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2014 Flexible & Printed Electronics Conference & Exhibition
Phoenix Convention Center, Phoeniz, Ariz.
February 4-6, 2014

Manufacturers and Supply Chain Companies Gear Up for Flexible Electronics

Flex Conference 2014 Completes Successful Run and Moves to Monterey in 2015

Supply chain advances are building the foundation for flexible, printed electronics, while volume manufacturers are quickly addressing their production challenges. These were the two takeaways from the 13th Flexible Electronics and Displays Conference & Exhibition, held February 4-6, 2014 in Phoenix, Ariz., sponsored by the FlexTech Alliance. World-class companies, government experts, and leading universities and R&D organizations shared the results of their efforts to commercialize this rapidly-expanding field.

The business and technical conference drew 100+ presentations and 600+ attendees from users of flexible, printed electronics and their supplier base. Experts from leading edge electronics companies joined with their counterparts from related industries to share insights. For example, Lorenzo Mora from Samsung Cheil Industries described progress in manufacturing flexible OLEDs. Mark Bohan, of the Printing Industries of America, explained state of the art in defect detection systems and how they could be applied to printing electronics.

A primary market for flexible electronics is wearable technology (WT). According to Anwar Mohammed of Flextronics, a plenary speaker, “WT requires mastery over multiple industry disciplines like garment making, printing, consumer goods, medical devices, semiconductors, sensors, power management, substrates, software, displays and much more.” Among the challenges he identified are integrating multiple sensors, different connectivity protocols and minimized power consumption – all onto a flexible substrate.

Davor Sutija, CEO of ThinFilm addressed two key emerging markets for flexible, printed electronics: Healthcare-to-the-Home and Mobile Logistics. Both present compelling business opportunities for “smart” packages and labels that can increase communications and information flow while dramatically reducing costs. A sub-segment of this market is sensors, which readily lend themselves to printing technology. IDTech Ex’s Harry Zervos noted that glucose strips are a $6B market already, and that gas, temperature, and x-ray sensors will help expand this application of flexible electronics.

New to the conference were sessions focused on nano-bio manufacturing. This is the result of R&D undertaken by the Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium (NBMC), formed in 2013 under FlexTech’s auspices. Conference exhibitors came from Asia, Europe, and North America, demonstrating the global reach of flexible, printed electronics. Overall attendance at the 13th annual event exceeded previous years by more than 10%.

Heidi Hoffman, Senior Director of the FlexTech Alliance, added, “The purposes of the Flex Conference are to facilitate partnerships, transfer information, and catalyze industry development as a whole. The combination of presentations, exhibits and networking has achieved our goals. FlexTech intends to leverage the excitement created by the conference to expand technical projects, member-benefits, and end-user outreach throughout 2014.”

At the conclusion of the conference FlexTech Alliance announced the re-election of Keith Rollins of DuPont Teijin Films as chairman of its Governing Board. Rollins is joined in the consortium’s leadership post by Jennifer Ernst, Executive Vice President of ThinFilm, who was elected vice-chair. Michael Ciesinski was re-appointed FlexTech’s CEO.

The 2015 Flex Conference is scheduled for February 23-26, 2015 at the Monterey Conference and Convention Center in Monterey, Calif.

For a full review of presentations at the conference, purchase the Conference proceedings from FlexTech. Contact us at +1.408.577.1300 or at www.flextech.org.

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