It is by remaining on the surface that e2ip will penetrate deeply into the global automotive universe.

Specializing in intelligent structural surfaces (the explanation will follow), the Quebec company is joining forces with two Spanish companies, Antolin, from Burgos, and Walter Pack, from Bilbao, to create the In-Mold Electronics (IME) alliance, dedicated to the progression of electronics in the mold. And in the world.

“Antolin is one of the largest manufacturers of automotive components: 30,000 employees and 130 factories,” argues the president and CEO of e2ip, Eric Saint-Jacques.

The Spanish giant manufactures and supplies major automobile manufacturers with the interior surfaces of their vehicles: door panels, dashboard, ceiling, etc.

“The agreement announces that Antolin has chosen our new technologies to integrate them into its automotive components,” explains the CEO.

The third partner, Walter Pack, is a division of Antolin that specializes in molding parts. “With Walter Pack, we will manufacture the components sold by Antolin for the automobile industry. »

In short, e2ip will become for the automotive sector what it already is in the medical, aeronautical and industrial sectors: direct supplier for the largest equipment manufacturers.

“This is a milestone of the greatest importance in our history,” notes Eric Saint-Jacques. This is the beginning of our company’s transition into a global leader in overmolded printable electronics products and technologies. »

Here are the promised explanations: e2ip has developed and patented technologies that make it possible to integrate a film of electronic circuits into the surface of objects when they are molded.

We can thus transform traditional control panels into intelligent, curved surfaces, perfectly integrated into the product and with a low ecological footprint. As well as having a small footprint: just touch them to activate and control them.

e2ip doesn’t just develop new technologies: it makes them. The company employs 275 people in its two plants in Montreal and another 125 in its plant in Casablanca, Morocco.

It has its origins in the workshop founded in 1894 by the Graham family. “We are the oldest Quebec SME,” says Eric Saint-Jacques. There are still members of the Graham family working within e2ip. »

The company gradually moved from screen printing to in-mold printing and printable electronics. She has been interested in the person-machine interface for over 30 years. Bringing together six technology companies, e2ip was created in 2019.

“We are like Antolin for aeronautics, medical, industrial and transport,” describes its president.

“Everything you touch inside a passenger aircraft today, e2ip makes it. The buttons to turn on the lights, call the flight attendants, charge your phone, that’s us. The button to flush the toilet is us. »

“Not being present in the automotive industry, it is this partnership with Antolin that will allow our technologies to exist in the automotive sector. »

By integrating electronic functions into the material of the vehicle’s interior panels, Antolin eliminates electronic mechanical components that must be manufactured and assembled independently, which “requires material and energy.”

Thus, the interior door panel will function as a smart, touchscreen and backlit cell phone.

It took two years of negotiations to conclude the agreement. “These are not small decisions for these companies,” emphasizes Eric Saint-Jacques.

Especially since e2ip was not the only one in the running.

“There is another company based in Finland that also has patents that use different methods. And Antolin chose our technology. »

What advantages does it have?

“It’s much easier to integrate and much less expensive,” he replies.

“It’s incredible how well Quebec companies are received by international partners. Our cultural diversity, our roots in a European culture combined with our daily experience in an American market make us quite unique partners, continues Mr. Saint-Jacques. What strikes me is the warmth, trust and openness what these companies that are so much bigger have towards us. »

By setting foot in the automotive industry, e2ip is also putting it on the accelerator.

With a slight delay, however: “It will probably take a year to a year and a half to integrate these technologies into the huge supply chains of Mercedes, Toyota and these large companies,” predicts Eric Saint-Jacques.

He expects his company to double its turnover in the next three financial years. Smart structural surface technologies will contribute 25% of this.

“But in the next 10 years, these technologies are probably going to account for 75% of the growth. »

Tofu pairs very well with all kinds of ingredients, including technology. Tofu manufacturer SoyXpert has obtained a repayable contribution of $400,000 from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions to help it increase its productivity by automating its activities. The announcement was made on December 20, but the dish had already been served: SoyXpert had earlier this year acquired new equipment, including a highly automated production line, installed in its new factory on Burlington Street in Sherbrooke. This acceleration allows it to better meet demand in Quebec and to develop its market elsewhere in Canada and the United States. Under the Soykei brand, SoyXpert produces certified organic tofu “by leveraging traditional Japanese manufacturing technique,” ​​its website states. A tradition with an electronic flavor.

Specializing in the extraction of scrap metals, their factory has already extracted over $6 million in government financial support. Quebec has granted a loan of 3.35 million to the companies Enim Technologies and Enim Technologies Holdings to support the establishment of a pilot plant for extracting metals from the printed circuits of obsolete electronic equipment. The printed circuits thus pass into the closed circuit of a circular economy. Valued at more than $13 million, the project is supported by four partners: Seneca expert-consultants, Dundee sustainable technologies, the Center d’études des processes nationaux du Québec and Lithion Technologies. With a processing capacity of 200 tonnes of printed circuits per year, the factory will be located in the Dundee sustainable technologies facilities in Thetford Mines. It will be the first to use the low-carbon hydrometallurgical extraction process developed by Enim. It recovers more than 95% of critical minerals contained in printed circuit boards without toxic emissions, the company says. To support this implementation, in July it had already received financial assistance of $3 million granted through the Technoclimat program of the Quebec Ministry of the Environment.

It makes parking easier. Here is the title of the release: “LeddarTech Launches LeddarVision “Parking”, a Fusion and Perception Software Solution for ADAS Automated Parking and Superior Level 2/2 Parking Assistance Applications.” And here is a translation: the Quebec company LeddarTech is launching an improved version of its software, which combines and manages the data provided by the different types of sensors on cars in order to support driver assistance applications for parking. Or almost. Relying on artificial intelligence rather than that of the driver, LeddarVision “Parking”, or LVP-H, detects valid parking spaces with a probability greater than 95%, while minimizing false alerts, even in environments complex. There should be a free place on the market. LeddarTech worked for more than a year with a major customer to develop it, said Frantz Saintellemy, CEO (of the company, not the vehicle). Founded in 2007 and located in Quebec, LeddarTech also has research and development centers in Montreal, Toronto and Tel Aviv. The company entered the NASDAQ on December 22.

In Quebec, 41% of SMEs have started an automation process within their business, reveals a new study from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Quebec SMEs hold a lead of 4 percentage points over the Canadian average of 37%.