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Repsol and TactoTek Will Develop Smart Surfaces with Polyolefins

Julkaistu 10.12.2020

Repsol and TactoTek seek to expand the use of polyolefins in high-performance parts, such as smart surfaces, which have only been made using other plastic materials.

Polyolefins are the most widely used polymers in the automotive sector due to their exceptional versatility, superior physical and mechanical characteristics, and lightweight, which reduces fuel consumption and emissions.

At the end of 2019, Repsol made an equity investment in the Finnish startup TactoTek, through its investment fund Repsol Corporate Venturing. The two companies are currently developing the technology to manufacture smart surfaces using polyolefins intended mainly for the automotive sector, representing an innovation in materials that enables new design and integration opportunities to different vehicle parts.

TactoTek®, founded in 2011 and based in Oulu, has developed a manufacturing process called 'in-mold structural electronics' or IMSE™. This innovative process integrates printed electronics and standard electronic components, such as LEDs, in 3D injection molded parts. With IMSE technology, just about any thin plastic surface can become a user interface without the need to incorporate mechanical buttons or other traditional controls.

This innovative technology, also known as plastronics (plastic integrated electronics), is already being used in the automotive industry, for example, through the integration of touch controls, wireless connectivity, and lighting in vehicle interior panels, in consumer electronics to provide functional surfaces for any electronic device or in wearable products, electronic devices that are used as clothing or accessories.

Repsol is already a supplier of multiple products for the automotive sector, including fuels, lubricants, and different polymeric materials such as polypropylene, polyethylene, and polyols, which may be found in numerous interior and exterior vehicle parts. Furthermore, in line with its sustainability strategy, the company has promoted a new circular economy model to recover materials used in cars that have reached the end of their useful life. In this way, they can be recycled and incorporated back into the manufacturing process to obtain new high-performance materials within the Repsol Reciclex® range.

About Repsol
Repsol is a global multi-energy provider, which works to facilitate the transition towards an energy model with fewer emissions.. It operates low-emission power generation assets and is developing various renewable photovoltaic and wind energy projects.

Repsol manufactures and markets a wide variety of chemical products, ranging from basic petrochemicals to derivatives. Repsol’s derivative chemicals include a broad range of polyolefins, all 100% recyclable. In addition, the company has three large petrochemical facilities in Europe where high added-value differentiated products are developed.

The products from Repsol’s Chemicals Division are used to manufacture everyday objects that improve people’s quality of life, their well-being, and their safety. This new alliance reinforces Repsol's objective, announced last December, to become a zero net emissions company in 2050. The company's chemical business will also contribute decisively to a more decarbonized economy and is committed to the efficiency of its industrial chemical processes and oriented to the circular economy.

Repsol Corporate Venturing is a strategic investment fund focused on bringing solutions to our business challenges through investment in disrupting technologies and new business models. It aims to capture technological innovation, already close to its commercial deployment, that can be tested quickly to assess its potential. The fund's strategy is based on open innovation to complement the company's internal R&D capabilities and accelerate the incorporation of technology and innovative models to the business units. Our fund manages 85 million euros, and currently has a diversified global portfolio of 23 companies based in the United States, Europe and Asia.

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About TactoTek
TactoTek is the leading provider of solutions for Injection Molded Structural Electronics (IMSE) that integrate printed circuitry and electronic components into 3D injection molded plastics. Leading use cases include in-vehicle applications, home/industrial appliances, and wearable technology. TactoTek develops and industrializes IMSE technology, develops mass production ready IMSE prototypes, and licenses IMSE technology for 3rd party mass production.
TactoTek is funded by Conor Venture Partners, Voima Ventures, Nordic Option Oy, Nidoco AB, Faurecia Ventures, 3M Ventures, Cornes Technologies Limited, Repsol Energy Ventures, Plastic Omnium, Nanogate, Ascend Capital Partners, Leaguer VC, Nordea, Finnvera, ELY Center, Business Finland, various European Union’s funding programs and private angels.

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TactoTek Media Contact:
Dave Rice,