Printed, flexible and organic electronics will enjoy a solid growth over the next decade says IDTechEx
May 21, 2013 // Julien Happich
In its latest report on printed, flexible and organic electronics, IDTechEx expects the total market for these technologies to grow from USD16.04 billion in 2013 to USD76.79 billion in 2023, in effect showing a healthy 15% compounded annual growth rate over the next decade.
The sector includes profitable large sectors, the majority being OLEDs (organic but not printed) and conductive ink used for a wide range of applications. On the other hand, stretchable electronics, logic and memory, thin film sensors and other components are much smaller segments today, just emerging from R&D.
A snapshot view of the technologies, development time, 2013 market size and general sector profitability and short term growth is shown below.
Table 1. State of commercialization of printed, organic and flexible electronics in 2013.
Source: Printed, Organic & Flexible Electronics: Forecasts, Players & Opportunities 2013-2023”. Note that in some cases above the value of the film is included and not the module value – see the report for more detail.
Billion-dollar sale successes
So far there have been three billion-dollar sales successes; OLEDs, e-paper and conductive ink. OLEDs are seeing continual adoption in cellphones and OLED TV sales have begun this year. IDTechEx see much movement in the display sector, as panel makers try and distance themselves from losses in the LCD industry, caused by new competition from China, and seek to differentiate. The landscape will change with some East Asian countries potentially unable to afford extensive R&D in OLEDs such as Taiwan and new entrants, such as China. E-paper sales have declined as e-reader sales have declined. To reach that sales peak again new markets are being explored as is colour, video capable bistable displays.
IDTechEx find that the overall conductive ink market size is in decline this year as it was last year, due to less use in the photovoltaic market. However, thereafter the market will increase again as the PV sector shakes-out and other markets for conductive inks continue to grow.
Companies reposition for profitability
Some companies have survived ten years without making substantial sales or any profit. Some of these are now repositioning from trying to do something very difficult, such as replacing complete existing devices, to simpler things, allowing them to move to market more quickly. Few can keep going after ten years of minimal sales. Examples of new focus include finely printed patterns for transparent conductive films (a $1.8 billion opportunity), improving the performance of lithium batteries (a $25 billion market), enabling supercapacitors for vehicles and consumer electronics ($0.8 billion in 2013) and adding 3D touch surfaces to many things, as Ford has done for its overhead consoles in some cars.
Some systems development but much more to be done
A few vendors are building ecosystems to develop complete systems – bringing together key enabling components and creating complete working devices. Watch Thinfilm, PARC, PST, PragmatIC and Soligie amongst others. For equipment manufacture it is notable that NovaCentrix and Muhlbauer have come together to provide a turnkey solution for RFID tag manufacture using copper ink for the tag antennas – now the purchaser does not have to try and build the disparate systems themselves. Still, there is quite a way to go. For example, even simply creating hybrid devices – part printed, part conventional on the same substrate is proving a challenge to automate.
The topic is broader than many people realize. There is strong interest in printed electronics enabling part of the Internet of Things vision; researchers are working on bringing together 3D printing with electronics; bioelectronics; touch surfaces everywhere and much more.
Visit IDTechEx at www.IDTechEx.com/peAll news
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Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturer Ciseco has launched the Raspberry Pi ‘Wireless Inventors Kit’ (RasWIK), featuring 88 pieces to provide everything a Pi owner needs to follow a series of step-by-step projects or to create their own wireless devices, without the need for configuration or even writing code.
RasWIK has been designed to be highly accessible, demystifying the dark art of wireless and enabling anyone with basic computing skills to begin building wireless devices with a Raspberry Pi. You can create anything from a simple traffic light, to a battery monitor, or even a temperature gauge that sends data to the Xively IoT cloud so billions can access the data.This month, Ciseco is giving away twelve Raspberry Pi Wireless Inventors kits, worth £49.99 each for EETimes Europe's readers to win.
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In our previous reader offer, Farsens was giving away five kits for EEtimes Europe readers to evaluate its FenixVortex, Kineo and X1 wireless, battery free sensor tags.
Lucky winners include Mr A. Neil from the UK, Mr. E. Delvaux from Belgium, Mr Lengal from the Czech Republic, Mr H. Bijlsma from the Netherlands, and Mr G. Pfaff from Germany. All should be receiving their packages soon. Lets wish them some interesting findings with their projects.
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