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REPORT # Nano-035 PUBLISHED December 10, 2007
Disposable Electronics: The First Wave for Printed and Organic Electronics
  • Emerging Electronics

    Organic and printable electronics have been proposed for a wide variety of products that are both relatively low-cost and which have short product lives. Such products include smart packaging, smart cards and ticketing, smart textiles, medical disposable, cosmetic products, games toys and novelties.

    From the perspective of the technology developer and materials supplier, the "disposable electronics" sector is attractive because it offers a low cost entry point for a novel technology/materials approach. Performance and longevity requirements will typically not be that high. For example, manufacturing may be carried out without extensive capital costs; little need for clean rooms and specialized machinery. And organic and printable electronics holds out the promise of significant performance and brand enhancements such as more noticeable packaging, better security in credit cards, improved diagnostics. Clearly there exists an intersection between means, opportunity and interest.

    All this may sound idyllic to the technology developer facing the huge challenges of building complex displays and photovoltaic systems using printable and organic electronics. However, the disposable electronics market is challenging in different ways. Disposable electronics firms must often determine whether electronic performance enhancements - however easy to provide - are likely to find acceptance in the marketplace. They must often produce in very large quantities; smart cards and certain kind of packaging are examples here. And, they must also meet extremely demanding price points; RFIDs on soda bottle are a case in point here. None of these are easy goals to achieve.

    This report examines where the opportunities will lie for materials and device manufacturers and investors in the next eight years and what the requirements are for success. Chapter Two of the report reviews the various component technologies that are being developed using organic and printable electronics and focuses on the areas in which each of these technologies can enhance disposable electronics and discusses how manufacturing and materials evolution are enabling these technologies to be used in disposable electronics applications. Chapter Three takes a look at the production methods to create low-cost thin-film electronics and the materials that will be used in them. Chapter Four reviews all of the major applications of organic and printable electronics in the disposables sector and shows how this new kind of electronics can enhance brand identity and add features, functions and performance. It also analyzes which features are most likely to be in demand in the marketplace. Chapter 5 provides detailed forecasting of disposable electronics broken out in volume and value terms by applications, devices and materials.


    Executive Summary


      E.1 Introduction
      E.1.1 A Definition of Disposable Electronics
      E.1.2 A Very Brief History of Disposable Electronics
      E.2 Summary of Opportunities in Disposable Electronics
      E.2.1 RFID and Smart Packaging
      E.2.2 Smart Shelving
      E.2.3 Smartcards and Smart Tickets
      E.2.4 Smart Textiles
      E.2.5 Games, Gadgets and Gizmos
      E.2.6 Medical Products
      E.2.7 A Note on Lighting
      E.2.8 A Note on Power Sources
      E.3 Implications for Manufacturers and Technology Developers
      E.4 Implications for Materials Firms
      E.5 Firms to Watch
      E.6 Recent Developments
      E.7 Summary of Eight-Year Market Forecasts


    Chapter One: Introduction


      1.1 Background to this Report
      1.1.1 Disposable Electronics and TOP Electronics
      1.1.2 Opportunities and Challenges
      1.2 Goal and Scope of this Report
      1.3 Methodology and Information Sources for Report
      1.4 Plan of this Report


    Chapter Two: Materials and Fabrication Technologies


      2.1 Introduction
      2.2 Materials: Substrates
      2.2.1 Plastic Substrates
      2.2.2 Metal Foil Substrates
      2.2.3 Paper Substrates
      2.2.4 Textile Substrates
      2.2.5 Flexible Glass
      2.2.6 Flexible Silicon
      2.3 Materials: Inks and Other Materials
      2.3.1 Metallic Inks
      2.3.2 Organic Semiconductors and Inks
      2.3.3 Other Active Materials
      2.4 Fabrication Processes
      2.4.1 Screen Printing and Disposables
      2.4.2 Ink-jet and Disposables
      2.4.3 Spin Coating and Disposables
      2.4.4 Other Types of Printing and Disposables
      2.4.5 Vapor Deposition
      2.4.6 The Role of Roll-to-Roll
      2.4.7 Integrated Graphics and Electronics Printing
      2.5 Review of Major Points Considered in this Chapter


