The interest is increasingly high in adding electronics to everyday items including the wearables space, smart packaging and smart labels,” said Roy Bjorlin, commercial and strategic initiatives director, printed electronics at Sun Chemical, in an end-of-year interview with the editor of Printed Electronics Now.
“This is creating demand to develop materials that can require flexibility and can also be processed in high speed.” Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, which offers consultancy in the field, says that commercialization is indeed on the rise. “What’s been really exciting is that a lot of things are coming to commercialization,” Das added. “We’ve seen a lot of simpler things that offer benefits.” One area of interest in particular is the OLED market. “This year was a tipping point as we reached the mass market,” said Dr. Arne Fleißner, senior engineer, OSRAM OLED GmbH.
Thin Film Electronics has announced plans to lease a new manufacturing facility in Silicon Valley, which will be home to Thinfilm’s new high-volume roll-to-roll manufacturing line. The new line will increase Thinfilm’s production capacity to five billion NFC OpenSense and NFC SpeedTap tags per year – which the company says will generate $680 million in annual revenue.
One major key to success is the development of hybrid electronics. Initial projections for flexible and printed electronics sales were set at unrealistic levels, and printed electronics faced a serious challenge when it tried to replace existing silicon technology, it is now believed. The emergence of hybrid electronics, combining the best of organic- and silicon-based materials, is leading to new opportunities, and even to stretchable electronics.