The Centre for Process Innovation, an independent technology centre based at NETPark in Sedgefield, has developed a new battery technology to enable goods to be tracked using smart labels.

Compared to existing asset tracking solutions with complex installation procedures, the smart labels by London-based SME Reelables are much quicker and easier to use, attach to objects like a sticker and can be tracked with a phone app.

It is hoped that the project could help lower production costs and drive growth within the printed electronics industry as the Internet of Things develops. The IoT is the network of physical objects that are embedded with software so they can be connected and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet.

CPI led a 12-month feasibility study with more than £100,000 of funding from Innovate UK to develop a low-cost battery that would be formed onto each smart label’s circuit.

This Battery-on-Circuit solution, designed with expertise from project partners Cisco and Digital Catapult, is more affordable and eliminates the need to power the smart labels with a bulky external battery.

CPI, which also has centres at Darlington, the Wilton Centre and at Newton Aycliffe, provided crucial support at its National Printable Electronics Centre at NETPark.