Printed electronics: On the road to success with innovations
In just a few weeks, LOPEC, the International Exhibition and Conference for the Printed Electronics Industry, will open its gates. From March 19 to 21, companies and research institutes from all over the world will be presenting their innovations along the entire value chain.
Printed lithium-ion batteries and an adhesive alarm tape for vehicles: These are just two of many novelties that visitors to LOPEC 2019 can look forward to. “In keeping with the success of printed electronics, we are seeing more exhibitor registrations than ever before,” explains Barbara Ismaier, LOPEC Exhibition Director at Messe München. On more than 1,600 square meters, over 160 exhibitors from 19 countries are going to present themselves.
From new inks to electrospinning
In Munich, the US company Creative Materials is going to present a conductive ink for direct printing on textiles. Even without a protective layer, the electronics produced with it are so robust that they can withstand 100 washing and drying cycles. The INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials in Saarbrücken, Germany, on the other hand, has developed a hybrid ink for printing circuits on paper or film. It contains both organic polymers and metallic nanoparticles.
The INM will also provide information on inkjet printing and other processes. Particularly exciting: By electrospinning, transparent, conductive nets of extremely fine fibers can be applied to glass. For the conventional entry into printed electronics, on the other hand, LOPEC exhibitor Coatema is offering compact machines that print on DIN A4 formats or by roll-to-roll processing. In addition to other plant manufacturers, companies such as Siemens, Polytec and M. Braun Inertgas-Systeme will be represented with plants for automation and process optimization.
Fit for the market
“The high level of maturity of printed electronics is reflected in the fact that LOPEC is presenting a larger number of concrete applications every year,” emphasizes Barbara Ismaier. Varta Microbattery is going to introduce several types of printed batteries: Within the scope of the EU INNPAPER project, the company is developing zinc-carbon batteries for paper-based electronics. Printed lithium-ion batteries and rechargeable zinc air cells are also on display by Varta. Other highlights include the tape for theft protection of vehicles at the stand of Witte plusprint. It consists of a plastic fabric on the back of which electrical conducting paths are applied. When cut, it triggers an audible or visual alarm signal.
The exhibits from InnovationLab and KEX Knowledge Exchange are also of interest for the automotive industry: InnovationLab manufactures high throughput pressure sensors by printing. Integrated into car seats, they detect seat occupancy and remind the driver, for example, to fasten their seat belt. Kex is going to present a panel heating system for electric cars based on a transparent heating foil with a fine metallic net. 16 companies were involved in the development.
“Cooperation is crucial for the breakthrough of new technologies,” stresses Barbara Ismaier. “With LOPEC, we are bringing all the players together. We are delighted that, along with companies from all over the world, so many research institutes and networks are actively participating in LOPEC.” Several Fraunhofer Institutes, the Spanish Functional Print cluster, the Dutch Holst Centre, the Finnish research center VTT, the Canadian intelliFLEX Innovation Alliance, the Innovation Center for Organic Electronics at Yamagata University in Japan and many other institutions will be represented in Munich.
Further information and background data can be found at www.lopec.com
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