Material | June 19, 2008

Printed & Organic Electronics expected to reach $1.58 Billion in 2008

The printed and thin film electronics beyond conventional silicon is expected to reach $1.58 Billion this year, report publications.
The majority of this is for OLED display panels ($0.69 Billion) which is the value of the panel and not the final device. Virtually all of this is non printed and on glass. Second largest by value is photovoltaics (PV) beyond conventional crystalline and amorphous silicon, accounting for $0.4 Billion.

This is not organic PV however, which is still some time away from commercialization, but inorganic technologies such as CIGS and CdTe devices. For example, First Solar has an order book exceeding $2 Billion for CdTe PV devices which they will be delivering over several years, states the report.

Third largest is not a specific product, but a value for inks for $0.21 Billion, which are used for multiple different applications such as interconnects for switches, membrane keyboards, windscreen heaters. The research group gives the ink value only here rather than the value of the product because the products are so diverse in scope. Then looking at the market for sensors, at $0.11 Billion, which are printed sensors used for glucose meters - approximately 2.2 billion are sold each year.
$50 Million will be spend on electroluminescent displays and $48 Million on electrophoretic displays (the value of the front plane of the display itself rather than the end device).

On the other hand, the group sees the market for logic and memory beyond conventional silicon to be just $10 Million this year - and virtually all of that is samples and some services with some commercial sales beginning towards the end of the year from Kovio, PolyIC and PolymerVision, for example.

Of all the technologies covered in the $1.58 Billion market, only 27.8% of the components will be predominately printed in 2008, rising to 79.6% in 2018. Similarly, in 2008 only 15.7% of the components are on a non rigid substrate (such as sensors and EL displays), rising to 74% in 2018. The greatest opportunity is for devices which can be printed and are flexible.

If looked at market size by territory, IDTechEx find that most work is taking place in Europe, the USA and Japan. In many respects Europe is in the lead. For instance, the first printed electronics factories are appearing there. However, we note that the creation of new companies is low given the huge academic effort going on there. The USA is proving better at creating new companies.

In East Asia while the number of organizations working on the topic is slightly less than the other two continents, it disguises the fact that those companies tend to be huge conglomerates. By spend, we see that in 2008 56% of the market spend is in East Asia. This is because the biggest component - OLED display modules - are made there and bought by companies making devices, such as MP3 players.

However, it disguises the fact that many of the devices are then sold to North America and Europe. Indeed some manufacturing will be moving to East Asia in due course but we also see a higher than expected market in Europe and USA given the dispersed manufacture capability of this new electronics.


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