SMT, PCB Electronics Industry News

The "Tipping Point"

Feb 13, 2014

The LG G Flex curved smart phone.

The LG G Flex curved smart phone.

Sheet-2-Sheet or Roll-2-R0ll? Source: Applied Materials.

Sheet-2-Sheet or Roll-2-R0ll? Source: Applied Materials.

Dr Harry Zervos, Senior Technology Analyst, IDTechEx

2014 has only just began and already discussions abound on how  a "tipping point" has been reached in the field of printed and flexible electronics, a statement mostly backed by the significant interest and accompanying investment by LG and Samsung into the commercialisation of flexible displays. Fully flexible displays are still a few years away, but recently demonstrated devices on plastic substrates (but still encapsulated in rigid glass) by both Korean giants are the precursors of conformable ultra-thin OLEDs, which will be characterised by true flexibility and unsurpassed robustness.

In the same vein, Plastic Logic recently demonstrated a truly flexible, plastic, fully organic AMOLED display, developed in co-operation with Novaled. This was the first of a series of technology demonstrators during 2014, which will be part of each company's development of partnerships to enable the market for truly flexible, unbreakable AMOLED displays.

Unfortunately, encapsulation solutions are not quite there yet, which explains why the first displays on plastic substrates are still encapsulated in rigid glass. It also showcases the fact that "tipping points" do not happen simultaneously across the board for all technologies incorporated in a device. This is why there will be several generations of products in the next few years, until we see fully flexible form factors in consumer electronics. Taking the G Flex as an example of a first generation of a whole new type of device, other than the plastic display, it also carries a lot of other innovation that makes it stand out; a self-healing back cover, a curved battery that conforms to the shape of the platform, features that are already garnering praise.

Large form factors on their way

Larger form factor for electronics is on its way too, and manufacturing technologies will be changing further in order to accommodate it. Lithographic processes are ideal for smaller size displays (e.g. smartphone displays) with small pixel sizes but scaling up in order to accommodate larger displays is a challenge and will remain costly. In the case of larger panels, roll to roll processes have an advantage, given the fact that resolutions do not have to be so high and feature sizes do not need to be as small as in high-end smart phones.

Whether it's sheet to sheet or roll-to-roll when it comes to manufacturing technique for consumer electronics, the following graph from Applied Materials makes it all very clear: the balance between pixel density and panel size is really the deciding factor.

To understand tipping points as well as what's shaping the future of consumer electronics, IDTechEx is staging the 11th Printed Electronics Europe conference on the 1st and 2nd of April 2014, in Berlin, Germany, with presentations from companies such as Novaled, Applied Materials, Philips, OSRAM and many others. Innovation in materials, manufacturing and integration technology for electronics will take centre stage and as always, a major focus will be in the technology pull as expressed by adopters who make up an important part of the event.

Jun 26, 2014 -

Supercapacitors and Graphene Overtake Batteries: New Event

Mar 24, 2014 -

World's first flexible multi-functional timer to be distributed at Printed Electronics Europe

Jan 23, 2014 -

Printed Electronics Conference & Tradeshow - Register by 24 January for a 40% attendee discount.

Jan 16, 2014 -

IDTechEx Predicts New Shapes, Materials and Applications for Supercapacitors

Dec 10, 2013 -

IDTechEx Predicts the Total Hybrid & Pure Electric Vehicles Market will be US$334 Billion by 2023

Oct 21, 2013 -

Printed Sensors, a new focus at Printed Electronics USA

Jun 11, 2013 -

IDTechEx announces Printed Electronics Europe 2014 on 1-2 April

Jun 03, 2013 -

OLED Lighting developments in Japan

May 23, 2013 -

IDTechEx launches online Market Intelligence Portal

May 13, 2013 -

Printed Electronics in East Asia: Change of Direction

11 more news from IDTechEx, Inc. »

Feb 15, 2018 -

New LTE End-to-End Solution for Private Networks Meets Security, Latency Requirements for IoT and Industrial 4.0 ADLINK and MECSware to demonstrate Private LTE at Mobile World Congress

Feb 15, 2018 -

Altek Electronics, Inc. Purchases Ersa’s Smartflow Selective Soldering System

Feb 15, 2018 -

CalcuQuote and Sager Partner Up on Real Time Inventory Integration

Feb 14, 2018 -

SJ InnoTech introduces the low cost HP-520E Printer

Feb 14, 2018 -

Umut Tosun to Instruct Professional Development Course at IPC APEX 2018

Feb 14, 2018 -

John Hengst Joins Inovaxe as Regional Sales and Channel Partner Manager

Feb 14, 2018 -

optical control GmbH to Display SMD Counting Machine at APEX

Feb 14, 2018 -

Show Floor Sells Out for IPC APEX EXPO 2018

Feb 14, 2018 -

PDR Offers IPC 7711/7721 Rev. C Courses

Feb 14, 2018 -

Press Release: DA 150 High Temperature, Fast Cure Die Attach Adhesive Series Materials

See electronics manufacturing industry news »

The "Tipping Point" news release has been viewed 1017 times

Benchtop Fluid Dispenser

SMT Replacement Nozzles