Printed Electronics in Perspective


Reading time ( words)

Printed electronics have garnered a significant amount of press coverage over the last several years. What appears to have precipitated the explosion of interest in the middle of the last decade was a report that suggested that printed electronics would dominate electronic production by the mid-2020s with an annual market of over $300 billion. $300 billion is a big number and it not surprisingly captured a lot of attention. Since that announcement there has been a significant paring down of the market expectations to a number closer to one quarter the one projected earlier. It is, one can perhaps safely assume, an acknowledgement of the persistence of incumbent technologies. It seems clear to many knowledgeable observers that the potential of printed electronics was much more modest than early projections, but as Yogi Berra observed and has been often quoted, “Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future.”

The hyperbole surrounding the reports released in 2007 was met with some bemusement by those such as this writer, who having been first been involved in what would be called direct write printed electronics startup (using today’s broader definition) in 1990 had a different perception of the technology’s “newness.” Moreover, as one seeking to give credit where credit is due, it should be evident (if one puts in a bit of effort and does a little digging) that printed electronics is a technology that is arguably more than six decades old, thus predating my earlier company’s efforts by some 35 years.

The very first printed electronic circuits were called printed circuits because they were exactly that…printed, using conductive and resistive inks. Moreover, Xerox’s technology (then called the Haloid-Xerox Company) was applied to printing etch-resistant films for circuit production in the  mid-1950s and more than 45 years ago, there was demonstration of a printed transistor in roll-to-roll fashion by Westinghouse.

Read the full article here.


Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of SMT Magazine.

Share




Suggested Items

Today’s M&A: Right on Target

08/09/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
In this enlightening conversation with M&A specialist Tom Kastner, Nolan Johnson learns that it’s a buyer’s market—and a seller’s market too. This sets up an interesting dynamic no matter which side you might be on. What trends are in play that have led to this situation and how can you make the most of it? Tom shares valuable insights that will get you thinking and planning your own strategies.

Challenges of the 2022 PCB Market: The Party’s Over

08/08/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
With his knowledgeable insight into the business and technology of the printed circuit industry, Dr. Shiuh-Kao Chiang, managing partner at Prismark Partners, has put a global perspective on the challenges of the 2022 PCB market. His presentation at the EIPC Summer Conference in Orebro, Sweden, on June 14 was eagerly awaited by an attentive audience, keen to share his vision. From his comments, it was clear that 2022 will be an interesting year and does not appear particularly friendly for the PCB business.

Plating on Silver: What’s Old is New Again

07/07/2022 | Denis Jacques, Technic Inc.
About three decades ago, immersion silver, a nitrate-based process, gained a lot of market share in the world of PCB final finishes. More economical than ENIG, flat, solderable, and conductive, it had everything going for it—everything but corrosion resistance in a harsh environment, that is. Champagne voids were also an issue, along with line reduction. But the worst drawback, the characteristic that made the part short over time, was creep corrosion. A build-up of copper sulfide salt that grows in contact with a sulfur-rich environment, heat, and moisture resulted in failures in the field. This was enough to scar the process for good.



Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.