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Printed Electronics World
Posted on July 25, 2007 by  & 

Organic & Printed Electronics Forecasts, Players & Opportunities

The market for printed and potentially printed electronics, including organics, inorganics and composites, will rise from $1.18 billion in 2007 to $48.2 billion in 2017. The majority of the market in 2007 - 83% - is for electronics in the following three more conventional categories:
  • Conductive inks (for membrane keyboards, Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), flex connectors)
  • Sensors (e.g. disposable glucose sensors for those with diabetes)
  • Organic Light Emitting Diode displays (OLEDs) which are mostly on glass substrates and not printed as yet.
These three products will be rapidly overtaken in terms of market value as hundreds of companies develop, for example, OLEDs on flexible substrates which are printed, Thin Film Transistor Circuits (TFTCs), photovoltaics, and many other components.
IDTechEx finds that 31.6% of the electronics discussed are fully or partially printed in 2007. This rises substantially over the next ten years to 90.3% by 2017. The following chart shows the value by component in 2027.
Market forecasts to 2027 - a $330 billion market

Market by territory

If we look at the market size by territory, IDTechEx find that most work is taking place in Europe, the USA and Japan. In many respects Europe is in the lead. For instance, the first printed electronics factories are appearing there. However, by spend, we see that in 2007 56% of the market spend is in East Asia. This is because the biggest component - OLED display modules - are made there and bought by companies making devices, such as MP3 players. However, it disguises the fact that many of the devices are then sold to North America and Europe.
Market by Territory 2007

Industries collaborating as never before

Key elements of device production are the manufacturing technique, substrate and material deposited. Changing one of these affects the other two. As all three are in constant development, the testing and development procedures can be lengthy. It also requires different sorts of expertise, and we note that few companies are risking the expense to do it all themselves, but rather close alliances have emerged between material, chemical, printing, plastics, paper and electronics companies who are co-developing certain aspects. These industries are learning to talk to each other, as shown below.
Sectors for printed and thin film electronics
The end point for most applications is for the creation of disposable devices on low cost flexible substrates, the most difficult combination to achieve while retaining yield, lifetime and manufacturing ease, but opening up the largest markets.

Fluid Value Chain

Thanks to the many potential entry points, development needs and application opportunities, company positioning is fluid and will continue to be so. Some of the world's largest companies have little applicational focus but are committed to R&D across a wide breadth of challenges aiming to create a vast intellectual property (IP) portfolio. Others, particularly VC funded companies, are application driven with targets to bring product to market. Of course to some extent all are doing both. Whereas the industry was initially created by material development - its success over the next ten years lies more now on the ability to improve the manufacturing of devices to create high yield, reliable, low cost devices.

Commercial viability

Many commercial questions have yet to be answered which this report addresses - while people talk of almost free fully printed RFID tags, the reality is that material companies may price their materials as pharmaceuticals do in order to recoup their R&D investment, making the tag price less favorable compared to that of ultra small silicon chips, which meet existing standards and are more capable and reliable (at least initially). On the other hand, having flexible displays such as e-book readers may be a reason to premium price products, but only if the display quality is good enough.
The vast amount of IP that is being generated may also pose an issue for the industry - IDTechEx has heard of one display manufacturer not adopting OLEDs because it could not be sure that it had identified all the correct IP holders for royalties.


The report assesses the many gaps and opportunities for those involved or intending to get involved in this sector. For example, if radical improvements do not occur, both organic and inorganic printed electronics will use copious amounts of rare materials, many of which are calculated to run out within 15 years, if we consider economically viable options from crustal reserves.

Your guide to the topic

This report brings you new, unique information researched globally by IDTechEx. Twenty year forecasts are given for the full range of printed and potentially printed organic and inorganic electronics - including logic, displays, memory, power and sensors. We analyze the market in many different ways, with over 150 tables and figures.
The report includes forecasts of markets by geographical region, component, organics versus inorganic, flexible/conformal and many other parameters. Realistic timescales and the emergence of new products are given, as are impediments and opportunities for the years to come. Statistics for activity in East Asia are given. What will be the split between organic, inorganic and composite solutions by year? It is all here, with activities of over 150 companies listed.
All purchases of the report include the Encyclopedia of Printed Electronics 2007 free of charge (worth $1500). This handbook explains the technologies and terms you need to know with 380 terms defined. This report includes over 30 illustrations explaining, for example, printing technologies and device structures.
This is a must-have bible for all those involved in this sector, whether you are a material supplier, printer, device developer or user. To learn more go to - Save 30% until July 31 2007!

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Posted on: July 25, 2007

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