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34 SMT Magazine • August 2014 there is still a need to have the entire process roll-to-roll compatible. Certain steps in the pro- duction line, such as atomic layer deposition, have traditionally been incompatible with roll- to-roll processes, but there have been efforts to develop atomic layer deposition (ALD) systems for industrial scale manufacturing that use this process by companies like Finland-based Beneq and Picosun. Key applications for Printed Electronics Because printed electronics generate low- cost devices, the profitability of companies will be substantial only if they cater to mass mar- kets. Perhaps the most common usage of print- ed electronics is in the manufacturing of low- cost radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that can be used in innumerable industries and can be a disruptive technology for the currently widely-used technology of barcodes. Printed sensors are another major application area for printed electronics where volume production will drive profitability of companies. For appli- cations requiring disposable sensors, the key is to mass manufacture at a low-cost, and printing technologies will enable this. In terms of revenue, the maximum poten- tial currently lies in the field of printed displays, lighting, and organic photovoltaics. Printed dis- plays are in the emerging stage with an ecosys- tem consisting of a significant number of com- panies and research institutes that are actively investing in R&D to improve the technology. The major focus areas include efficient manu- facturing methods, improved lifespan and dis- play quality. Printed displays were initially ap- plied for small-screen applications, such as mo- bile phones, digital media devices, and cameras, due to their higher fabrication cost. With lower manufacturing costs, increased penetration will be seen in large-screen applications such as high-end televisions, digital displays, signage, and so on. Electroluminescent and organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays offer high tech- PE: tRaDItIONaL PROCEssEs ENaBLINg NEXt-gENERatION ELECtRONICs continues FEaTuRE Figure 1: global printed electronics equipment market, 2010. (Source: Frost & Sullivan Analysis)

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