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FLEXO Magazine : May 2010
Industry Indicators LIFE CAN BE GOOD AGAIN NO print defects were experienced NO unnecessary press stops occurred NO blade edge breaks Printing Doctor Blades Your blade life can be 10 times longer with SWEDCUT Distributed exclusively by CANADA – USA – MEXICO FLXON Incorporated +1.704.844.2434 www.flxon.com Exclusive Distribution in CANADA – USA – MEXICO FLXON Incorporated +1.704.844.2434 www.flxon.com PPerformance Through Quality 16 FLEXO may 2010 www.flexography.org The Truly Integrated Circuit: Printed and Flexible By Dr. Peter Harrop For 40 years, so -called integrated circuits have integrat- ed little more than transistors, diodes and sensors onto one piece of material. Today, there are much more inte- grated circuits arriving where most electrical and electronic components are co-deposited on flexible substrates. Those flexible substrates are key to making these new electron- ics affordable and desirable on everything from apparel to human skin and electrical and consumer packaged goods, where surfaces are only rarely flat. Savvy designers, seeking to use the new electronics to create “The iPod of labels,” or some other blockbuster product, think of the flexible substrate as part of function- ing of the product. For example, there are flexible films that emit and detect ultrasound, act as loudspeakers or change shape under an electrical field. The latter use electroactive polymer film, and the recent purchase of Artificial Muscle Inc. (AMI) by Bayer MaterialScience is a nice reminder that there are plenty of exits for venture capitalists backing these new printed electronics companies. STreTChable eleCTronICS AMI polymer films, with printed stretchable electrodes, are used in the development, design and manufacture of actua- tors and sensing components. They offer significant advan- tages over traditional technologies used in this area. They provide touchscreen panels in consumer electronics with “awarene ss through touch.” They do this by creating authen- tic tactile feedback, just like a conventional keyboard. This innovative technology has significant application potential, particularly for electronic devices like smart phones, gaming controllers and touchpads. AMI initially targeted products for a range of applications including valves, pumps, positioners, power generation, snake-like, self-aiming camera lenses and sensors. With the emergent need for haptics in consumer electronics, particularly in touchscreens, AMI used EPAMTM to create the ReflexTM brand of haptic actuators. These products are targeted at a wide range of consumer electronics includ- ing smartphones and other portable electronics, computer peripherals, gaming controllers and touchpads. Meanwhile, MC10 Inc. , a c o mpany formed to commercial- ize stretchable electronics, has recently made a licensing agreement with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Cham- paign. According to the terms of the agreement, MC10 Inc. will gain access to technology contained in patents dealing Professor Babak Ziaie of Purdue university holds a device made of ferropaper. • Flexible substrates are key to making new electronics affordable and desirable. • Research is being done using ferropaper to make low-cost micromotors for surgical instruments. • Polyvinylidene difluorides are being made into ferroelectric ink, which is used to print non-volatile rewritable random access memory. FLX_May10_sec1.indd 16 4/19/10 11:56 AM