An innovative company's design for zero-power electronic labels is launching into mass production.
The new technology, developed by Malvern-based ZBD Displays, will be manufactured in China in preparation for its roll-out across the UK and Europe.
The labels are made from a special liquid crystal display (LCD) that only uses electricity when the information on it is changed. Inexpensive to manufacture, its low power use also makes it cheap to run.
The technology has proved popular with retailers allowing them to instantly update price labels and signs with special offers and discounts.
Until now the company has been testing the product in Peter Jones - John Lewis' London department store - and Tesco's Leicester outlet.
However, the company is now in consultation with several UK and European groups and hopes to secure a bigger deal within the next three months.
ZBD founder Chris Jones said the company was seeing the fruits of five years development and research.
"It's a very exciting, key time for us," he said. "We have been working on this technology for five years, but its only been in the past year since we concentrated on retail that things have taken off."
ZBD Displays is a spin out company from research group Qinetiq. The LCD technology was originally designed by Mr Jones, a trained physicist, for the military.
'We believed the display could be used to produce updatable maps for soldiers," he said.
Mr Jones - who has been recognised with a number of accolades for ZBD's labels including the technology prize at Ernst & Young's 2005 Midland Entrepreneur of the Year Awards - now hopes it could suit a wide variety of situations.
He said: "Although our focus is currently on the retail industry, we believe this technology could eventually be used for electronic books, mobile phone displays, advertisements, all sorts of things!"
Ernst & Young is currently calling on the region's entrepreneurs to enter the 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
The best at a regional level go on to compete at the national awards with the overall UK winner taking on finalists from another 34 countries in an international contest.
Ronnie Bowker, Ernst & Young's senior partner in Birmingham said: "The awards are a great way of giving entrepreneurs the recognition and profile they deserve and I hope others follow previous Midlands winners."
The deadline for entries is March 24. ..SUPL: