Powering The Next Generation
Developments in Organic and Printed Electronics Presented at LOPE-C 2010
In its second year LOPE-C 2010 (Large-area, Organic and Printed Electronics Convention) has successfully positioned itself as the central market place of a newly emerging basic industry, serving as the meeting platform of its industrial, scientific, engineering, investor and end-user communities.
More than 850 attendees from 30 countries gathered for 180 presentations in the 3-day conference featuring multi-track keynote, business, main technical, scientific and poster sessions. Doubling last year's show floor area to accommodate 89 exhibitors, LOPE-C 2010 exceeded all expectations, introducing a host of new products and demonstrating advanced manufacturing equipment suited for mass production. In the review of international observers, LOPE-C figures as the gateway to a new era: of organic and printed electronics.
An indication for the advanced state of organic and printed applications is the growing number of attendees from industrial end-user segments such as print, packaging, automotive, security and consumer electronics crowding the presentations by consumer goods manufacturers Nokia, Sony and Samsung, publishers such as Gruner & Jahr and Bauer, and the automotive industry with Fiat.
At the newly introduced investor forum, matching up international investors with firms vying for start and follow-up financing, the fundraising presentation by Enfucell was awarded best contribution by the OE-A (Organic Electronics Association). Enfucell is developing a thin and flexible, environmentally friendly battery for disposable electronics. The judging panel was chaired by LOPE-C 2010 keynoter David Fyfe of Sumitomo Chemicals and former CEO of Cambridge Display Technology.
The global players in the field of organic and printed electronics, such as BASF, Coatema, DuPont, Evonik, H.C. Starck Clevios, Konarka, Fujifilm Dimatix, Merck, Plextronics, PolyIC, Soligie, SunaTech, all exhibited in the congress center of Messe Frankfurt, Germany.
Large-scale investments in the mass production infrastructure of organic and printed electronics are taking place, ramping up manufacturing of products such as sensors, memory devices, e-readers, organic photovoltaic cells (OPV) and lighting - all taking advantage of the unique properties of organic materials and innovative inkjet and screen printing processes that yield lightweight, flexible and robust products and are enabling a host of innovative industrial as well as low-cost consumer applications not feasible up to now.
Besides marketable products and machinery, LOPE-C 2010 featured a current set of technology demonstrators and a "Tool Box", sponsored by OE-A and participating firms, containing 20 functional devices and materials geared towards university students to stimulate academic design competitions, whose results will be presented at next year's event.
Fujifilm Dimatix, acknowledged as a long-time leading provider of industrial inkjet printheads and printing integration solutions, presented its XYZ-stage inkjet deposition system, advancing print accuracy to +5 µm. PolyIC, a leader in roll-to-roll printing techniques of organic devices such as RFID tags presented a highly transparent conductive layer on flexible polyester films, as an ITO replacement in touch screen applications. Coatema demonstrated its Smartcoater unit featuring R2R coating, printing and laminating, and the Precisioncoater for cleanroom applications.
Merck Chemicals UK was present with a saturated-color polymer-microparticle concept for new electrophoretic display materials. Sweden-based Thinfilm showed a new low-cost ferroelectric, non-volatile, rewritable microstructure for printed memory devices for interactive consumer gadgets and ID tags already in high-volume pilot production. Plextronics presented its new organic ink material made from non-toxic components and delivering an up to 40 percent increase in power density for organic PV cells specifically geared to indoor energy harvesting applications.
Industry Driven Event
"With our successful 2010 event, we have proven that LOPE-C is the worldwide showcase of the industry and the leading indicator of scientific and engineering progress in organic and printed electronics," Wolfgang Mildner, Chairman of the OE-A and Managing Director of PolyIC, said . Above all, Mildner added, "LOPE-C is fully industry driven. It speaks for the industry."
"The industrial impact of organic and printed electronics was clearly visible at LOPE-C 2010. What the industry needs at this stage is an international marketplace as provided by LOPE-C, and a global perspective in terms of roadmapping as pursued by the OE-A," Andrew Hannah, Vice Chairman of the OE-A and CEO of Plextronics in Pittsburgh, Pa., said Reinhard Baumann, Chairman of the LOPE-C Scientific Board and Professor at Chemnitz University of Technology, emphasizes the remarkable research activities in the emerging field: "I'm impressed how much impact is coming from the academic community, especially from young scientists entering the field."
An important outcome of this year's conference was to establish an ongoing discussion platform for the producers and users of organic and printed electronics. In this process, the task and objective of LOPE-C will be to explicate and channel the users' expectations and demands on the new technology.
OE-A Case Studies Show Spectrum of the Industry
A series of companies have already established themselves in all aspects of the value chain of organic and printed electronics, ranging from materials and equipment to end-users. This is impressively exemplified in a collection of more than 20 case studies that the OE-A debuted at the opening of LOPE-C. These case studies show current examples of product launches. The development and marketing of new products is based on a broad spectrum of suppliers and material producers. Great progress in material development and production processes leads to a number of innovative uses, such as luminescent packaging, flexible displays and solar cells, printed RFID-tags or stylishly illuminated bar stools, just to name a few.
Toolbox for Creative Competition
Wolfgang Mildner also sees the reason for the growing success of the industry in the innovative ideas of the developers: "The prerequisites for developing new applications have never been better. Materials and production processes have made great progress. That is also why the OE-A is putting great emphasis on research and on promoting young scientists."
With the 'OE-A Competition for Multifunctional Demonstrators based on Organic and Printed Electronics', the OE-A is kicking off an international competition for the most innovative application. To this end, the OE-A and 15 partner companies have assembled a special toolbox. It contains more than 20 components and building blocks, such as printed batteries, OLEDs, organic solar cells, pressure sensors, strain gauges, various displays or electronic memories for creative design and concrete application of new prototypes. Teams of university students are eligible to participate. The first phase of the competition including concept development will run through October 31, 2010. The best products will be presented to a large audience of industry experts at LOPE-C 2011 in late June of next year. Additional information and eligibility rules can be found at www.oe-a.org.
The organic and printed electronics industry depends on strong cooperation. The OE-A, globally encompassing more than 140 members from 21 countries, has experienced approximately 25% growth over the past twelve months. This proves that more and more companies are increasingly starting production and gaining profitability in addition to their continued, intense development initiatives.
The next LOPE-C conference and exhibition will take place June 28 to 30, 2011, at the fairgrounds of Messe Frankfurt, Germany.