Functional printing: new developments on printed and flexible electronics

Category: Innovation and trends in plastic materials

Printed technologies are widely used to incorporate information and pictures in products such as magazines, catalogues, labels and packages, or even decorative elements in glass, textile and ceramics, among other products. In recent years, the printing techniques have become adequate techniques for the selective deposition of conductive and semiconductor materials on a substrate at industrial scale, in contrast with other deposition techniques, such as PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) or CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition), to develop organic electronic components, such as OTFTs (Organic Thin Film Transistors), OLEDs (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) and OPVs (Organic Photovoltaics).

A report presented recently by Smithers Pira, ‘The Future of Functional and Industrial Print to 2020’, identifies the printed electronics system as one of the key sectors, where printing technologies are being used to manufacture industrially screens, lightning systems, PV and sensors, among other applications. The use of printing technologies to develop electronic components, RFID tags, sensors or printed circuits is already a big business for many suppliers, whose applications are opening new business opportunities. The report sets out the forecasts of a rapid growth during the next years for this new sector, for what a growth forecast of $67 billion in 2015 to more than $105 billion in 2020 is made.

AIMPLAS has recently strengthened its working lines on research and development of intelligent plastic materials by setting up a new Department of Functional Printing and Coatings, where new functional inks and varnishes, conductive inks and electronic components’ printing will be developed in order to get a high added-value printed product.

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