Printed electronics is conquering numerous application sectors
Sensors for medical applications, smart textiles and OLEDs for the automotive industry: numerous industries rely on printed and flexible electronics in their innovation process. LOPEC, the international exhibition and conference for the printed electronics industry, which took place from 19 to 21 March in Munich, Germany, reflects this trend. Science and industry provided important stimuli to the subject of mobility with the future topic of 3D structural electronics.
“With more than 2700 participants from 44 countries attending the trade show, we set a new record,” says Falk Senger, managing director of Messe München. More and more user industries from packaging to medicine to textiles and sports see printed electronics as a key technology for innovative developments. “The crowded aisles demonstrate the strong interest across all industries,” says Senger. The number of exhibitors was also higher than ever before: 163 exhibitors from 19 countries participated in the trade show.
The automotive industry is the largest market and growth driver for flexible and printed electronics. From displays and touch surfaces seamlessly integrated into the interior to self-darkening windows to new lighting and heating concepts: printed electronics is playing an increasingly important role in the vehicles of the future, whether in electric or driverless cars. Klaus Hecker, managing director of OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association): “More and more applications with printed electronics are already being realised and mass-produced. 3D structural electronics proved to be one of the most important future trends in the automotive sector. This was also illustrated by the packed audience for the panel discussion and the respective session of the Technical Conference.”
Printed electronic components, such as ultra-thin sensors or microfluidic chips, open up new medical applications. Corné Rentrop, project manager at the Dutch Holst Centre: “We are beyond the prototype development phase. Printed electronics is ready to be used in the healthcare sector. Now it is a matter of approving the products and implementing mass production so that they can be used in everyday life.” In addition to the medical sector, the pharmaceutical, sports and textile industries are also expanding their products and applications to include printed electronics.
With over 200 presentations by speakers from 25 countries, the LOPEC Conference set a new record this year. Wolfgang Mildner, general chair of LOPEC, emphasises: “The numerous submissions for the Conference impressively reflect the positive development of the industry. New application examples and success stories from representatives of leading global corporations such as Airbus, Continental, IBM and Polar clearly demonstrate that printed electronics is increasingly becoming part of everyday life in various industries.”
Over the three days, more than 2700 participants from 44 countries came to Munich. This is an increase of around 15 percent compared to the previous year. 51 percent of the participants came from abroad. LOPEC has thus reaffirmed its status as the globally leading trade fair. The strongest visitor countries besides Germany were Great Britain, France and Austria. The 163 exhibitors, including DuPont, Evonik, Nissan Chemical Corporation, NovaCentrix, PolyIC and Siemens, came from 19 countries.