The printed electronics market is expected to have a 58 percent CAGR growth between 2010 and 2016. To realize that kind of growth, says Yole Développement, in its report “Printed Electronics: Hype vs. Reality,” the industry needs to be able to deliver prototypes that can be manufactured, also...
To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with MyPRINTResource. Already have an account? Login
Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.
Complete the registration form.
The printed electronics market is expected to have a 58 percent CAGR growth between 2010 and 2016. To realize that kind of growth, says Yole Développement, in its report “Printed Electronics: Hype vs. Reality,” the industry needs to be able to deliver prototypes that can be manufactured, also with killer applications.
That being said, the report estimates there are more than 1,000 companies worldwide involved in some form of development of technology enabling printed electronics: inks and chemicals, substrates, printing techniques, and thin-film transistors (TFT) and other device structures.
The big issue for the burgeoning industry is market fragmentation, with the various companies each working furiously in their particular area of expertise. Yole Développement notes that for printed electronics to show some real commercial value, there has to a coalescing around just a couple of the current crop of technology available.
It’s widely agreed by those in the technology know that printed RFID holds great promise, replacing costly and environmentally unfriendly silicon chips with electronic and photonic devices printed with conventional inkjet printing techniques and conductive inks, insulation and semi-conductors.
According to IDTechEx, “fully printed RFID can be one tenth or less of the cost of the conventional silicon chip based tag”. IDTech expects in the near future RFID will replace a lot of traditional labels. Instead, RFID tags will be printed directly on things like barcodes, delivering a potential of “100 billion to one trillion yearly in consumer packaged goods, healthcare, postal and other applications.”
The applications themselves are nearly limitless: Electronic greeting cards with flashing fireworks, animated brand protection, smart packaging integrated with useful functionality, such as alerting consumers when their milk is going to expire.
Already interesting applications are in play: DuPont Innovalight that is printed nanosilicon on conventional solar panels, increasing efficiency; flexible and roll-up keyboards; the tester on the Duracell battery; flexible solar-powered posters that emit light and have animated effects and sound interaction.
More to Come
Expect more RFID in all sectors, says Dr. Peter Harrop, Chairman of IDTechEx and co-author of RFID Forecasts, Players & Opportunities 2012-2022. “One of the biggest reasons is that most mobile phones are starting to have NFC (near-field communications), which can act as a RFID active or passive tag or reader,” he says. “The most popular use of this is to replace the financial and travel cards you use.”
Wolfgang Mildner. Managing Director, PolyIC GmbH & Co. KG sees two main directions for RFID applications. “One area is the use in supply chain automation and logistics (with requests for long read range and handling of many products at once), which is very much driven by reducing logistic costs,” he says. “The main driver for RDIF in this application is cost reduction.”
The other area Mildner sees as having major growth potential is in value-add applications. “RFID can and will enable very different and interesting applications, from brand authentication, intelligent and interactive packaging to even payment in the future,” he says.
Headquartered in Furth, Germany, PolyIC is developing applications for printed electronic products and components, including RFID, based on its roll-to-roll technology, which delivers transparent, high-resolution and conductive foil straight from the roll. The company is a member of the Kurz Group; Kurz is a supplier of foil stamping technology.
“PolyIC focuses its our work on the second area of application, product concepts like our PolyLogo powered by RFID demonstrate first possibilities for RFID in intelligent and smart packaging and enable user interaction,” says Mildner. “This is a new dimension for intelligence based on electronics on the packaging level.”