A roll-up loudspeaker printed on foil and a foldable keyboard printed on paper. An interactive yoga-mat that supports exercise and an illuminated, electroluminescent scaffolding wrap. The OE-A Demonstrator Competition proves that printed electronics enables many applications.
At LOPEC, several prototypes and products in which the technology is used will be shown. Nineteen projects related to the demonstrator competition are being displayed at the OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association) booth. International companies, research institutions and universities are competing by presenting their ideas, products, prototypes and designs related to printed electronics.
“We want to show what is possible with the technology and to promote the development of further products,” said Dr. Klaus Hecker, managing director of the OE-A. The working group within VDMA organizes LOPEC jointly with Messe Munich.
For example, Arjowiggins Creative Papers (France) has developed packaging that includes wafer-thin printed paper circuits that are integrated into the packaging. When the packaging is approached with an NFC enabled smartphone, the customer can get extensive information about the product on display. Another package is equipped with LEDs that blink when it is on the shelf. This attracts attention at the point of sale.
Smart labels from Quad Industries (Belgium) and the ChangZhou Institute of Printed Electronics (China) are also interesting for the packaging sector. The labels, which are the size of a credit card, can be stuck on packaging. During transport, they monitor whether the cold chain for temperature-sensitive products has been interrupted. This might include medications or perishable foods. The data is read by using NFC on one, and RFID technology on the other label. The antennas are printed. A printed battery supplies the silicon-based chip with power. It also saves the temperature curve. The combination of printed and classical electronics makes these labels a hybrid system, a future trend in the field of printed electronics.
Now in its fifth year, the OE-A Demonstrator Competition will be showing examples from several industries: packaging, lighting, functional surfaces as well as security and identification.
“An international jury consisting of experts from industry and research will evaluate all projects in the four categories according to a clearly defined point system. But we also want the attendees to speak,” said Hecker. Therefore, a public choice award will be new this year at LOPEC. Visitors can vote for their favorite among the projects submitted. Prizes will be awarded to the winners of the five categories during the LOPEC dinner on March 4, 2015.
During LOPEC, the OE-A will present the new roadmap. More than 250 experts have contributed to the sixth edition. It describes the progress organic and printed electronics has made in recent years and ventures a look into the future. OE-A experts have analyzed all previously existing applications and technologies and, based on that, formulated the latest trends in the industry. They also found out what the biggest challenges are. The Roadmap Summary Article is available at the OE-A booth. There will also be information on the state of the industry of printed electronics in general. During LOPEC, the third OE-A Business Climate Survey will be presented.
The Innovation Showcase opposite the OE-A booth will also be displaying examples of printed electronics. Osram, for example, will be showing an OLED rear light for cars. Plastic Logic will be presenting a thin, flexible display in the shape of a bracelet which acts as a smart watch. Other exhibits will be coming from the consumer electronics, smart textiles and packaging areas.