The focus topics at LOPEC 2018
Once again in 2018, LOPEC will offer in-depth insights by further focusing on industries which currently play a crucial role in the world of printed electronics.
Mobility: Increased comfort, reduced weight.
Lightweight, thin, flexible, and perfectly suited to mass production: Printed electronic components offer numerous advantages and open up new opportunities—especially in the automotive and aerospace industries.
From sensors and heating elements in passenger seats, electrochromic windows and mirrors, to ultra-flat touchscreens in the cockpit: Many of the potential printed electronics applications in the field of mobility are already in series production or are soon to become reality.
Printed heating elements, for example, will grow increasingly significant as electric cars become more and more popular. This is because, in comparison with gasoline and diesel engines, electric motors produce significantly less waste heat that can otherwise be used for heating purposes. Instead, super-flat printed heating elements could soon be used to ensure that the temperature inside the vehicle is perfect, positioned both in seats and behind door and side panels.
Another printed electronics application in the mobility sector sees windows and mirrors change their color tone at the touch of a button or via automatic control. This is achieved by an electrochromic layer printed on the back of the mirror or between the two flat glass panes, the permeability of which changes depending on the voltage. This allows for interior and exterior mirrors in the car to be darkened automatically as soon as they are affected by dazzling light from other vehicles. What's more, the driver can determine the desired tint level of the windows at the touch of a button. In certain new airplanes, passengers can now change the color of their windows from transparent to black at night.
Moving into the cockpit, printed electronics are set to make touchscreens integrated into curved surfaces a reality—allowing for completely new possibilities in terms of cockpit design. Switches and buttons will have finally become a thing of the past, eliminating the need for time-consuming wiring.
Outside the vehicles, luminaires with organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) will soon be more common. In the future, they will even be printed on film using organic materials, thus becoming flexible and adapting easily to curved shapes.
Printed electronics in the automotive and aviation industries
Would you like to find out more? We have summarized the highlights from the area of mobility in a short explanatory video!
Wellbeing: Monitoring and measuring 2.0
From fitness trackers to smart pharmaceutical packaging: In the all-encompassing field of wellbeing—which covers everything from medicine and hospitals, to promoting healthy lifestyles, sports, and leisure—printed electronics solutions are opening doors to completely new possibilities.
Wearables, smart textiles, pharma packaging: Today, the first printed electronics applications are either already here in readily available commercial products or are on the verge of making their breakthrough. In addition to technical progress, society's steadily increasing awareness of health is driving future developments and applications, especially in this segment.
Measuring and monitoring bodily functions, for example, is a highly dynamic area: Ultra-flat, ultra-flexible body sensors that communicate wirelessly enable much easier and significantly more comprehensive collection of important data and parameters—whether for improving athletic performance or for monitoring heartbeat and body temperature in hospitals and during treatments. As reasonably priced disposable sensors, they can also make some routine processes more efficient, especially in hospitals.
Known as "wearables," textiles with integrated sensors are being used more and more frequently for round the clock monitoring of patients, or as an all-in-one solution in the world of sports. Supplemented by a sewn-in flexible display—already a typical example of a printed electronics product—wearables can supplement additional devices on which users read the data, or even render them superfluous.
In the future, pharmaceutical packaging will be emblazoned with printed electronic labels. These labels will provide, for example, information about the individual ingredients of the medication, how long it can be kept for, or whether the cooling temperature has been reliably maintained—and all completely wirelessly. This will also make checking the correct dosage easier, increasing safety.
Smart blister packs that are connected to the smartphone via Bluetooth will support patients with the regular intake of their medication.
Light therapy is yet another avenue that printed electronics is set to explore, with the ultra-flat organic light-emitting diodes (or OLEDs, for short) that are already being implemented into series production by some manufacturers in the automotive industry, sure to find widespread use.
Printed electronics in the wellbeing segment
Our explanatory video gives a brief and concise insight into the concrete benefits and applications behind one of this year's two focus topics of LOPEC.