As the leading exhibition and most important conference for printed electronics, LOPEC is both catalyst and information platform for the entire industry—365 days a year. With regular web seminars, for example, LOPEC enables exhibitors and visitors to exchange information digitally. With over 190 participants, the second edition of the web seminar series was successfully held on September 10. On the subject of Printed electronics in 3D: Applications in the automotive and avionics industries, experts presented new solutions and applications. In the following, you will find a summary of the presentations:
From sensors in passenger seats to electrochromic windows to ultra-flat touch screens in the cockpit: The LOPEC focus topic Mobility shows that numerous applications of printed electronics are already in use or will soon go into serial production. Wolfgang Mildner, General Chair of LOPEC, outlined the advantages of using the technology during his opening presentation:
Sensors, lighting, data processing—the car of tomorrow will be equipped with an increasing number of sophisticated additional electronic functions. Printed electronics is the best way to implement this integration – and with great freedom in design.
At the beginning of the web seminar, Ashutosh Tomar (Jaguar Land Rover) emphasized the expectations of consumers regarding the future of mobility. They are no longer just asking for a means of transport but expect their digital lives to be reflected in it as well. According to Tomar, the importance of printed electronics for the automotive industry is thus increasing significantly, because the technology offers crucial added value. Take the cabling of the individual computer systems, for example: Nowadays, the cabling of the up to 80 different computer systems in a vehicle is complex, involving high weight and presenting an obstacle to passenger comfort. According to Tomar, this is where printed electronics come in. They can be integrated into soft surfaces such as fabrics, as well as through in-mold processes and 3D printing. The most important principle for Tomar is:
Printed electronics is essential. Because our designers should be free in their design of the vehicles and should not be restricted by the electronics in the background.
Dr. Erhard Barho (Contintental) explained different approaches to surface construction. He underlines Tomar's view on consumer perceptions with regard to what they expect from vehicles: autonomous driving, personalization and sustainability are the predominant issues today. In his work, Dr. Barho has dedicated himself to integrated Human Machine Interfaces (HMI). The vision: a stripped-down cockpit without compromising on functionality. In his opinion, printed electronics is the key to making this vision a reality. The company planned to demonstrate how far Continental has already progressed in this direction at LOPEC 2020. They would have presented the prototype for a cockpit with printed speakers, displays, touchpad, heating elements, LEDs and transparent surfaces. Dr. Bahro has a clear message for the future:
The task for all those involved is to make greater use of printed electronics in HMI and automotive so that even more applications can go into serial production.
Jan Fröhlich (Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg) presented research on electrically functionalized elements in aviation. The impetus for his research came from the Airbus 320, which nowadays contains copper wires with a total length of 100 km. Problem: The cabling not only requires complicated manual assembly but also leads to high weight and large space requirement. The first research projects therefore included printed heaters and touchscreens in order to reduce cabling replacing it with printed switch circuits. The long-term goal is to integrate printed sensors and antenna systems into cabin panels. With an eye to the future, Fröhlich is optimistic:
The high demand for integrated sensors and antenna systems clearly shows the need for printed electronics. Our task now is to work on reliable applications.
A collaborative effort is required when implementing new applications with printed electronics. This was also confirmed by the speakers. To find the right partner, LOPEC is the ideal platform, as experts from research to application meet and discuss current developments.
Further web seminars from the LOPEC Talk series: