Analysis

Research material developments drive growth of FE industry

13th July 2017
Lanna Cooper

The Flexible Electronics (FE) industry is currently in a growth phase. Keen research and development activities, coupled with advanced material development, are propelling the creation of diverse enabled technologies.

The convergence of such technologies will enable FE manufacturing and revolutionise the semiconductor industry. Stakeholder efforts to address manufacturing challenges, such as refining techniques, scalability, high costs, and establishing industry standards across the value chain, will quicken adoption.

“FE technology is instrumental in the development of next-generation electronic devices. High functionality and flexibility are necessary in futuristic devices, where miniaturisation is driving developments,” noted Frost & Sullivan TechVision Senior Research Analyst Jabez Mendelson. “Potential future applications for FE include integrated photovoltaic, smart wearables, biomedical devices, displays, lighting, and military equipment.”

Manufacturing Innovations for Flexible Electronics is part of Frost & Sullivan’s TechVision (Microelectronics) Growth Partnership Subscription. This study presents a detailed picture of the trends, disruptive forces, patents, funding, research and development initiatives, innovations and competitive structures of flexible electronics technologies in Asia-Pacific (APAC), North America (NA) and European Union (EU). The insights will enable players to align themselves with the market trends and be early adopters of novel technologies.

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From a regional perspective, current developments in FE include:

  • Active patenting of innovations in APAC and NA;
  • A focus on flexible display and lighting segments in APAC;
  • Development of scalable manufacturing technologies for commercialisation in NA;
  • Major funding from the United States government for researching advanced manufacturing innovations and FE;
  • European Commission support for an array of consortiums with the intention of establishing FE manufacturing competencies in the EU region; and
  • Flexible photovoltaic and sensor application-based focus in EU.

“Smart textiles are expected to be early adopters of advancements in FE. Highly bendable sensors can be mounted on polymer-based flexible substrate and be woven into or embedded in fabric. Such smart fabrics can enhance aesthetic appeal or provide performance enhancements in sports management,” observed Frost & Sullivan TechVision Research Analyst Varun Babu.

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