Thursday, May 11, 2006

Printed Electronics

Printed Electronics is about to become a reality. Flash forward 10 years and the carton of milk that you are about to pour in your tea or coffee will tell you when it needs to be thrown away and a fresh one opened. The pages of your morning paper will update in front of your eyes delivering you the latest news.

Mobile phones and PDAs will have been made obsolete by the communication devices that are seamlessly woven into the fabric of your tailored suit. The evolution of electronics is taking a new direction.

These types of applications aren’t attainable through conventional electronics which are based on silicon chip manufacture. For these and other applications, new methods of manufacture are being developed based on printing circuits, using an organic conducting or electroluminescent material.

Conventional electronics are based on silicon chip manufacture. It’s a very expensive process requiring huge plants and production on a large scale to achieve a worthwhile financial return.

The printed electronics industry however, does not need the same scale of capital investment but is appropriate for mass production. It promises a very cost effective approach to the manufacture of certain products.

This is an emerging technology but significant progress is being made with real products. In the near future likely product developments include RFID tags, self-luminescent displays (which can be on flexible substrates), batteries and numerous applications in packaging. Printing circuitry onto textiles has also been demonstrated.

We have started to examine the technology, developments, potential applications and leading companies in this exciting area. It will enable you to assess the significance of printed electronics to your business and consider the opportunities for novel product development.
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