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LOPEC 2023: Here are the highlights for printed electronics

  • From cars that change their color to sensor tapes for detecting moisture in buildings
  • Organic solar cells for indoors and outdoors
  • Green electronics and smart production

LOPEC, the international exhibition and conference for flexible, organic and printed electronics, will open its doors at the ICM at Messe München from February 28 to March 2, 2023. Trade fair and conference will show how printed electronics boosts innovative strength across industries and points the way to more sustainability.

From the automotive industry to the health sector, and from smart living to the Internet of Things, practically every industry relies on printed electronics. No mega trend can do without the ultra-thin and flexible electronic components anymore. “Printed electronics has proven how easily it can be integrated into three-dimensional objects and its readiness for series production,” stresses Wolfgang Mildner, General Chair of LOPEC and CEO of the consulting and technology company MSWtech. “At LOPEC we can see an ever-growing range of applications for many different industries.” LOPEC exhibitor E Ink, for instance, not only enables e-readers but also smart surfaces for various purposes, as Dr. Edzer Huitema, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, will discuss in his plenary talk at the LOPEC Conference (February 28, 9 a.m., ICM Room 13b). For example, E Ink has developed electronic shelf labeling for supermarkets that uses hardly any electricity and puts an end to constantly having to reprint and exchange paper labels by hand.

E Ink is currently causing an even bigger stir with colorful car bodywork that can change its pattern at the touch of a button. The dynamic surfaces are also the focus of the conference presentation by Stella Clarke, engineer at BMW, who will be presenting the new BMW i Vision Dee with versatile bodywork (March 1, 11:30 a.m., ICM Room 13b). 

Inside the vehicles, printed electronics adds functionality to the surfaces of doors, steering wheel, central console and more with complete design freedom. The LOPEC Innovation Showcase will present 3D panels with integrated touch function, display, and illuminated elements from PolyIC and Tactotek. In addition, visitors to LOPEC can look forward to ultra-thin heating elements for e-cars, printed sensors for greater safety during autonomous driving, and many more innovations for tomorrow’s mobility.

Focus on Smart Living

Smart surfaces with printed sensors are also driving the Smart Living mega trend. Inks from LOPEC exhibitor Henkel can be used, for example, to print sensors that detect water leaks in buildings. Henkel’s cooperation partner LAIIER has developed a tape for building surfaces that detects even just a few drops of water under pipes or other installations and sends the data wirelessly to the cloud. At LOPEC, Henkel will also be presenting its new INKxperience Kit, which allows engineers to use different sensor technologies for leak detection and measuring liquids in a container, so that they can witness the potential of printed electronics for sustainable building management.

In the building sector, printed electronics is a crucial tool for achieving the climate goals. Among the highlights in the LOPEC Innovation Showcase are the large-area organic solar films from Heliatek. Thanks to an adhesive on the back, they can easily be attached to various surfaces and, with their connectors, simply be integrated into a solar system. Revolutionary organic photovoltaics can also be found at the Epishine booth: The company’s flexible ultra-thin indoor solar cells replace batteries or prolong their lifetime in low-power applications.

Green products and smart production

“There will be an even greater focus on sustainability at LOPEC 2023 than in the previous years,” says Wolfgang Mildner. “On the one hand, printed electronics makes green solutions possible and, on the other, ensures more environmentally friendly production methods.” Smart product and smart factory applications are the subject of the plenary talk by Max Morwind, Technical Director IoT EMEA at Microsoft (March 1, 9:40 a.m., ICM Room 14b). With the “Circular Economy and Green Electronics” session (March 1, 3 p.m., ICM Room 13a) and several talks on green electronics, sustainability will also be the common thread running through the conference program.

“For all technology leaders interested in obtaining extensive information about applications and the huge potential of printed electronics, LOPEC is a must”, says Exhibition Director Armin Wittmann. “After all, whether it’s material development, printing processes or installations, finished products or questions about sensor technology, data collection and processing, in its combination of trade fair and conference, LOPEC covers every possible aspect of printed electronics.”