I think I speak for everyone when I say we have learned a lot from running this multidisciplinary project, in which we experienced the full project life cycle, from idea via concept definition to prototyping and delivery,’ Date adds. ‘Moreover, we had a lot of fun working with enthusiastic co-Employeneurs, while making something completely new. I’m very curious how the demonstrator will be received by our clients and how this product will evolve in the near future!’