Emphasis on End-Users is Focus of PE USA 2012

There have been plenty of signs that printed electronics (PE) is finding its niche, as new applications appear and major corporations look for opportunities to implement PE systems into their products.

One way to judge this progress is by looking at trends at industry trade shows. By looking at the speakers for opening sessions as well as attendance and exhibition patterns, it is possible judge how the industry is faring.

Each year, the Printed Electronics USA conference, held by IDTechEx, has enjoyed growth in terms of attendees and exhibitors. Raghu Das, IDTechEx’s CEO, expects that Printed Electronics USA2012, this year’s conference, which will be held Dec. 5-6 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will continue to show growth, particularly in end users coming to the conference. To ensure this, Das said that IDTechEx has put together a strong lineup of end users who will present their ideas on the possibilities of printed electronics.

Among the companies speaking at the conference are Walt Disney Corporation, which will be represented by Dr. Ivan Poupyrev. Dr. Poupyrev, senior research scientist, will discuss “The World that Feels and Responds: Toward The Next Generation of Physical Computing.” Steven Williams, pack and dispense innovation manager for Diageo, a major premium drinks business, will analyze “Harnessing E-Technologies to Step Change How Consumers Interact with Premium Drinks Brands.”

“We’ve really pushed targeting the event to users and have many great companies presenting their needs and experiences with printed electronics, such as Disney, Diageo, UTRC, Colgate Palmolive, etc.,” Das said. “Many are talking for the first time. We are also having an End Users Forum, where attendees can ask their specific questions about adoption of PE. These are some of the largest companies in the world, and are open to exposing their needs and addressing the industry.”

The End Users Forum includes Das and speakers from Proctor & Gamble, MWV Packaging and Colgate-Palmolive.

To help end users visualize the PE process, Printed Electronics USA 2012 is adding “Manufacturing Street,” where attendees will make their own products and the items will then be printed.

“We are running as usual our unique pavilion in the exhibition area ‘Demonstration Street’ – the world’s largest collection of PE products,” Das said. “New this year is ‘Manufacturing Street,’ which features companies throughout the supply chain that will be printing, curing, etc. on the event floor. There will be interactive presentations on the exhibit floor as attendees are shown equipment being set up, aligned, printed, post print treatments and more, with a range of inorganic and organic materials being used. These sessions will be conducted throughout the event in small groups, so attendees can see the equipment up close.

“A consortium of exhibitors have come together to make a very unique sample,” Das added. “Attendees will be involved in building this sample themselves by visiting different booths. University students are on hand to help attendees build their very own fully working sample.”

Das said that this year’s show is on track for sizable growth.

“We have seen the biggest rate of growth this year than in previous years so far (which have always grown), and expect the event to be considerably bigger,” Das noted. “We are on track for 120 exhibiting companies, many of whom are also taking larger booths. We have recently had to increase the size of the exhibition floorplan.”

As an added bonus, IDTechEx co-located its Graphene LINE program during the PE USA 2012 conference.

“Graphene LIVE is a conference running in parallel to the main PE conference, and attendees at the PE event can treat it just like any other conference track, with full access to it,” Das said. “There is huge interest and innovation in graphene, but we want the event to take a pragmatic approach to all this by covering the application sectors, and then the technology challenges and how they are being tackled.”

Ultimately, Das said that the goal of Printed Electronics USA 2012

“We pioneered this and will continue to lead the way, with our largest yet ‘Demonstration Street,’ and free world-first samples for conference attendees,” Das said.

“Our focus is on the commercialization aspect of PE, and so at the core of our thinking is to address the needs of potential adopters of the technology,” Das added. “We feel that they need to see real working products, not just components and powerpoints, which is what we are aiming to achieve.”