Attendance at the annual IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA 2008 event in San Jose, CA, reached almost 700 people from 22 countries.
Most attendees were from North America, followed by Korea and then Japan.
There were 55 exhibitors - making this event the largest in the World on the topic, and it was substantially bigger than previous years - up 30% compared to 2007. In particular, there were a diverse range of representatives from major consumer brands, advertising companies, toy/leisure companies and consumer electronics companies.
The new era of printed electronics products
Printed electronics products were the theme for the eight keynote speakers. Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, started by giving an industry update. He noted the three main ways that printed electronics is being commercialized - products that compete primarily on cost, such as those printing RFID tags; products that use the unique attributes of printed electronics to create new propositions and allow for premium pricing, such as flexibility, transparency, thinness (examples being e-readers and skin patches); and those using printed electronics in conventional electronics manufacture, such as Sharp inkjet printing LCD color filters based on technology from Epson.
Source: IDTechEx www.IDTechEx.com
Das revealed new IDTechEx forecasts for 2009 - a $1.95 Billion market in 2009, but only 28.7% of that is predominately printed. The largest sectors by value are OLED and thin film photovoltaics beyond conventional silicon. Das commented that the market size for printed/organic transistors commercially is zero in 2008 (some companies have some revenue however for samples, prototypes and licensing), but in 2009 the first commercial product appears using printed/organic transistors.
Source: IDTechEx www.IDTechEx.com
Transistor products in 2009
Plastic Logic gave a live preview of their e-reader device. The company opened a manufacturing plant in Dresden, Germany, in September 2008 and announced that they will release the product in the marketplace in Spring 2009.
Ami Mashkoori, CEO of Kovio, presented and demonstrated their fully printed RFID tag. The technology is based on silicon-ink which has a high mobility (~100cm2/v.s) and is low power (CMOS). The tag demonstrated had 128 bits of memory and worked at HF (13.56MHz). Based on ISO 14443 standards, it features integrated synchronous analog, logic, anti-collision, and read-only memory blocks. The product is currently being sampled by lead customers with volume production due to start in Q2 2009.
Nokia covered its vision of the future or mobile communication - flexible, lightweight, multi-use devices. The speaker covered progress from Nokia Research including working with carbon nanotubes for transparent electronics. Mr Utaka, the Managing Director of the $2 Billion speciality paper company Toppan Forms, demonstrated audio paper, incorporating printed batteries and interconnects and thin film speakers, along with interactive maps. Stora Enso, a €8 Billion paper and board company, previewed their smart blister packs and interactive menus.
Invisibility cloaks with meta materials
Dr Mike Wiltshire, of Imperial College, London, gave a talk covering "Metamaterials - for Super-Lenses and Invisibility Cloaks from DC to Optics." Metamaterials are artificial materials that can be designed to have electromagnetic properties (permittivity and permeability) that were previously unobtainable. They can manipulate electromagnetic waves to provide novel functions such as sub-wavelength focussing and invisibility cloaks. Their potential application areas range from DC to optical frequencies, and provide challenges of optimization and fabrication. Dr Wiltshire described that to make materials invisible in the optical spectrum, a printing feature size of 5 nanometers is required. This is possible using dip-pen nanolithography, but that is too slow for large area printing so alternatives are needed.
Outlook for organic photovoltaics (OPV)
Konarka presented its new OPV manufacturing line, based on a flexographic printer. Konarka has a range of solar cell products now available in different sizes. One end product is a handbag with an integrated solar panel used to recharge cellphones and other small electronic devices. Konarka and others working on OPV expect that 7% efficiency and 5 year cell lifetime is possible within a few years. One key issue cited by OPV developers and OLED display developers is the need for low cost, flexible, transparent barrier materials.
Analyst firm Lux Research was less optimistic about the market growth for OPV devices in the short term, citing a market size of $2.42 Million in 2008 for OPV and DSSC type solar cells rising to $18.4 Million in 2013 (of a solar market worth approximately $100 Billion that year).
Electronic display on Esquire magazine
Structural Graphics covered their experience putting together the E ink display into the cover of Esquire Magazine this year. The magazine received extensive media coverage - including on news channels, and had the most sold ad pages of any Esquire issue in the last 11 years.
In 2009 IDTechEx will continue to put together the largest events on printed electronics in three continents. In particular, our efforts focus on linking the printed electronics industry to end users and product design.
If you missed the event, you can purchase the proceedings from www.IDTechEx.com/peUSA.
The dates of the events next year are as follows:
• Printed Electronics Europe, Dresden, Germany. April 7-8, 2009 www.IDTechEx.com/peEUROPE
• Printed Electronics Asia, Tokyo, Japan. Sept 30-Oct 1, 2009
• Printed Electronics USA, San Jose, CA, USA. Dec 2-3, 2009
To get involved please contact Chris Clare at c.clare@IDTechEx.com for details.