Printed Electronics Equipment 2013-2018: IDTechEx

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Printed Electronics Equipment 2013-2018

Market Opportunity by Printing Type in Printed Electronics

Launching 2013

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Printed electronics is becoming a huge business because it is often lower in cost and/ or superior in performance to conventional electronics, examples of the latter being lighter weight, robustness, fault tolerance and thinness. All that is possible thanks to the low-cost printing technologies used, namely screen, gravure, flexo, offset and inkjet printing.
Coating and printing are possible at standard environmental conditions, using equipment with tremendously high throughput - and that could finally lead to low-cost electronics, the often cited "electronics everywhere".
Direct printing is of special interest since it makes it possible to produce patterned structures without further effort. In the case of inkjet printing, the pattern is defined by the direct placement of the drops, for the conventional printing technologies, the printing form defines this pattern. The properties of the final layer are different for the different technologies: screen printing allows thicker layers with higher conductivity, while in offset, flexo and gravure printing, the potential resolution is better. Depending on the requirement from the application, the process is to be chosen.
Indeed, the initial euphoria about entirely printed electronics devices has largely evaporated in the last couple of years. However, many commercial applications involve at least one printing step. This is true for printed electroluminscent displays, organic and inorganic electrodes and transistors, thin-film photovoltaics, printed batteries, and RFID labels to name only a few.
There will be no single printing technology employed for printing electronics because the needs are so disparate. Inkjet printing has had greater support than any other printing technology for printed electronics. Huge investments have radically improved the inkjet printer to make it suitable for the task. Its advantages include lowest wastage of the inevitably expensive inks and greatest tolerance of uneven and undulating surfaces. Inkjet is particularly useful for all but the largest volumes, being extremely good for uneven and changeable surfaces where it can even be focused in real time at the micro scale.
Especially reel to reel processes can be faster and cheaper, which usually means flexo or gravure - now extensively used for RFID antennas for example. Gravure will give the highest throughput and largest areas for the foreseeable future and flexo has a place here too, being somewhat tolerant of uneven surfaces.
Screen printing is almost universally used for small quantities and the thicker films, especially for electrophoretic displays, interconnects, keyboards, antennas etc today and will remain popular for the shorter runs, experimentation and where very thick layers are required. There is some place for lithographic printing but the complex ink rheology required is tough to achieve without compromising the electrical properties and cost structure.
Five year forecasts 2013-2018
This report provides market opportunity forecasts by printing type for the following application segments. For each, it gives the average sales price and the total spend in US $.
a. Displays & Lighting
b. Photovoltaics
c. Conductors
d. Sensors
e. Printed Batteries
f. Logic & Memory
Who should by this report?
Equipment manufacturers (screen, inkjet, etc), ink developers and suppliers, and those active in the value chain for developing.
Contents list
1. Introduction
2. Types of Printing Technology
a. Screen
b. Gravure
c. Offset
d. Flexo
e. Inkjet
3. Characterization and Comparison
4. Applications
a. Displays & Lighting
b. Photovoltaics
c. Conductors
d. Sensors
e. Printed Batteries
f. Logic & Memory
5. Printing Equipment Supplier Profiles
6. Forecasts 2013-2018
a. Market Size by Printing Technology
b. Market Size by Printed Electronics Application
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