White papers

DISCOVER OUR WHITE PAPERS

delimiter image

Over the last two years, there has been growing interest in printed electronics, especially in the automotive industry, consumer electronics, healthcare / well-being, smart buildings, printing and packaging, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Each of these industry sectors implements solutions from a wide range of technologies.  For example, products based on curved displays, OLEDs, OPVs, touchscreens, and sensors can all be found in the automotive sector. The progress of printed electronics into these sectors indicates their acceptance as just another tool in the box.

Printed electronics is a rapidly growing industry.  In 2018, sales of products including printed electronics topped USD $28 billion, with a predicted global annual growth rate of 14%.  The largest share of the market is currently Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays, a strong, fast-growing area.  Young, niche markets include organic photovoltaics (OPVs), OLED lighting and In Mold Electronics (IME).






Different printing methods can be used to create these new electronic applications (Screen printing, Ink Jet, flexography, …). Each printing methods shows differences in terms of performances and production speed.

Screen-printing is one of the oldest printing methods and have been there for over 100 years. Just like all the industries, there has been an evolution with advancements in technology. Digital printing is one of the latest advancements in the printing industry and was created in the early 90’s. The main difference between screen-printing and digital printing is that the digital printing process allows designs to be made on the computer and then printed directly.






The development of IoT, sensors and smaller electronic devices pushes printed electronic manufacturing towards its limit. Form factor reduction is a must, and screen-printed electronics require now finer printed lines as well as thinner substrates.

When targeting fine lines, current products show their limits: strong resistivity, poor homogeneity, step effect for multilayer printing.

 

To decrease device thickness,  substrate choice is a key parameter. Reduction of substrate thickness below 50µm, down to thickness such as 25µm, allows new applications. It is today limited by substrate surface waves resulting from adhesion during curing, but also by material thickness and dielectric passes.