Printed Electronics in Perspective


Reading time ( words)

Printed electronics have garnered a significant amount of press coverage over the last several years. What appears to have precipitated the explosion of interest in the middle of the last decade was a report that suggested that printed electronics would dominate electronic production by the mid-2020s with an annual market of over $300 billion. $300 billion is a big number and it not surprisingly captured a lot of attention. Since that announcement there has been a significant paring down of the market expectations to a number closer to one quarter the one projected earlier. It is, one can perhaps safely assume, an acknowledgement of the persistence of incumbent technologies. It seems clear to many knowledgeable observers that the potential of printed electronics was much more modest than early projections, but as Yogi Berra observed and has been often quoted, “Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future.”

The hyperbole surrounding the reports released in 2007 was met with some bemusement by those such as this writer, who having been first been involved in what would be called direct write printed electronics startup (using today’s broader definition) in 1990 had a different perception of the technology’s “newness.” Moreover, as one seeking to give credit where credit is due, it should be evident (if one puts in a bit of effort and does a little digging) that printed electronics is a technology that is arguably more than six decades old, thus predating my earlier company’s efforts by some 35 years.

The very first printed electronic circuits were called printed circuits because they were exactly that…printed, using conductive and resistive inks. Moreover, Xerox’s technology (then called the Haloid-Xerox Company) was applied to printing etch-resistant films for circuit production in the  mid-1950s and more than 45 years ago, there was demonstration of a printed transistor in roll-to-roll fashion by Westinghouse.

Read the full article here.


Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of SMT Magazine.

Share

Print


Suggested Items

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

04/16/2021 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
I’m sure it’s just me being hyperaware, but I can’t shake it: Mars is where it’s at right now. Is it just me, or do you get the same feeling from the news? There are the Mars rovers—three generations of them still rolling, now—and a drone helicopter winding up for a maiden flight any day now. But that’s not all. There’s SpaceX’s StarShip, rapid-prototyping its way into a manned flight to Mars. And NASA’s whole “return to the Moon” project is simply a shakedown for the U.S. government contractors’ Mars flight hardware, too.

Top Five Takeaways from IPC APEX EXPO 2021

04/15/2021 | Chris Mitchell, IPC VP, Global Government Relations
IPC APEX EXPO 2021, which went all virtual this year, exemplified how the electronics industry has responded to the COVID-19 global pandemic: with resiliency, agility, and an unwavering commitment to build electronics better. APEX EXPO featured great content and robust discussions on topics of critical importance to the global electronics industry. From my vantage point leading IPC’s government relations programs, here are my top five takeaways from this year’s event.

IPC Supporting Newcomers in the Industry: Notes from IPC APEX EXPO 2021

04/01/2021 | Marc Carter, Aeromarc
With the wrap-up of IPC APEX EXPO 2021, it was extremely gratifying to note the emphasis placed on getting young people involved to combat the “graying out” knowledge losses facing our industry. A part of that emphasis was reflected in the award ceremony on Tuesday, March 9, which featured some people you may have seen mentioned in my “Better to Light a Candle” columns.



Copyright © 2021 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.