The smart car

Printed electronics in the automotive industry

Printed electronic is already well established in the automotive industry. They are for example used as sensors or dimming elements in lighting applications. Their importance is only set to increase, with printed electronics being incorporated into applications ranging from operating elements and ADAS to ambient lighting.

The automotive industry was one of the first large-scale industrial sectors to recognize and utilize the potential of printed electronics. The technology has been used as standard for quite some time, for example in seats with printed sensors to register seat occupancy and heating elements to keep the passenger warm. Electrochromic mirror and glass roof elements change from light to dark, windows are frost-resistant and touch sensors facilitate passenger interaction while offering a seamless integration into dashboards.

A greater scope for design, higher efficiency, or luminosity can be delivered with the application of OLEDs. Designers often use them to create effective interior lighting. The use of OLEDs opens a new world of design possibilities - for example, tail and brake lights can be more creatively designed as well as placed and their depth can be reduced.

The future is looking very bright indeed for printed electronics in the automotive industry, an interesting example being flexible displays and screens that can be designed to fit the shape of the vehicle's dashboard. This means that instrument clusters can be seamlessly integrated into the cockpit.

Efforts are currently under way to develop carports with operational OPV to aid electromobility. This would on the one hand enable environmentally friendly vehicle charging and on the other hand allow for greater design scope, by creating charging stations that are also aesthetically pleasing.

OPV market

Volume production of printed organic photovoltaics is projected to increase a yearly rate of nearly 50 percent for 2016–21.

Source: The Future of High-Barrier Films and Coatings for Printed Electronics to 2021

OLEDs market

Consumption of large-area OLED displays is forecast to grow at a year-on-year rate of around 30 percent across the next five years

Volume production of OLED lighting is projected to grow at a yearly rate of nearly 75 percent from 2016–21

Source: The Future of High-Barrier Films and Coatings for Printed Electronics to 2021