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Printed Electronics World
Posted on April 8, 2015 by  &  with 1 Comment

Why does co-locating our graphene event make sense?

My name is Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh, the Head of Consulting at IDTechEx. I have been analysing the technologies and markets for graphene and other nanomaterials over the past three and a half years. My research has taken me to many places around the world including Japan, China, Korea, Spain, UK, USA, Netherlands, Germany, etc.
 
In the process, I have had the pleasure interacting with many researchers, suppliers and end users globally, and getting to know many of them personally. I have helped many large and small companies develop their business strategy in this field.
 
I have authored the IDTechEx market research report on the topic and been very engaged with our event team in designing and setting up our global conference and exhibition series. I therefore know this industry and its community extremely well.
 
We are in the 6th series of our Graphene and 2D Materials conference which will take place in Berlin between 28 and 29 of April 2015. At IDTechEx, we have decided to take a markedly different approach to other graphene-only conferences: we co-locate it with our synergetic events and focus only on commercialization.
 
The graphene technology and industry is too nascent to stand on its own legs as a stand-alone conference unless the focus is purely academic. The industry is at a stage where it needs to aggressively build up its application pipeline.
 
 
We feel that the graphene industry will benefit little from meeting other graphene companies, equipment suppliers or academics, unless there is no ambition to diversify beyond small volume supply to the research community which has so far been the largest sales driver. We feel that the industry must connect with end user businesses.
 
The graphene industry is also showing signs that it will consolidate soon. The number of companies has mushroomed and keeps on rising, yet revenues and real applications have not yet materialize in any substantial way. The industry, on the whole, still remains in the red. The commercialisation strategy is still largely shaped by substituting an incumbent on the basis that I am potentially a little bit better or a little bit cheaper than the material or the guy next door. This path will, sooner or later, lead to commoditization.
 
The search for the killer application has yet to yield any result. At the same time, many companies are increasingly losing their meaningful differentiation and the rapid proliferation of new firms risks turning many into just another me-too. The industry now suffers from a large over-capacity. This, together, with the rise of Chinese firms signals the overhaul of competitive landscape in the near future.
 
We have designed our conferences with the needs of the industry in mind. We feel that converting graphene into dispersions, inks or pastes is easier that dispersing them into a polymers. Consequently, we feel that printed electronics, supercapacitors or battery electrodes and other coatings are likely to be the lowest hanging fruits. This is why we typically co-locate our graphene events with our leading printed electronics, supercapacitors, wearable technologies and 3D printing events.
 
 
Our printed electronics event (Printed Electronics Europe 2015)is the leading and the most established event and brand in the world. All the major users from all application sectors that make up the greater printed electronics area are present. All the suppliers and innovators also gather at our conference at least twice a year. Note that we define printed electronics very broadly, covering all electronic technologies, old and new, that are or can potentially be printed. This, therefore means, that we cover sensors, displays, interconnects, photovoltaics, logic and memory, transparent conductive films, OLEDs etc. Graphene can be relevant to all these sub-sectors in multiple ways.
 
You can see the details of our upcoming Berlin event here and also the details of our previous USA event here. We are confident that there exists no other place in which you can connect with so many end users, suppliers and innovators.
 
The fit with our supercapacitor event is also strong. This is because the activated carbon electrode can be coated and graphene can deliver value here thanks to its high surface-to-volume ratio. We are now expanding our supercapacitor event to cover aspects of electric vehicles. Again this is relevant because the car industry is one of the early high-volume adopters of carbon nanotubes in the form of conductive plastic fuel lines and conductive body parts.
 
 
More importantly, we are expanding the scope to cover what we term post lithium ion energy storage devices. These are energy storage devices that are at an earlier stage of commercialisation. They have high potential but also large technology challenges. They are problem children. The good news for the graphene and also carbon nanotube industries is that they can help solve these challenges at an early stage so they can become an integral part of the value chain when markets grow and mature.
 
Our Wearable Technology event also represents a good fit. Here, the focus will not be on components-in-a-box approach in which old school rigid electronics are re-wrapped in a new box for use on, say, the wrist. Instead, the emphasis will be on completely new form factors or on textile electronics. Here too graphene may have a role to play as flexible, washable interconnects, wearable sensors, etc.
 
You may think that the link between our 3D printing and graphene events is a far-fetched, but that is not the case. The functionality of many 3D printing materials is limited, either in terms of electronic conductivity, mechanical strength and impermeability. Graphene has the chance to act as additive to improve or create new material functionalities for the 3D printing industry. This is, of course, at a very early stage as basic prototypes have only just begun to trickle in.
 
 
All IDTechExOur events are all focused on commercialisation. You will hear the lastest progress with companies and learn about the needs of end users and adopters. You will also network with the business community as our attendee list is predominantly composed of CEOs, CTOs, Business Development Manager, Marketing Manager, etc. Email me directly if you wish to learn more about our typical attendees at khasha@IDTechEx.com.
 
In general, we feel that the synergy between these topics is strong and it is our hope that co-location will result in new products ideas, business relations, and newo partnerships that would never form if our events were stand-alone, singular and isolated. This is critical because graphene needs to build multiple success stories in niche areas. This requires cross-discipline collaboration and creative thinking. Learn more at http://www.idtechex.com/graphene-live-europe/conference.asp
 
 
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