At the moment printed electronics is dominated by products of high performance, e.g. hybrid printed electronics with functionalities comparable to classical electronics. A lower level of sophistication but with costs enabling the integration to mass applications will represent a major part of printed electronics in the future. Packaging, magazines and newspapers are classical printed products offering highest volumes but at the same time challenging cost requirements. Besides cheapest functional printing pastes those applications would not allow additional substrates and assembly effort. Printed electronic applications will have to use the substrates which are already there - the paper and cardboard the products are made of.
Dedicated developments are required to fulfil these needs. prelonic addresses now this area by its newest development: a top-indicative electrochromic display (EC-display), which could be printed on every non-transparent substrate, fully printed and very cost efficient.
"For the same reasons prelonic always focused to processes which need no clean room, we also target technologies which need no plastic substrates. And no additional substrate means also no additional assembly - that also reduces costs" Friedrich Eibensteiner, CEO of prelonic, is commenting on the present status of the prelonic development in the EC display area.
The lab developments in printed electronics in most cases started on substrates with smooth and uniform surfaces like glass and polymer substrates. For the development of displays it was easy to use the transparent substrates as the visual window to see the display. The developed EC displays are bottom-indicative. Once based on such surfaces it is an additional development step to use substrates which are originated from natural feedstocks, like paper and cardboard. Porosity, roughness and surface energy are creating a bundle or problems. For displays additionally the opacity of such materials is challenging. There are developments for transparent paper, but it will be of higher costs than classical paper. That raises the need for top-indicative displays, like the new prelonic development.
"Printed electronics has to move closer to the production reality. Printers, publishers and packaging producers don't want clean rooms, new substrates and new processes. They like to use their common technologies to utilize printed electronics. We have to offer such developments, like a paper display" Friedrich Eibensteiner explains the current market need.
prelonic's focus to these needs could accelerate the migration of Printed Electronics to real world mass applications: Common mass printing processes on common printing substrates to realize electronic functionality and interactive applications in magazines and packaging.
Source and top image: Prelonic