Electronics Production | June 11, 2008
All Eyes on Printed Electronics
Printed and potentially printed electronics was first seen as a way of sharply reducing the cost of everything from lighting to personal electronics. That remains an objective.
However, it is also proving to be a way of providing electronic and electrical devices that were previously impossible to manufacture. This is leading to components and products that can re-invigorate the following markets: Little wonder, then, that analysts see printed electronics rising exponentially to around $300 billion in twenty years' time, with the demand for conductive inks alone reaching several billion dollars yearly in little more than five years from now. Little wonder that over 1500 organisations across the world are now doing major work in this area, about half of them being academic. That is about twice the level of interest and investment of only three years ago and it goes beyond the well publicised organic electronics - indeed, half the materials being developed and used for printed electronics are inorganic. The number of patents in all aspects is sharply increasing as giant corporations down to start-ups announce a raft of exciting new inventions. The conventional silicon chip is hitting the buffers. Major problems include the cost of the research and development supporting improved production rising exponentially and the cost of silicon factories rising exponentially. This is what Professor Neil Gershenfeld of Massachusetts Institute of Technology calls the Inverse Moore's law. Making small quantities of chips is already very expensive and design and production changes are very slow and expensive. The next step down in transistor size (to reduce cost and provide cleverer circuits) results in short life of the chip. In addition, making chips ever smaller means you cannot subsume large components such as displays, batteries, antennas, microphones etc. They cannot be put on top of the tiny chip so they all have to be connected alongside thus creating something big and unreliable. Printed electronics can get over almost all of these problems but it can also take us into a new world. Here we have the magic of the new metamaterials, with their negative refractive index and other surreal properties promising previously impossible devices, from the cloak of invisibility to unusually small RFID labels. For example, some metamaterials are flexographically printed to give the necessary microscopic three dimensional patterns over a wide area, such as split ring resonators on microwires. We now have the reduction in melting point of metals by a factor of ten achieved by printing them in particles of only a few nanometers across. They can then be annealed on something as delicate as acetate film. What are the new products soon to be launched in biodegradable paper electronics and in electrophoretics where the display uses no electricity until it is changed? The leaders are being eagerly followed as they push the boundaries forward, from tightly rollable electronics and power to edible electronics. Development of exciting new materials is central to this revolution, there being rapid advances in performance thanks to the new nanosilicon semiconductors in printed transistors and photovoltaics, new organic materials printed in the form of batteries, inorganic compounds both as semiconductors and as photovoltaic films, some of which work off heat as well as light. Will printed copper finally replace the printed silver used in everything from touchpads and testers on Duracell batteries to smart skin patches for drug delivery? Where will the new concept of origami electronics take us beyond the foldable two meter disco light shown below? Packaging that is refolded after use into a useful electronic or electrical product is one hot idea for brand enhancement while enhancing environmental credentials. The end result is the replacement of billboards, posters and books with reprogrammable printed electronic film. Smart packaging will inform, prompt, warn and entertain and record when you took you pills thanks to printed logic, moving colour displays, light, sound and electronically triggered aromas. Medical test instruments will become everyday disposables kept in your pocket. The move of healthcare from hospital to home and on the move is also facilitated with printed diagnostic patches and other affordable inventions. The effects can be multiplied when electronics and electrics are printed onto smart substrates. These include self healing plastic recently developed in France and "Polymer based Ultrasonic Paper PUP" from ITRI Taiwan. Physiotherapy and large area motion detectors are envisaged that will use the latter. Polymers have recently been demonstrated that change electric properties when stretched and electroactive polymers change shape under electrical bias. Image Source: www.vtt.fi
Bel acquires CUI Inc. power assets Bel Fuse Inc. has closed on its previously-announced deal with CUI Global for the majority of the power business of its subsidiary, CUI Inc.
Accel Robotics more than quadruples initial funding San Diego-based start-up Accel Robotics has announced a USD 30 million Series A funding round led by SoftBank Group Co.
General Motors, LG Chem partner in Ohio General Motors and LG Chem have announced plans to form a joint, equally-owned company to mass-produce electric vehicle battery cells.
