The state of the printed electronics industry in terms of market size by component type is summarized in the following chart, based on research conducted by IDTechEx. Three sectors dominate with billion dollar sized business, which are OLED displays (organic, but not printed), sensors (mainly printed glucose test strips) and conductive inks (predominately used for photovoltaic bus bars and electrodes for touch screens, but there are many other applications too).
Source: IDTechEx report "Printed, Organic & Flexible Electronics Forecasts, Players & Opportunities 2016-2026"
From many different angles, the printed electronics sector is gaining commercial momentum. Large electronic manufacturing services (EMS) companies such as Jabil and Flex are investing in technology development with partners in addition to scaling up manufacturing. There have been many investments from VCs to strategic venturing by companies, involving investors such as ARM and Samsung Investment Corporation.
Most importantly, more products have come to market, from complete devices such as the temperature sensing band-aid and infant respiration vest to companies using printed electronics for part of the device, such as inkjet printed polymer layers used in barrier films on some OLED displays to over 1 billion printed RFID tag antennas.
The whole printed electronics industry will converge in one place - Printed Electronics Europe in Berlin on 27-28 April. Being Europe's largest event on the topic, the event will bring together over 170 exhibitors and over 2500 attendees. Most importantly, it focuses on the commercialization of printed electronics, with presentations from many large OEMs and brands discussing their uses and needs with the technology, and many purchasers in attendance. Book now for the early bird discount before it expires and see the entire sector in one place.