By Will Soutter
Frost & Sullivan has released a report on the nascent Printed Electronics (PE) market that highlights the opportunities available and the frenzied research and development initiatives accompanying it.
The PE industry has spawned off numerous partnerships around the globe with governments backing R&D activities in this field. The industry has low entry barriers due to low levels of technical expertise and existence of well established methods.
The analysis titled “Opportunities in Printed Electronics” reports that new technology such as aerosol jet printing and atomic layer deposition will augment existing methods such as gravure, flexography, inkjet, offset and screen-printing to widen the scope of PE. The industry is characterized by low costs owing to the use of flexible substrates that also facilitate the development of mechanically flexible circuits. The low production cost and high throughput allows the PE industry quick time-to-market. PE is a synergy of the technologies employed in printing, electronics, chemistry and material science. A typical characteristic of PE is that there is no single technology that would suit all requirements. This is because the properties of printed materials, the printing requirements and the economical and technical considerations are different for different applications and play a significant role in determining the technology of PE to be adopted. Also, the industry lacks players who can integrate the various components of the supply chain. While the materials employed in PE possess a range of mechanical, electrical, optical and chemical properties, they are not robust enough to sustain against degradation. However, the collaborative efforts around the globe aim to bridge the supply chain gap and make significant improvement in processes and materials so that PE can successfully shift from labs to practical applications.
The report also gives details of market participants, industry trends and an analytical hierarchical process (AHP)-based assessment of the R&D investments in PE.