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PCB-Aug2014

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32 The PCB Magazine • August 2014 f e a t u r e Introduction For a while now, the term "printed electron- ics" has been used freely, though many people don't have the full picture of what this industry is all about. Printed electronics (PE) is a plat- form for bringing down the production costs of electronic devices so that they can be incorpo- rated or sold to the item level (e.g., cereal boxes, battery packs, POP displays, etc.). Incorporat- ing devices such as electroluminescent displays can help grab consumers' attention. Integrat- ing an RFID tag into a box can inform a con- sumer about the product's ingredients, vitamin content, and upcoming offers related to that particular product.. Having said that, all of the electronics that are incorporated into a product have to be inexpensive enough that the packag- ing, along with the electronics, can be disposed of after the product is used. Several factors can drive down the cost of these devices, such as the use of inexpensive substrates. Such surfaces as PET, PEN, paper, and textiles are all relatively inexpensive and lend well to the next factor that can drive cost down, and that is the printing process. One of the main cost-saving goals for PE is to move towards a fully additive printing pro- cess. What this means is that the material is only printed in the places where it is functional. There is no masking process where material is removed after such steps as etching. This pro- duces a cost savings in not just the labor and material aspect, but it also allows for the device to be manufactured with roll-to-roll processes. The rapid production rates enabled by this pro- cess allow for a potentially large cost savings in manufacturing, as well as being able to utilize the flexible nature of the inexpensive substrates. by Josh Goldberg taIYo aMerIca Inc. Piezoelectric, Pyroelectric, and Ferroelectric Materials for Printed Electronics

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