After just the first day of the IDTechEx event Printed Electronics USA 2005, on this week in Naples, Florida, an avalanche of printed or partly-printed products has been announced by presenters.
This IDTechEx conference attracted more delegates than last year - approaching 200 - and the breadth of materials and technologies, devices and applications on offer reflected the breakneck speed at which the subject is progressing. That said, most of the delegates and exhibitors were from the beginning of the value chain, developing and offering materials, machinery and other enabling technology. There are many challenges, opportunities and breakthroughs in this area.
All attendees received a conference badge with chipless, fully printed RFID tag on paper that can be read without movement. This development was co-funded by IDTechEx. Fully printed paper battery of very low cost. Flickering printed paper store displays. Pixillated displays on paper. High resolution dry phase electronic patterning.
ACREO was only one of the large number of speakers from Finland and Sweden reflecting the remarkable advances being made in Scandinavia - definitely a region to watch. For example VTT in Finland is progressing reel to reel production of OLED displays. Thin Film Electronics of Sweden described how it can print memory on plastic film. It has now demonstrated kilobit level memory.
iPod pillow, radio shower curtain. High speed printed paper and fabric heating elements, electronically active lottery tickets, printed cooling systems. Printed detection of moisture, pressure and other parameter at ultra-low cost.
Concepts of error-preventing disposable packaging for medicine. Multipurpose, interactive electronic packaging that can be reconfigured for a different use.
Thin Film Electronics
Organic printed memory of kilobits working at up to 80oC on flexible film.
Screen printable, low temperature cured conductive ink with no precious metal. Copper is used.
There was something near to consensus between speakers that the printed electronics market will be much bigger than silicon chips - hundreds of billions of dollars yearly - but only in ten to twenty years from now. Many felt that applications in consumer goods and healthcare will be particularly important and many products will involve both inorganic and organic printed elements. Although all felt that organic printed electronics will be many times greater by value than inorganic, the inorganic opportunities are still immense and wild cards such as inorganic semiconductors should not be ignored.
Man Roland reported that 40 billion barcodes are printed daily in the world. If that means working days then the annual figure is around 10 trillion, all potentially replaceable with printed RFID.
NanoIdent saw its market potential in 2010 for printed organic sensors as Life Science $5 billion, Security $3 billion, Industry $2 billion. It quoted Motorola figures for organic semiconductors in 2014 as Digital Paper and Signage $1.3 billion, Inventory Control $4.2 billion, Displays $24 billion, Novelty and Marketing $80 billion. In other words, don't ignore the frivolous and the simple to do.
For the full conference review read the December 2005 issue of Smart Labels Analyst.
Mark your calendars now for Printed Electronics