Thursday, November 8, 2012
Printed electronics to enable $6.2 billion in product sales by 2017
USA: A major revival of printed electronics (PE) is underway and industry analyst firm NanoMarkets has issued a report titled, "Printed Electronics Version 3.0: A Market Forecast," identifying the key opportunities that PE now presents.
According to this report, revenues from PE-enabled products will reach $6.2 billion by 2017.
Printed electronics originally meant thick-film electronics (PE V1.0). But nearly a decade ago, the idea emerged that the printing more complex circuitry would lead to PE becoming a massive new industry. The goals of this earlier phase of PE (PE V2.0) proved too ambitious; it failed to connect to genuine user needs.
NanoMarkets says that the latest phase of PE (PE V3.0) will be characterized by cooperation between all levels of the PE value chain; including end users. It will focus on smart packaging, smartcards, interactive printed media, disposable electronics, mobile and TV displays, lighting and solar panels. PE will never become the huge industry once hoped for. Instead PE V3.0 will be an important enabler for several applications and a profitable niche business in its own right.
The report quantifies these opportunities in terms of revenues generated by PE V3.0 at three levels of the value chain. In addition, to an eight-year forecast of PE-enabled products, the report also contains projections of PE components and specialist inks. The components covered are thin-film transistors, memories, batteries, sensors, displays and lighting.
The organizations discussed include: Agilent, Bank of America, Bemis, DuPont Teijin, eBay, E Ink, Enfucell, Esquire Magazine, Fujifilm Dimatix, GE, Gemalto, HelioVolt, Holst Centre, ISET, Jenn Feng, Kovio, MasterCard, Merck, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Nanosolar, Oxford Photovoltaics, PARC, Pioneer, PolyIC, PragmaticIC, Pragmatic Printing, Plastic Logic, Printed Electronics Limited, Qolpac, Samsung, Seiko Epson, SolarPrint, Sumitomo, Thin Film Electronics, Tokyo Electron, and UDC.
Two of the most significant PE components in terms of revenue will be displays and batteries. Together, they are expected to produce more than $1.8 billion in revenues in 2017. Smartcards, powered by printed batteries and equipped with printed displays are already providing enhanced security for eBay and MasterCard accounts. Most of the frontplanes for e-reader displays are fabricated using a printing like process. NanoMarkets sees the printed displays market taking a great leap forward as some of the many attempts to solution process OLEDs become successful.
PE-enabled smart packaging will also see a surge, reaching more than $0.6 billion by 2017. NanoMarkets believes the most profitable and fastest way for the PE industry to get into the smart packaging space will be by providing enhanced brand image and brand security capabilities. Pharmaceutical packaging is a longer-term opportunity driven by aging populations in the West and in Japan.
Functional ink makers will also benefit from PE V3.0, with sales of such inks reaching well over a $1 billion by 2017. However, NanoMarkets says, despite interesting innovations such as printed silicon and printing PE on paper, the revenues will initially be generated using materials that can now be considered as technologically mature. After so many disappointments, the PE community will be more cautious this time.