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FlexTech launches user groups to advance electronics

16 Dec 2013

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FlexTech Alliance has formed user groups to advance the adoption of wearable electronics and disposable electronics into various industries. The initiative is undertaken in response to the growth of flexible electronics in the $1 billion printed electronics market. Flexible and printed electronics include toys and games, freshness sensors, body media, medical devices, applications in outer space, and high-speed communications. The technologies are impacting the ways companies develop products to improve services for clients and strengthen their position in the market.

These groups will open the doors to a library of integration knowledge on cutting-edge flexible and printed electronics manufacturing techniques and solutions to challenges that always occur when new ideas are applied to practical implementation. The user groups will promote exchanges of ideas on technology roadmaps and experiences in fielding products, create dialogue with supply chain companies, and facilitate pre- and non-competitive collaboration on promising technical developments.

"Cutting edge brands and users including GE, P&G, Bemis, adidas, and Lockheed Martin have publicly addressed or otherwise expressed interest in integrating flexible and printed (FPE) into new wearable and disposable products, including product packaging," FlexTech CEO Mike Ciesinski pointed out. "Creating a forum to listen to these and other leaders is essential to accelerate the successful integration of FPE into the widest range of industries possible. FlexTech invites all users—including some that have never considered this type of technology—to take a look at what we are going to accomplish with these users groups."

Flexible electronics are already incorporated into textiles, building materials, and other surfaces, like clothing that adapts to wearers' needs and monitors physiology. In the near future, these applications will create ubiquitous, human-scale environmental intelligence significantly affecting all of our lives. Today, printed electronics use existing graphics industry manufacturing capacity to produce square miles of circuitry at high speeds and vastly reduced costs that can be printed with nearly any method. Feature sizes in the 10-20 micron range make this the same as or better than microprocessors of 20 years ago. These disciplines have combined and continue to evolve as an entire new electronics sub-category: flexible and printed electronics (FPE).

NanoMarkets forecasts a $1.15 billion printed electronics market in 2014 growing to $16.7 billion in 2019, a 58 per cent CAGR. Existing and near-to-market applications include smart tags and labels, wearable biomedical sensors and imagers, printed batteries, printed displays, and printed toxicity and structural sensors.

To prepare for the users groups launch and programme, FlexTech is issuing a user survey. Results will be presented and discussed at the initial meeting, scheduled for February 6, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. Companies interested in the users groups are invited to take the survey.

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