    Chapter Three: Technologies for Disposable Electronics


      3.1 Introduction
      3.2 Printed and Organic Thin-Film Transistors
      3.2.1 OTFT in Backplanes
      3.2.2 OTFT in RFID
      3.3 Printed and Organic Memories
      3.4 Printed and Organic Sensors
      3.5 Low-end OLEDs
      3.5.1 A Brief History of OLED Technology and its Role in Low-End Products
      3.5.2 The Add-Vision Approach
      3.6 E-Paper and Electrochromic Displays
      3.6.1 E-Paper to Date
      3.6.2 Technology and Materials Platforms
      3.6.3 E-Paper and Disposable Electronics
      3.6.4 Competition at the Low-End
      3.7 Lighting and Disposable Electronics
      3.7.1 OLED Lighting
      3.7.2 EL Lighting
      3.8 Thin-Film and Printable Power Sources
      3.8.1 The Economics of Printed/Thin-Film Batteries
      3.8.2 Disposables and Printed/Thin-Film Batteries
      3.9 Review of Major Points Considered in this Chapter


    Chapter Four: Disposable Electronics Applications and Markets


      4.1 Introduction
      4.2 Smart Packaging
      4.2.1 Food and Beverage Packaging
      4.2.2 Pharmaceutical Packaging
      4.2.3 Other Packaging
      4.3 Signage: Smart Shelves, Electronic Pricing Labels, and POP Displays
      4.4 Smartcards and Smart Tickets
      4.4.1 Security Enhancements
      4.4.2 Other Enhancements
      4.4.3 Smart Tickets
      4.5 Smart Textiles
      4.5.1 The Role of Printed and Organic Electronics
      4.5.2 Smart Textiles and Printable or Organic Sensors
      4.5.3 Electronics and Related Firms Targeting Smart Textiles
      4.5.4 Military Applications
      4.5.5 Fashion Aspects
      4.5.6 Other
      4.6 Medical Applications
      4.6.1 Diagnosis
      4.6.1 Therapeutics
      4.7 Games, Toys and Novelties
      4.7.1 Games
      4.7.2 Greeting Cards
      4.7.3 Novelties
      4.7.4 A Final Note on the Electronics Content of Toys and Games
      4.8 Review of Major Points Considered in this Chapter


    Chapter Five: Eight-Year Forecasts of Organic and Printable Lighting


      5.1 Forecasting Methodology
      5.2 RFID Tags
      5.3 Other Smart Packaging
      5.4 POP Displays
      5.5 Smartcards
      5.6 Medical Products
      5.7 Toys and Games
      5.8 Smart Textiles
      5.9 Market Summaries
      5.10 Materials and Production Forecast
      5.10.1 Forecast of Paper Substrates

    Abbreviations and Acronyms Used in this Report





    Exhibit E-1: Disposable Electronics: Types of Business Opportunity
    Exhibit E-2: Summary of TOP-Enabled Disposable Electronics, by Application: 2008-2015 ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 1-1: Emerging Opportunities in Disposable Electronics
    Exhibit 3-1: Applications for OTFTs
    Exhibit 3-2: OTFT Requirements for Selected Applications
    Exhibit 3-3: A Roadmap for Organic RFID Tags
    Exhibit 3-4: TFE's Partners
    Exhibit 3-5: Roadmap for Adoption of Sensors in Smart Packaging
    Exhibit 3-6: Overview of E-paper Technology
    Exhibit 3-7: List of Selected Companies in the Thin-Film Battery/Printed Battery Market
    Exhibit 5-1: RFID Markets: 2008-2015
    Exhibit 5-2: Non-RFID TOP Electronics Smart Packaging Markets: 2008-2015
    Exhibit 5-3: POP Displays and Related Markets: 2008-2015 ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 5-4: TOP-Enabled Smartcard Markets: 2008-2015 ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 5-5: TOP-Enabled Medical Electronics: 2008-2015
    Exhibit 5-6: TOP-Enabled Games, Toys and Greetings Card Markets: 2008-2015
    Exhibit 5-7: TOP-Enabled Smart Textile Markets: 2008-2015 ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 5-8: Summary of TOP-Enabled Disposable Electronics, by Application: 2008-2015 ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 5-9: Summary of TOP-Enabled Disposable Electronics, by Device: 2008-2015 ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 5-10: Summary of TOP-Enabled Disposable Electronics, by Materials: 2008-2015 ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 5-11: Paper Substrates by Device Type: 2008-2015 ($ Millions)


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