When closely evaluating today’s situation in healthcare, the immediacy for digital transformation clearly becomes evident. Building a strong digital infrastructure which lays the foundation to a connected and transparent system and even more importantly allow efficient and individualized patient treatment, has become a key societal target – not at least due to Covid-19. Digital devices for remote patient monitoring are part of this digital transformation. In fact, the market for medical health patch applications as been estimated to reach approx.. 9.9 B$ by 2024. Therefore Henkel Printed Electronics and Quad Industries, a printed electronics specialist from Sint-Niklaas (Belgium), are strengthening their partnership to capture and seize this market potential.

Throughout their strategic partnership Henkel Printed Electronics supplies a full solution package of adhesives and conductive inks, relevant to achieving ultimate form and function for the patch design. In addition, Henkel contributes to the partnership by offering it’s medical market access and ecosystem connections.
Quad industries, with its long-term experience in design & manufacturing printed electronics and flexible sensors, is responsible for prototyping, design and production. The research and development takes place at the Quad facilities in Sint-Niklaas, whereas the production facilities are located in Belgium or Slovakia. The latter is dedicated to sheet-to-sheet screen printing manufacturing for multiple applications e.g. membrane switches, medical devices, touch sensors for appliances and many more. The high volume production of more sophisticated technology that can be manufactured roll-to-roll, such as latest remote monitoring applications, will take place in Sint-Niklaas. Here, Quad has now invested 1.2 million euros in a new production facility.

Quad and Henkel have already worked together on the smart health patch created by the Antwerp start-up Byteflies. The patch was originally developed to monitor patients with heart failure and epilepsy, but with the rising number of Covid-19 infections it now also serves the wirelessly and continuously monitoring of respiration, heart rate and temperature of patients with mild Covid-19 symptoms. The patients can be monitored remotely within their home environment, leaving hospital beds available for patients with increased infections. By now, 28 Flemish hospitals taking part in the pilot project, with 300 corona patients using the patch. “Telemonitoring is one way of cutting hospital costs. A day of care in the hospital costs 500 to 1,000 euros” explains Hans Danneels Co-founder & CEO of Byteflies. Today, the use of the Byteflies health patch solutions is reimbursed, showing that telemonitoring is slowly finding its stake within healthcare.

Next to the Covid-19 health patch, new projects for remote monitoring applications are already in the pipeline, e.g. together Henkel and Quad are already working on patch solutions for 5 additional companies including a Swiss company wanting to monitor the vital functions of horses.

In order to facilitate the fitting of prosthesis, Quad supplies flexible pressure sensors using Henkel materials to a UK biomedical company, The sensors are part of a smart wearable technology that eliminates the need for the traditional trial-and-error cycle and ultimately avoids the tiresome traditional fitting process for patients. At the same time it reduces costs and improves efficiency for prosthetic centers. In addition, Henkel and Quad are working on a moisture sensing application for leakage detection and a pressure sensor for access control of a room. “By working together we can present our customers with a prototype in a few weeks, explains Stijn Gillissen, aiming for a new joint project every month. To the five current projects, five to 10 may be added in the coming months, although not all prototypes will lead to actual products.

“Through this partnership, we offer customers the synergy of Henkel’s leading material expertise combined with the agility and flexibility of Quad Industries’ highly skilled R&D team, assisting in development and prototyping of innovative customer projects,” adds Arne Casteleyn.