Component Management

The role of printing in a new era of electronics

21st January 2019
Joe Bush

Printing will be an enabler for mass customisation of electronics for the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices that will fuse form and function in new ways. This is according to Dr Janos Veres, who leads the Novel and Printed Electronics Program at PARC research centre in Silicon Valley. Dr Veres will be presenting a keynote session at this week’s Innovations in Large-Area Electronics 2019 conference (innoLAE2019) in Cambridge, which will run from 22nd-23rd January.

“Electronics is entering a new era in which we need to go beyond mass production and begin to address unique, customised devices that are made on-demand,” said Dr Veres. “Wearables, automotive and a vast range of IoT applications cannot be served by traditional ‘electronics in a box’ solutions and a key enabler for this transition is flexible and conformal electronics.”

For the last couple of decades printed and flexible electronics have been viewed as a low-cost manufacturing option for mass products such as displays and RFID. The challenge of delivering cost and performance in competition with well-established products has been significant. More recently, developments in flexible, printed and hybrid electronics have been shown to deliver unique, often niche products, where unique form factors and tight integration of electronics will benefit from a digital, additive manufacturing infrastructure.

Dr Veres and his team at PARC are exploring 2D and 3D printing and large area processes for electronic devices to merge form and function. By combining novel materials, device designs and unique deposition processes, it becomes possible to print flexible circuits, sensors, memory and hybrid electronic systems.

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