The conference featured an opening talk by Peter Fischer of Thin Film Electronics, who also served as moderator. Dr. Fischer discussed "Manufacturing Innovations to Scale Printed Electronics Enabling the Internet of Everything.”
The Business Conference then moved to a session on “End-User Applications and Requirements,” beginning with Prof. Dr. Ana Claudia Arias of University of California Berkeley, who covered “Flexible MRI Coils for Pediatric Patients: From Materials to Market.”
Armin Senne, business manager flexo for Continental, then discussed “Smart Rubber Solutions Based on Printed Electronics.” Senne discussed some new applications, including energy harvesting systems for automotive, including solar cells on roof, as well as sensors for tires and hoses that signal wear.
Enid Kivuti, director of innovation and technology at Multek Flexible Circuits, analyzed “Optimizing Designers´ Vision, Cost of Ownership & Time to Market for Automotive and Medical Applications.”
“Printed electronics can do multi-layer printing and multiple ink types, multiple curing and drying regimes,” said Kivuti. “There is a lot of design freedom. There are plenty of substrate options. Inspections and testing are very important. Roll to roll can make a lot of products quickly, and testing is critical. Environmental concerns are also key. All-in-one smart labels, transdermal drug delivery, capacitive seat sensors, sweat and pH sensors all are being developed.”
Markus Larsson, VP global business development for PARC, a Xerox company, closed the session with “From Vision to Disruption.”
“Printed electronics was a solution looking for a market,” Larsson observed. “We saw the power of conventional silicon. The big development was the modern smartphone. We think customization of hardware and new form factors will be important.”
“Business and Product Developments” was the topic of the second session. Dr. Ofer Shochet, CEO and founder of Copprint, opened the session with “Printed RFID Antennas Using Conductive Copper Ink - Beating Traditional Manufacturing Processes.”
“For many years, people have attempted to develop copper inks, but oxidation prevented significant conductivity, Dr. Shochet said. “We are ready for printing RFID antennas and are collaborating with a world leader in this market.”
He was followed by cynora GmbH CSO Dr. Thomas Baumann, who covered “Introducing the First High-Efficiency Blue Emitter for AMOLED Displays.” Dr, Baumann noted than cynora will be introducing the first high-efficiency blue emitter materials for OLEDs.
“Right now, the OLED industry is using low efficiency blues, which leads to high power consumption and lower battery life. We use Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence (TADF) to develop new materials and have seven years of experience in this field and are doing joint development with Samsung and LG Display. We are making fast progress. Our goal is high efficiency blue emitters by 2018, green emitters by 2019 and red emitters by 2020.”
Bernhard Schweizer, director business development for SAP SE, followed with “IoT and Printed Electronics - The Power Couple for Digital Transformation.”
“We need smart components right where data originates. IoT and printed electronics can go hand-in-hand,” added Schweizer.
Marcin Ratajczak, CEO and founder of INURU GmbH, closed the session with “INURU - Printed OLED Light and Display Technology.”
“The OLED market for TV and display exploded while lighting underperformed,” said Ratajczak. “The speed of how we consume information has increased, and we now use dynamic information. Consumer retail packaging is still static, requiring inconvenient interaction with the smartphone. We believe in the future that displays will be everywhere providing smart information.”
After lunch, the Business Conference then centered on “Supply-Chain: Equipment and Materials.” Ben Clements, managing director of Emerson & Renwick Ltd., discussed ‘Advancements in R2R Manufacturing Platforms to Meet the Needs of Flexible Electronics Production.” “Roll to roll is evolution, not revolution,” he noted.
Dr. Felix Görth, director organic electronics, BASF New Business GmbH, presented “Printed Organic Electronics - Developing an Exciting New Market Along the Value Chain.”
“Disruptive technology is supporting the trend towards conformable light and thin electronics by direct manufacturing on flexible substrates,” Dr. Gorth reported. “Industries range from personal and health care via automobile to packaging and consumer electronics. Multi-party collaboration is the key to commercial success. Realization of printed and organic electronics is still facing several challenges ahead. Conclusive product ideas are key, and material, process and equipment suitability is a prerequisite,”
Thomas Kolbusch, VP of Coatema Coating Machinery GmbH, talked about “Overview of the Equipment Development of the Last 10 Years Related to the Development of Specific Markets and an Outlook into the Next 10 Years.”
“We used to get calls from printing companies asking if they could use their 4-color presses.” Kolbusch noted. “I still remember in 2002 being at Konarka discussing organic photovoltaics. There was beautiful hype until 2009, but these companies couldn’t fulfill their promises. Lifetime of the device was a big topic, as was efficiency. OPV never fulfilled its potential, but I see us coming back from disillusionment to opportunities like energy harvesting. We now use equipment that is dedicated to the products, and economies of scale must be reachable.”
Stan Farnsworth, NovaCentrix’s chief marketing officer, discussed “A Case Study of Market Engagement.”
“We started in 1999 as a nanomaterials company,” Farnsworth recalled. “We pivoted from developing nanomaterials to equipment and electronic inks. What we do today is a direct byproduct of what we did in nanomaterials. The industry was building products without knowing who the customers might be, and you need to be cognizant of where you are in this space.”
The final session of the Business Conference covered “Market and Industry Forecasts.” This included talks by Dan Rogers, head of publishing at Smithers Apex, who discussed “Targeting Three Growth Opportunities for Printed Electronics.” Rogers was followed by Henri Rajbenbach, research programme officer and senior expert, European Commission, DG CONNECT, who analyzed “Flexible Electronics; EU Programs and Initiatives.”
Matthias Jotz, product manager Sensor & Semicon for SCHOTT AG, discussed “Structured Glass Substrates,” while Ralf Kirner, concept designer R&D at Helly Hansen, gave a talk on “Helly Hansen - Experience Report - Wearable Technology in Garments,” with a look at challenges with electronics in garments.