Printed electronics hold the potential to be a game-changer in a wide variety of end markets, according to a new study from ABI Research. Innovative printing techniques have the capability to facilitate high volume, low cost manufacturing of electronics components, which will enable new applications that were not previously addressable with traditional electronics manufacturing techniques. While this market is currently in its infancy, ABI Research forecasts that printed electronics will see very high growth rates through 2012 and beyond.
“For many end markets the first products are becoming commercially available now, and market realization will be dictated by fulfillment of the promise of printing capabilities at a very low price point,“ says research director Michael Liard. “It will take some time before printing and cost are optimized and this will certainly vary from market segment to market segment in terms of what customers will accept.”
This new ABI Research study presents a detailed assessment of the state of the printed electronics landscape today, with market opportunity analysis across the optoelectronics, large area electronics and power generation/management sectors to assess drivers, barriers, key applications, materials and technologies, manufacturing and key industry competition. Within these sectors, ABI Research has further segmented the market applications for printed electronics as follows: displays, solid state lighting, electronic paper and displays, transistors, integrated circuits, batteries, and photovoltaics.
The greatest market penetration by printing technologies to date has been in displays and lighting for portable electronics. Many of the technologies under development are not quite ready for prime time yet and initial applications are targeting niche markets.
“The most interesting applications involve leveraging printing for entirely new applications, especially those that can provide added value through needed functionality, industry cost savings, security and resource conservation,” notes Liard. “There has been public, government and financial investment interest in developing alternative energy solutions. Applying printing technologies to solar cell manufacturing, for example, can result in better, more efficient materials utilization and manufacturing for greater return on energy investment and capital expenditure.”