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FLEXO Magazine : January 2011
onto stainless steel foil. Being compatible with the world's most popular RFID speci- fication, ISO 14443, which was designed for silicon chips, this analog-digital circuit was a tour de force, announcing to the world that a huge variety of the simpler integrated circuits can now be replaced by lower cost, more flexible and more robust printing albeit on stainless steel foil because of the high temperature anneal currently required. PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES Equally significant was Dai Nippon Printing in Japan taking its first orders for multifunctional posters on the Tokyo Met- ro, incorporating printed animated OLED and AC electroluminescent technology, powered by printed organic photovoltaics. In addition, trials by Toppan Forms in Japan of interactive posters have been successful. These involved sound, acti- vated by touching, printed AC electrolumi- nescent and electrophoretic displays, and printed organic photovoltaics for power. At a stroke, the world's existing posters, packaging and point-of-display material are rendered boring, relatively ineffective and an embarrassment. It is equivalent to the arrival of television; if you just make radios, watch out! MILITARY APPLICATIONS Last year also saw the U.S. Air Force committing very serious money to vehicles made possible by flexible photo- voltaics, notably unmanned upper atmosphere surveillance aircraft and dirigibles covered with the stuff. One order exceeded $500 million. The benefits include lightweight and flexibility. You do not put glass sheets on a balloon. HAPPENINGS IN HEALTHCARE Much smaller sums were committed to buying printed electronic products for healthcare, with ongoing business in electronic tamper evidence and entirely printed electric skin patches. However, in the background, a great deal of work was going on to develop electronic healthcare disposables for testing and drug administration. LOOKING FORWARD All of which brings us to 2011. Many companies that have got the message that starting with the easier printed elec- tronics will launch simple devices based on printed diodes and conductive patterns etc. The old idea of printing a trans- parent conductive layer with fine metal patterns--not with expensive, clever chemicals--will re-emerge and gain first major orders. Simple ink stripe RFID using low-cost printed metals will gain marketshare. Printable copper inks will start to sell well. Novacentrix Pulseforge, which anneals high- temperature electronic inks on low-temperature substrates, will be widely deployed. Expect one of the new electric cars to incorporate largely printed ceiling and dashboard control clusters saving 10 to 40 percent of cost, weight and space in 2011. This will also improve reliability and weather proofing. Less certain is whether the lowest cost printed displays, the electrochromic ones, will overcome barriers to major market entry. Some of our clients cite unappealing appearance and lack of low- cost drive circuits. The limited life is not a problem for most envisaged applications. Of course, life is of great importance in many potential applications of printed electronics. The two to three years of printed organic photovoltaics and five years for DSSC photovoltaics will be inadequate in some cases. For example, car companies and the military demand 15 years, and 20 years are needed for photovoltaics on houses or ships. Enter flexible printed copper indium gallium diselenide CIGS pho- tovoltaics, where Nanosolar and maybe others will make first major deliveries in 2011. Lifetime of these initial products are unclear as yet, but long life is in prospect. Equally desirable is transparent flexible printed electronics demanded by all market sectors. The kingpins here will be the commercialization of transparent photovoltaics, transistor circuits and batteries but, unfortunately, these are unlikely to be in major production by the end of 2011. The tiny number of imaginative product designers famil- iar with printed electronics will continue to spring surprises. Expect yet more animated and interactive paper magazines in the tradition of the e-ink Esquire edition in 2008, and the color LCD with sound in an edition of Entertainment Age in 2009. We shall certainly see printed electronics in more toys, novelties, apparel and healthcare disposables. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Raghu Das is CEO of IDTechEx. For more information, visit www.IDTechEx.com. www.flexography.org JANUARY 2011 FLEXO 21 To learn more, call 704.588.3371 or Toll Free 800.438.3111 At Harper Corporation we do more than sell anilox rolls. We deliver confidence that comes with a 100% performance guarantee, backed by a team of graphic experts, and supported by a full compliment of products and accessories. With anilox roll manufacturing and restoration facilities in Charlotte, NC, Green Bay, WI, Herford Germany and Bangkok, Thailand, Harper Corporation delivers dependable consistency no matter where you print. ANILOX ROLL DIVISION HARPERIMAGE.COM Americas • Europe • Asia ©2010 Proven to be the best. From four locations across the globe. There is a reason ours comes with a 100% performance guarantee.
Sustainable Winter 2011