Swissbit opens electronics production facility in Berlin Swissbit has been manufacturing in Germany since 2002 and has now official opened its new electronics production facility in Berlin.
Revenue ranking of global top 10 IC design companies The newest analysis from TrendForce shows that several U.S.-based IC design companies experienced continually expanding losses in 3Q19 revenue because of the ongoing China-U.S. trade war and because Huawei had yet to be removed from the Entity List.
Mycronic receives order for an upgrade of a Prexision system Swedish production equipment specialist, Mycronic AB, has received an order to upgrade a system to a full-scale Prexision 8.
Kurtz Ersa inaugurates new extension buildingin Asia Kurtz Ersa Asia Ltd. celebrated its 15th anniversary in China and at the same time opened its extension building in Zhuhai.
Clover Wireless acquires Teleplan Illinois-based Clover Wireless has acquired Teleplan International N.V., a global electronics supply chain services and solutions provider.
FLIR Systems, Providence Photonics finalize deal Oregon-based FLIR Systems has completed its strategic investment in Providence Photonics, developers of advanced software used to quantify invisible gas emissions using FLIR optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras.
Lucid Motors sees EV facility groundbreaking Lucid Motors has officially begun phase-one construction of its EV manufacturing facility in Arizona, representing an investment of more than USD 300 million.
Precogs’ CEO: ‘If we can’t help you, it won’t cost you’ The business model of Precogs, the company that has created a global marketplace that connects a buyers ERP with component distributors, is quite intriguing; you will only pay out of what the company can save you.
Cre8tek invests in robotics to increase efficiency and quality Danish-Chinese electronics manufacturer, Cre8tek, has recently invested in added automation in the shape of robots; which are currently moving into the company’s production plant in Shenzhen with the aim to increase efficiency and quality.
Global semiconductor sales increase 2.9% MoM in October The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) today announced worldwide sales of semiconductors reached USD 36.6 billion for the month of October 2019, an increase of 2.9% from the previous month's total of USD 35.6 billion, but down 13.1% compared to the October 2018 total of USD 42.1 billion.
Standex International buys Torotel Inc. Standex International Corporation and Torotel Inc. have reached a definitive agreement for Standex to acquire Torotel for approximately USD 48 million in cash.
SPEA unveils new digs in Chandler, Arizona SPEA, a provider of in-test equipment for electronics, semiconductor, MEMS, and sensor industries, has opened a new office in Chandler, Arizona, in the metropolitan area of Phoenix.
SUSS MicroTec, BRIDG team up on NA applications center SUSS MicroTec has announced a broad collaboration agreement with BRIDG, a Florida not-for-profit microelectronics fabrication facility with 200 mm (8-inch) wafer fab capabilities.
Universal adds software center in Bratislava Universal Instruments has extended its EMEA capabilities with the addition of a Software Center in its Bratislava, Slovakia corporate facility.
Sono Motors launches community funding campaign The German mobility provider Sono Motors launched one of the biggest community funding campaigns in Europe yesterday. The company’s campaign target is to generate EUR 50 million between now and December 30, 2019, with preorders from existing and new supporters.
Filtronic expands hybrid microelectronics manufacturing facility Filtronic, the designer and manufacturer of antennas, says it has invested over USD 1.3 million in new equipment for its manufacturing facility in Sedgefield, UK.
ACM Research aiming for R&D facility in Shanghai ACM Research Inc., provider of single-wafer wet cleaning equipment, has begun the bidding process to acquire land rights in the Shanghai, Lingang region.
DirectMed acquires Medical Systems Technologies San Diego-based DirectMed Parts & Service has acquired Medical Systems Technologies (MST), a specialist in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) component level repair and testing.
Gowanda acquires RCD Components New York-based Gowanda Components Group has picked up New Hampshire’s RCD Components, which will be folded into the company’s Magnetics Division.
Eurocircuits biggest investment to date One thing has always been clear for PCB manufacturer Eurocircuits – continues investments have been the key for the company’s success, and investments have been made.Load more news