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FLEXO Magazine : October 2009
24 FLEXO OCTOBER 2009 www.flexography.org CPC Health Other 17 50.9 0.9 The 19th century saw ubiquitous black and white print- ing. The 20th century was one of color printing. How- ever, we are now in the century of printed electronics. Nowhere will the impact be more obvious than packaging, because the new electronics transforms much more than the human interface. It leverages the usefulness of the product itself and performs other functions, such as tracking, tracing and reduction of theft and counterfeiting. THE SHOW SO FAR Electronics is already used in pack- aging from winking rum and talking pizza boxes to aerosols that emit electrically charged insecticide that chases the bug. We even have medi- cation that records how much is taken and when, and which prompts the user. Reprogrammable mobile phone deco- ration has arrived. But that is just a warm up. The key enabling technolo- gy---printed electron- ics---is about to reduce costs of electronics suitable for packaging by 99 percent. Consequently, many leading brand owners have recently put multidisciplinary teams onto the adoption of the new paper thin electronics on their high volume packaging. It will provide a host of consumer benefits and make competition look very tired indeed. This is mainly about modern merchandising--- progressing way beyond static print---and dramatically better consumer propositions. E-PACKAGING Electronic packaging, or e-packaging, addresses the need for brands to reconnect with the customer or face oblivion from copying. That even applies to retailer-owned brands. E-packaging addresses the graying of the population. This is creating a demand for very low-cost self diagnosis and treatment using disposable pack- ages. Russia and Italy will have about 60 percent depen- dent elderly by 2050, for example. There will be insufficient physicians, nurses and care-givers to provide care the old way. That calls for disposable medi- cal testers and drug delivery devices. Electronic packag- ing addresses the fact that one third of us have difficulty reading ever smaller instructions. It can appeal to many human senses so fit people are captivated and the dyslexic, illiterate and those shaking from a disease can cope. For example, it can electrically change texture or vibrate to signal something using the sense of touch. The package can talk--- using your sense of hearing and scrolling large text is a much better use of the sense of sight than ever-smaller fonts in static print to cram in information. PREMIUM PRICING Premium pricing will arise from greatly enhanced products, thanks to packaging that leverages the function of the product and is reusable as an electronic product itself. Valuable electronic tear-offs as rewards will become viable as will packaging that interacts with mobile phones and computers. Startling technical advances will be brought to bear such as invisible electronics, edible electronics and stretchable electronics. Brand Enhancement by Electronics in Packaging The Future is Fast Approaching By Dr. Peter Harrop FIGURE 1. Electronic packaging by number in billions by sector in 2015. Source: IDTechEx report "Brand Enhancement by Electronics in Packaging 2010-2020" • Printed electronics can utilize audio and tactile sen- sations to communicate with consumers. • Valuable electronic tear-offs as rewards will become viable as will packaging that interacts with mobile phones and computers. • Many types of printing technology are needed so even one printed component may have its differ- ent layers deposited by different types of printing machines. • Printed electronics does not necessarily have to be cheap value is more important. INDUSTRY INDICATORS
Sustainable Fall 2009