Manufacturers Convene at Carestream Advanced Materials to Discuss the Future of Printed Electronics

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Spring OE-A working group meeting shines light on current obstacles and the path forward for printed and flexible electronics

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The future of electronics is flexible devices and our FLEXX Films offer a promising solution to a variety of manufacturers.

Carestream Advanced Materials helped advance the future of printed and flexible electronics by hosting the OE-A’s (Organic and Printed Electronics Association) 22nd North American Working Group Meeting April 16-17, 2015 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The meeting brought together nearly 50 manufacturers of films, coatings, inks, equipment and components looking for information, ideas and partnerships.

“We expect a successful year in 2015,” said Barbara Fisher, regional manager of OE-A in North America. “Eighty-eight percent of our members expect an increase in the printed electronics industry this year. The focus is on major industries including pharmaceutical, automotive, consumer electronics, packaging, printing and energy.”

OE-A shared the findings of its third annual Business Climate Survey with working group attendees. Other survey insights reveal that OE-A members anticipate an 11 percent increase in revenue in 2015, and expanded investment in research and development, production and workforce.

Carestream Advanced Materials, which hosted the meeting at its corporate and R&D facility in St. Paul, Minn., provided attendees with insights into the development of its FLEXX silver nanowire (AgNW)-based transparent conductive films. FLEXX Films are enabling new products—such as touch sensors for 42-inch gaming devices—and are well suited to flexible and printed electronics applications.

“We’re continuing to work to further stabilize our nanowires so we can offer even greater value to our customers who are developing touch technologies and often, next-generation devices,” said Paul Herro, general manager for Carestream Advanced Materials. “The future of electronics is flexible devices and our FLEXX Films offer a promising solution to a variety of manufacturers.”

Carestream applications engineer Andrew Fried addressed the industry’s concerns about silver migration. He shared Carestream’s test procedures and results when comparing silver migration of FLEXX Films and other TCF alternatives. The testing showed passing results for AgNW operating touch modules (active IC) tested at elevated temperature and humidity. Additional results were shared related to an internal test method Carestream has developed to directly expose the TCF to moisture, elevated temperature and an applied bias in which the stabilized AgNW film demonstrated stronger performance than the tested competitive technologies.

Genes’ Ink, a nanosolution provider based in Rousset, France, presented one of its latest developments for printed electronics—an ink jet printer developed in partnership with Kelenn Technology that features its silver nano particles.

“This partnership has allowed us give our customers an ink jet solution that’s ready for market,” said Corinne Versini, CEO of Genes’ Ink.

Scott Gordon, business development manager for DuPont Teijin Films™, provided his perspective on polyester films for next-generation flexible electronics. DuPont offers a variety of commercially available films, including several currently used in touch-screen applications.

“There are many flexible electronics applications, leading to a variety of substrate requirements,” said Gordon. “We believe PET and PEN polyester films offer a good balance of processing temperatures, performance and cost.”

The discussion at the OE-A working group meeting also centered on end-user perspectives and what manufacturers can do to leverage successes in touch screens for a broader range of emerging applications in flexible and printed electronics. While the consumer display space gets most of the attention today, Stan Farnsworth, vice chairman of OE-A North America, suggested exploring niche markets—heavy industrial, military, aircraft—as a launching point into other areas.

Dr. David G. Sime, Ph.D, director of Technology Programs for Savage, Minn.-based Soligie® Printed Electronics, shared his insight on end-user profiles and their criteria for technology and partnerships. Soligie provides design services, prototype fabrication, product development and manufacturing to the flexible electronics industry. Sime said end-users are typically focused on functionality, affordability and reliability. To meet these end-user needs, he recommends a hybrid manufacturing approach—printing what can be printed and attaching what cannot.


About OE-A
The OE-A is the leading international industry association for organic electronics and printed electronics and represents the entire value chain of this emerging industry. Our members are world-class global companies and institutions, ranging from R&D institutes, component and material suppliers to producers and end-users. More than 230 companies from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia are working together to promote the establishment of a competitive production infrastructure for organic electronics and printed electronics. The OE-A was founded in December 2004 and is a working group within the VDMA (German Engineering Federation).

About Carestream Advanced Materials
We enable the future of touch with a broad portfolio of FLEXX Transparent Conductive Films. Our silver nanowire-based films are designed to streamline manufacturing processes, reduce device costs and improve the end-user experience. Our technology enables advanced applications, including larger displays, single-layer multi-touch functionality, borderless designs, flexible devices and wearable electronics. High-volume production facilities and distribution centers throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas ensure continuous product availability. Carestream Advanced Materials is a division of Carestream, a leader in dental and medical imaging systems, medical IT solutions and X-ray imaging systems for non-destructive testing. The company has more than 7,300 employees worldwide and a service network that covers 150 countries.

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