Featured post: Whether it’s LEDs on soft-drink bottles or forgery-proof RFID labels on spirits, smart labels are making their way into the beverage industry. Experts at drinktec – and those who will be present six months later at LOPEC, the International Exhibition and Conference for the Printed Electronics Industry – will explain the opportunities offered by printed electronics.
Cross-sector trend: printed electronics
Wolfgang Mildner, General Chair of the LOPEC Congress and CEO of the consulting and technology company MSW, knows the benefits of printed electronics for the packaging industry. “Many sectors already use printed electronic components. The thin, lightweight and flexible elements can be integrated perfectly into packaging. We are also seeing the first applications of this in the beverage industry.”
At drinktec, Wolfgang Mildner will also look at the potential of printed electronics for beverage and liquid food manufacturers. He will give a presentation on “Intelligent packaging with the help of printed electronics” at the drinktec Forum from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on September 14. Also on the program is a presentation given by PragmatIC from Cambridge, England, in addition to a panel discussion. This session at the drinktec Forum is being organized by OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association) – the industry association and LOPEC co-organizer.
Printed electronics: The new approach to packaging
Packaging is no longer simply used to wrap up products, but is being implemented for an increasing variety of purposes. A Spanish wine producer recently attached printed near-field communication tags (NFC tags) from the Norway-based LOPEC exhibitor Thin Film Electronics to 126,000 wine bottles. When customers hold an NFC-enabled smartphone close to the tag, they receive information about a competition hosted by the wine producer. And organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are also opening up new avenues for product marketing. If packaging flashes when a customer passes a supermarket shelf, it’s sure to attract attention.
However, printed electronics in the beverage and food sector is far more than just an advertising tool. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags, for example, simplify supply change management by storing information about the entire value and supply chain. Printed temperature sensors also provide information when the refrigeration chain for delicate goods is interrupted.
How printed electronics work
Organic electronics replaces materials used in conventional electronics with plastic. Instead of putting together circuits in the usual way, these can be printed on paper or foil using liquid, conductive plastic or silver inks. The advantages are obvious: Organic and printed electronics are thin, lightweight, flexible, robust and inexpensive. It therefore offers new freedoms in terms of technology and design, and is extremely versatile.
Experience the future: At LOPEC and drinktec
Although the technology has only just taken its first step toward mass production, it is already well established in many sectors – often without us even realizing it. OLED and e-ink displays can be found in smartphones, e-readers or smart watches. In the automotive industry, for example, printed sensors are used to detect whether seats are occupied, and OLEDs are used for tail lights. Printed electronics is also making inroads in the construction sector. Printed sensors are used, for example, in building materials to measure energy consumption.
Anyone who’s interested can witness the entire range of printed electronics as well as other practical examples at LOPEC from March 13 to 15, 2018. And at the upcoming drinktec, LOPEC will provide insights into printed electronics for beverage and liquid food manufacturers during the drinktec Forum. The drinktec Forum is the place to be for visitors on the lookout for inspiration and new ideas. All the presentations during the Forum are included in the entrance fee and will be simultaneously interpreted into English and German.