Functional and lightweight, thin and flexible—what used to be incompatible is possible with printed electronics.
It has been around for 20 years. It has achieved a market volume of 37 billion dollars. Printed electronics is still playing a minor but powerful part in the electronics market.
New developments such as printed and flexible sensor and hybrid systems are ringing in the future. Printed electronics is becoming increasingly integrated and acts behind the scenes. That’s one reason for its continuing success.
What Benefits Does Printed Electronics Offer?
Printed electronics refers to the production of electronic assembly components by means of printing techniques. Instead of inks, materials with electronic functions are used in printing. Especially films can be printed or die cut to produce any desired feature—be they conductive tracks, resistors or other technical functions.
The electronics printed on films then perform the tasks of conventional electronics with special processing opportunities, while the film remains lightweight, thin and flexible, which is one of the prerequisites for space-saving installation into a wide variety of products. The utilization of transparent films enables the production of largely transparent solutions, which is not possible with conventional electronics.
How Is the Market Developing?
Hybrid solutions of classic and printed electronics have conquered the market in recent years. They combine the benefits of conventional electronics (e.g. low-cost standard components) with those of printed electronics such as flexibility, very thin composition, low weight and automatic downstream processing.
But a lot has happened in the area of sensor systems as well: Printed and flexible sensors are becoming increasingly important. They are lightweight, flat and flexible, and easy to integrate into existing solutions.
Schreiner PrinTronics has developed diverse applications for sensor technology such as wetness sensors and heaters for sensors. The automotive industry is a major sales market for these solutions. But a wide range of possible uses exists in other industrial sectors as well—from wound repair solutions to counterfeiting protection by means of printed electronics. Many segments still hold plenty of potential for the future.