Printed electronics is now about doing business

Dr Peter Harrop
Printed electronics is now about doing business
Printed electronics is a term that also encompasses the magic of printed electrics such as flexible and disposable lighting, batteries and solar cells. Co-depositing many of them is in prospect to make smart skin on people and aircraft and many other previously impossible products.
Excitingly, the subject has now moved beyond peer reviewed academic papers to doing business. The largest European event on the subject will again be Printed Electronics & Photovoltaics Europe 2011 in Düsseldorf Germany in April 5-6 and it will be all about who can sell to whom and how this powerful enabling technology can transform society for the better as well as creating wealth.
Reflecting the maturing of the business, organisers IDTechEx have prioritised introducing suppliers to customers throughout the supply chain and revealing new needs and solutions in the lectures, masterclasses, awards dinner, end user forum, exhibition and other activities taking place.
For example, those making the fine chemicals wish to meet ink makers such as Toyo Ink and Sun Chemical attending, those making production machinery want to encounter plenty of manufacturers - and they shall - and those making Printed Electronic products want to meet the rapidly widening variety of branded goods suppliers and even their end users.
For example, security printing industry is now seriously interested with UK banknote leader De la Rue presenting and French security materials company Arjo Wiggins, Gemalto, leader in passports and smart cards, and Swiss security ink maker SICPA involved this year. Much of that involves the new paper electronics and Stora Enso Packaging Boards, a University of Cape Town spinoff and many others attending also have this interest, including the new University of Lisbon commercialising one breakthrough, the giant Leo Paper Group from China, Mayr-Meinhof Karton, Gopsons Papers and Papier fabrik Louisenthal.
Expect to meet publishers, packagers and others throughout the paper-using industry but also printing equipment companies such as Heidelburger Druckmaschinen, Xaar and Trident Industrial Inkjet.
The variety of interest in using printed electronics is matched by the way many giant potential end users are now developing printed electronics themselves, not just waiting for suppliers to call.
That includes the Atomic Energy Agency of France, the US Army (a speaker), consumer electronics manufacturer Epson of Japan and mobile phone system leaders Nokia (a speaker) and ST Ericsson, all present. Many attending or speaking at the event, such as Bayer, Henkel and PARC, recently invested in some of the most promising printed electronics companies attending.
Major consumer brands
Indeed, this year the event brings a record number of big brands seeking this technology such as Mars Chocolate, Pernod Ricard, Coca-Cola, Pepsico and Metro Stores, the biggest German supermarket chain. Carl Zeiss and JC Decaux, leader in outdoor billboards and media, will also be there. Many of them will be presenting.
Electronics and electrics leaders
Consumer and industrial electronics and electrics are particularly strongly represented this year in the form of such giants as Siemens, Hitachi, Philips, Robert Bosch, Swatch, Samsung, Panasonic, Hewlett Packard and Braun. We add biotech companies and more healthcare providers this year, including Novo Nordisk and Sartorius Stedim Biotech.
Over 25 professionals from leading East Asian companies fly in to do business this year. It is all a long way from impenetrable academic papers and very distant dreams.
For more information and to register see