BY DAVID SAVASTANO
The lure of flexible and printed electronics has captured the attention of researchers and entrepreneurs alike, but it hasn’t translated to the market yet. Still, the idea of
low cost functional flexible systems such as sensors, wearables
and smart packaging that can be mass produced is attractive for
It appears that more products are in the pipeline, and flexible and
printed electronics are starting to fulfill their promise.
“The market for printed and flexible electronics is set to
reach over $73 billion by 2025, as explained in detail in the
flagship IDTechEx report on the topic, Printed, Organic &
Flexible Electronics Forecasts, Players & Opportunities 2015-
2025,” said Dr. Harry Zervos, principal analyst and business
development manager for North America for IDTechEx. “Not
all separate types of printed electronics will share equally in that
big market – as I always say, printed electronics is an umbrella
term and some markets will reach maturity sooner than oth-
ers – but already, OLEDs, conductive inks in PV applications
and printed glucose sensors are billion dollar markets that are
set to grow.”
“We are beginning to see more market pull for printed elec-
tronics,” said Jennifer Ernst, Thin Film Electronics’ (Thinfilm) chief
strategy officer. “There are several reasons why this is happening.
“As the Internet of Things (Io T) moves from hype to action,
low-cost and lightweight technology for ubiquitous sensing,
secure storage and transmission of data will be essential,” Ernst
noted. “This has opened up a whole new market for printed
electronics. Printed memory, sensors and communications de-
vices will be an essential part of the IoT ecosystem with its
revenue potential expected to reach $7.1 trillion by 2020, ac-
cording to research firm IDC.”
In significant news, Thinfilm and Xerox announced in
January 2015 a manufacturing partnership, in which Xerox will
manufacture Thinfilm’s Memory labels.
“On the manufacturing front, Thinfilm is prepared to scale
up production to meet the demands of market adoption,” Ernst
said. “We have just entered a strategic partnership with Xerox, a
global business services leader. As a core element of the agreement, Xerox has licensed Thinfilm’s proprietary technology to
manufacture Thinfilm Memory labels. In addition, Xerox will
develop a marketing strategy targeted to key customers.
To produce the memory labels, Xerox will modify a production line in one of its existing facilities in Webster NY.
Heidi Hoffman, director, Flex Tech Alliance, said that the
flexible and printed electronics market “has been a true roller
coaster – lots of curves, deceleration and acceleration. Now,
on the upswing, and
manufacturers are seeing
opportunities ahead for a
wide range of fields.
Photo courtesy of Thin Film Electronics.