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Printed Electronics World
Posted on March 12, 2008 by  & 

Printed electronics focuses in Dresden

The vibrant new printed electronics industry is being created as energetically in Germany as anywhere else in the world. After all, it is Germany that makes the world's printing machines and it is Germany that subsidises the manufacture of photovoltaics - solar cells - to such an extent that it is by far the world's largest user of them, having installed roughly as much as the rest of the world combined. A huge number of German technical universities, Fraunhofer Institutes and other research centres are backing these programs and so is German industry from Robert Bosch to Siemens and BASF, the world's largest chemical company.

Dresden the magnet

Nowhere is this more evident than in Dresden and that is why the world's largest conference on the subject, Printed Electronics Europe is located there this year on April 8-9. Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman of organiser IDTechEx says, "We pride ourselves on clustering around our conferences a number of visits and co-located events so delegates have a very inspiring and thorough exposure to the subject. In Dresden that has been easy. We have optional visits to the Technical University of Dresden, The Technical University of Chemnitz, Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems, Heliatek, leader in organic photovoltaics, MicroEmissive Displays selling Organic Light Emitting Diode OLED products and Novaled, a leader in technology for OLEDs. Plastic Logic, which has started building a $100 million factory in Dresden to make flexible electrophoretic displays (think Sony e-reader™ as a sheet of paper) will give a presentation."

Printed sensors

Europe is ahead of the rest of the world in printed sensors. The co-located event this year is the Workshop on "Plastic Chemical Sensors" given by the General Olfaction and Sensing Projects at European Level GOSPEL program backed by the European Commission.
A raft of other German companies are supporting the event including HC Starck and Merck Chemicals (advanced organic materials), Menippos (printed game cards), PolyIC (printed novelties, anti-counterfeiting and RFID), Printed Systems GmbH (printed electronics manufacturing), MAN Roland (printing machines), Schreiner Group (printed inorganic lighting and tickets) and the University of Augsberg (materials research). However, this is very much an international event, with presentations from Sony, Chisso, FujiFilm Dimatix and Seiko Epson of Japan, Samsung of Korea and everything from startups to giant corporations in Finland, Sweden, Austria, the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the USA, Israel and elsewhere.

Commercialisation is now

One theme that will emerge from these presentations and the substantial exhibition will be that commercialisation is now. It is a myth that printed electronics is all about distant dreams, just as it is a myth that it is all about organic materials, important as those materials are. Printed batteries are in use for a huge variety of purposes from medical disposables to temperature recorders and talking gift cards. Inorganic photovoltaics based on titanium nanoparticles are being industrially printed reel to reel in the UK right now and a factory is being built in Berlin by presenters Nanosolar that will also print photovoltaics reel to reel on low cost film, in this case with a different inorganic formulation. Over one million game cards and over 300 million tags have been sold with printed and part printed RFID.

New magic

Paradoxically, even as printed electronics products start selling in large numbers, the proponents are discovering that this "new electronics" is capable of doing many new things way beyond what the silicon chip can achieve. One example is the biocompatible contact lens that enhances vision. Bionic man and woman are on the way. The potential is huge in healthcare alone. Yet NASA is interested in printed electronics because it is more fault tolerant and others seek smart clothing or Invisible (transparent) electronics. The list of "magic" is extending every day.
Some of the new capabilities of printed electronics:
Source IDTechEx
Event manager Chris Clare of IDTechEx says, "Bookings are beyond our wildest dreams. There is huge interest in getting the full picture, not just the organic part, and a strong emphasis on product rather than theory. This event is exceeding the 50 exhibitors and 570 delegates of our recent Printed Electronics USA event in San Francisco. We shall repeat our printed electronics events in Japan and the USA this year - all now annual conferences with exhibitions, masterclasses, visits and an investment summit for venture capitalists and those seeking funds."
For full details on the event see Printed Electronics Europe.

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Posted on: March 12, 2008

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