Excitement is building in the printed and organic electronics sector as demand grows and investors focus in on the opportunities. Ahead of Printed Electronics USA, the world's largest event on the topic which will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Nov 15-16 2017, with over 250 speakers, over 245 exhibitors and an anticipated 3,500 attendees, we look at some of the rationale behind recent investments:
Logic & Other Components
- PragmatIC (metal oxide flexible semiconductors) raised ~ €20m from investors including Avery Dennison and ARM
- Truly Semiconductor signs technology transfer and license agreement for FlexEnable OTFT technology
- Thinfilm launches new high volume manufacturing facility for smart labels
IDTechEx Research comment: Flexible logic has been some time coming, but we are now close to seeing if there is real demand for this with manufacturing in place from Thinfilm. Additionally, PragmatIC is due to open their manufacturing facility in the first half of 2018. Investments are being made for different reasons in each of the above cases but they include strategic investors currently in RFID looking beyond the current silicon chip technology to what could disrupt it; to LCD companies seeking differentiation with flexible transistor backplanes.
- Heliatek raises a further €15 million after securing €80m last year, for Organic Photovoltaics (OPV) manufacturing
- Eight19 (OPV) secures $1.7 million funding
- Enfucell (printed batteries) exceed crowd funding target with 137% funding
- QD Solar secures Series A funding (quantum dot PV)
- PV Nanocell signs LOI for $10 million acquisition of DigiFlex
IDTechEx Research comment: OPV is quietly but surely making progress, not just highlighted by the funding above for Heliatek and Eight19 but also through ongoing investment from companies such as Merck, BASF, Armor and OPVIUS. Heliatek is finding customers for its slightly differentiated offering versus silicon PV. The mega trend in renewals is now towards energy independence - no grid connection, meaning that it is not enough just to create energy at peak sun but also create energy at lower light levels and store it for use as needed, separating all dependence from the grid. OPV can work at lower light levels and being lighter weight can be cheaper to install.
- LG adds a further $7 billion to its existing OLED investment
- BOE announce potential $6.8 billion investment in flexible AMOLED fab
- Cynora raises €25 million from LG and Samsung
- Kateeva raises $88 million in Series E funding for OLED equipment
IDTechEx Research comment: With Apple now incorporating OLED displays in more of its devices, the demand for OLEDs is increasing. Consumer device companies see OLED displays as a way to differentiate on display quality and form factor with curved displays in the market place and flexible OLED displays coming.
Materials and Manufacturing
- Myant invests $100 million to advanced manufacturing supercluster
- TactoTek receives funding from Faurecia, pushing total funding over $20 million
- C3Nano closes $15 million financing
- Canatu receives €22 million funding
IDTechEx Research comment: Human Machine Interface (HMI) technologies are in high demand from consumer electronics companies looking to improve user interfaces, whether it is voice, touch, gesture, haptics or other technologies. Investments are following these technologies, such as to TactoTek (In-Mold Electronics enabling structural electronics) and Canatu ('Shaping surfaces to experiences').
Meet the key technology players and more importantly the adopters at the biggest event on the topic: Printed Electronics USA, which will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Nov 15-16 2017. It is where the industry meets to do business. See the website now for details of early bird registration discounts at www.PrintedElectronicsUSA.com .
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