Elephantech desires to create circuit boards which can be kinder to the surroundings • TechCrunch


Printed circuit boards (PCB), which carry out important capabilities in digital units, together with shows and sensors, want quite a lot of power to create. Furthermore, conventional PCB manufacturing processes generate giant quantities of liquid waste and excessive carbon emissions.

Nonetheless, there are extra environmentally pleasant methods of manufacturing PCBs, together with additive manufacturing processes that use inkjet and laser printing, whereas absolutely biodegradable PCBs are also on the horizon.

To get its slice of $90 billion PCB manufacturing pie, Tokyo-based startup Elephantech has developed an eco-friendly PCB known as P-Flex, utilizing inkjet printing-based digital circuit manufacturing expertise, which it says reduces carbon emissions by 77% and water consumption by 95% in comparison with typical processes.

The principle change Elephantech ushers in to the PCB course of is that whereas digital circuits are sometimes made via so-called “subtractive” manufacturing, which includes layering a complete floor with steel earlier than dissolving the areas that aren’t obligatory, with Elephantech’s “pure additive” course of, it solely places metals in place the place they’re wanted to start with. Nothing is subsequently eliminated (i.e. wasted).

The corporate additionally says that its nanoparticle inkjet expertise helps minimize prices by 32%, via eradicating quite a lot of procedures from the manufacturing course of.

To fulfill its mission “to create a sustainable world via resource- and energy-efficient manufacturing applied sciences,” Elephantech has secured 2.15 billion yen (~$15 million) in funding, at a 12.3 billion yen ($88 million) valuation, an organization spokesperson informed TechCrunch.

The brand new capital, which brings its complete raised to roughly 7 billion yen ($50 million) since its inception in 2014, will assist the startup scale its enterprise from R&D and its present manufacturing quantity, which is concentrated on its home market, to focus on clients globally.

Common circuit

Elephantech began the mass manufacturing of its PCBs two years in the past in its Nagoya facility, and whereas it’s at present targeted on single-sided versatile substrates, it plans to provide multi-layered and inflexible PCBs, which represent totally different layers, together with a copper layer, substrate layer and silkscreen layer.

The corporate mentioned that its inkjet printing expertise will also be utilized in different sectors comparable to healthcare, optics and textiles.

In August, the startup announced a dye removal technology called neochromato, co-developed with Japanese textile chemical firm Nicca Chemical. The neochromato course of helps eradicating print from polyester materials with out utilizing water, and placing new print on the textiles to reuse the fabric with a special design earlier than recycling to scale back attire waste.

The outfit mentioned the method may scale back about 48% of CO2 emissions when garments are recycled with a special sample in comparison with chemical recycling, which reduces about 20% of the carbon emissions.

Quite a lot of fledgling startups are working to deal with and optimize totally different features of the PCB design course of, together with an organization known as Celus, which recently raised $25.6 million for a platform that automates circuit board design. Then there’s Luminovo, which secured $11 million to scale back waste in PCB manufacturing by bringing collectively the whole materials and manufacturing costing course of.

So it’s clear that there’s a rising impetus to optimize and enhance on a expertise that powers nearly each digital contraption there may be, from smartphones to microwave ovens. Mixed with rising environmental issues and the function that electronics performs in that, Elephantech is probably in a powerful place to realize traction in world markets, and its newest money injection will go a way towards serving to.

Elephantech’s funding spherical included investments from Anri V Funding, Shin-Etsu Chemical, Nostril, Shizuoka Capital, Eiwa Company, Nanobank, Mitsubishi Gasoline Chemical, Kenbishi Sake Brewing, D&I Funding, Epson, Sumimoto, East Ventures and Past Subsequent Ventures.



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