The Printed Electronics and Print Automation theme parks will be special highlights at the drupa innovation park 2012 presented by digi:media (dip) in hall 7.0. Printed electronics technology is all set to revolutionize production in many industries in the foreseeable future. Numerous printed electronics companies will present their latest exciting innovations at the dip, together with the OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association). drupa 2012, print media trade fair, will take place from May 3 - 16, 2012 at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany.
An interactive business card incorporating a flexible display, “talking” packaging or a board game with a printed battery and flashing OLEDs – printed electronics open up a broad spectrum of possibilities and fields of application. So many, in fact, that the Organic and Printed Electronics Association (OE-A), a working group within the VDMA (German Engineering Federation) was founded a few years ago as an interface for communication and development for the various fields of research worldwide. It represents the entire value-added chain of organic electronics, including materials manufacturers, plant engineers, producers and users – and now has more than 120 members worldwide. The goal of the OE-A is to provide orientation in the large variety of technical developments and help define possible fields of application.
The logistics industry in particular benefits greatly from the use of RFID chips, which store and pass on information via contactless reading devices to a central system, thereby helping to monitor the commodity chain and prevent product piracy. The enormous potential offered by printed electronics will become especially evident when their use becomes economically viable and practical, not just on the outer packaging but also on the individual products themselves – due to their ability to reduce costs and simplify integration. In the field of medicine, billions of these printed sensors are already being used. Electronic books with organic electronic controls that will make flexible displays possible in the future are another fast-growing field of application. In the medium and long term, strong demand is also predicted for intelligent packaging that combines features such as sensors, battery, display, logic and RFID technology.
The printing industry will be able to apply all of the above-mentioned functions in the future. Particularly due to their additional usefulness these features are becoming increasingly attractive for customers and readers alike. Using nanotechnology, even wafer-thin displays, for example, can be printed on tickets, greeting cards and packaging as well as in magazines and catalogues. Publishers are already experimenting with integrated displays and other additional functions for their print products. “This is a quantum leap for customers wishing to advertise and has a realistically high level of potential for the printing industry. For this reason it was important for us to integrate this topic in the drupa innovation park. These technologies enable new fields of business to be developed on an entirely new market,” explained Manuel Mataré, Director of drupa 2012.