Online Exclusives

2016FLEX Europe Makes Its Debut

By David Savastano, Editor | August 31, 2016

Hybrid opportunities for silicon and flexible electronics will be among the program highlights.

The FLEX series of annual conferences, organized by FlexTech Alliance, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, have showcased the growing opportunities for flexible electronics. Now, with the new NextFlex initiative underway and the market for sensors and wearables growing rapidly, the potential for flexible and hybrid electroncs seems even greater.
With that in mind, FlexTech Alliance and SEMI saw an opportunity to bring the successful FLEX conference platform to Europe with 2016FLEX Europe, folding it into SEMICON Europa. SEMICON Europa brings in more than 5,500 attendees to see the latest in the world of microelectronics; for several years, SEMI organized a plastic electronics conference at SEMICON Europa.
2016FLEX Europe will be held Oct. 25-26 at Amphitheatre Pelvoux, Alpexpo in Grenoble, France.
Michael Ciesinski, president of FlexTech and the FLEX Conference chair, A1, said that with FlexTech Alliance joining SEMI as its first strategic partner, the conference has been re-cast as FLEX Europe 2016.
“FLEX Europe 2016 features 30+ business and technical presentations over two days focusing on the intersection of PE and thin silicon (Si) devices – or flexible hybrid electronics (FHE),” he said. “We also want to build on the excellent technical program we had at 2016FLEX in Monterey in February 2016 and bring some of those key speakers and technologies to the European audience.”
“SEMICON Europa is an ideal platform for the FLEX Europe Conference, as it’s the premier European showcase for components and ICs for such areas such as automotive electronics, medical and wellness applications, displays and imaging, and SMART manufacturing,” added Heidi Hoffman, senior director, FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner.
Hoffman noted that FLEX Europe opens on a decidedly European slant, with a representative from the European Commission describing its R&D funding programs in the area of organic and large area electronics (OLAE).
“OSRAM OLED of Germany will follow with a presentation on OLEDs for automotive applications – a very hot market for electronics,” Hoffman said. “Later on in the program, Cambridge University’s Luigi Occhipinti will provide an intriguing view of FHE technology and integration with silicon in non-traditional form factors, many in the FHE space. The presentation from Retina Implant is a great example of electronics integration, resulting in a product that addresses hereditary blindness.”
Other speakers include Applied Materials, DuPont Teijin Films, E Ink, CEA-Liten, IK4-CIDETEC, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, the Fraunhofer Institute, Universal Display Corp. KITECH, Xceleprint, Imprint Energy, 4D Technology, Coatema, and Hahn-Schickard, among others.
Ciesinski said that SEMI/FlexTech have created a unique event with the main focus on how Silicon Electronics + Flexible Systems are enabling new markets.
“With a multitude of events focused on printed and plastic electronics, SEMI/FlexTech has taken this event in a different direction, highlighting attainable products with more functionality due to integrating ICs into flex substrates, along with printed components,” said Ciesinski. “The markets covered include flexible displays, wearable electronics, novel and innovative power sources, pilot manufacturing, materials and other manufacturing considerations.” 
Hoffman noted that the market for flexible hybrid technologies is evolving rapidly.
“HEXA Reports recently stated that ‘Healthy demand for smart glasses, e-books, smartphones, smart watches and e-paper is expected to catapult market growth over the next eight years. The technology facilitates electronic systems to be stretched, rolled, and flexed, minimizing design issues associated while developing compact, portable and miniature devices,’” Hoffman said. “We agree with that assessment because FHE technologies are evolving and manufacturing challenges are being met head-on by companies and by R&D organizations such as NextFlex, the public-private partnership announced last year at this time.
“As end-users see the promise in flexibility and conformability, they are putting demands on their integrators to solve the material and integration challenges and they, in turn, are looking to the collective experience of organizations such as SEMI/FlexTech,” Hoffman added. “Additional markets are developing in structural health monitoring, the Internet of Things (IOT), and medical devices, among others. Specific applications include wearable electronics, smart packaging, smart sensor systems, and physiological monitoring devices. It is gratifying to see concepts mature from R&D to prototypes to manufacturing.”
For the complete FLEX Europe 2016 agenda and to register, visit