Hosted by IDTechEx
Printed Electronics World
Posted on February 13, 2006 by  & 

Impressions from Printed Electronics USA 05 3/3

Too few working on mega memory

Thin Film Electronics of Sweden described how it can print memory on plastic film. It has now demonstrated kilobit level memory but seeks to license not produce and the gigabyte on a postage stamp, with its immense commercial potential, is still elusive. There are many alternatives for small printed memories but very few companies are working on mega-memory which is at a much greater level of difficulty and potential.

Moving along the value chain – pull through

People are beginning to move further along the value chain, doing "pull through" marketing but this trend has barely begun. Another example was Thin Battery Technology developing circuits on their laminar batteries such as those necessary to create time temperature recording RFID labels.
Steve Quindlen described how the Aveso laminates have conductors that are only partly printed and are sheet fed today. He promised that reel to reel will be available soon including fully printed conductors and active display surface. There is an obvious route to entirely printed logic and so on as well. All very elegant. He is particularly interested in the enormous card industry, sometimes with keyboards for security and he showed a card with electrochromic display and two buttons. Aveso is unlikely to make cards - it will sell laminate of display with driver and interface to the card manufacturers. Labels are the second priority. Here the applications will be much simpler and cheaper such as activating hologram logos and indicating when an RFID label is in the field. The bottom line is that even a reflective display that is unlikely ever to be offered in active matrix form can still be sold in billions yearly. Other display technologies can not compete in Aveso's space. Focus has to be on providing adequate reliability and performance. Adequate not overdesigned and overpriced - a repeated theme of the conference. First of these types of application will be announced next year (though it did appear on 15,000 Valentine cards three years ago).

Market size

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.
Learn more at the second annual Printed Electronics Europe 2006 Conference, Cambridge, UK April 20-21 and the IDTechEx report "Printed Electronics: Where, Why and What Next" External Link.

Authored By:


Posted on: February 13, 2006

More IDTechEx Journals