The Canadian Printable Electronics Industry Association (www.cpeia-acei.ca), the united voice of Canada’s Printable Electronics sector based in Ottawa, Ontario, has commenced operations. Consultations with key stakeholders in industry, government and academia revealed that current R&D and commercialization efforts alone are not sufficient to create a strong Canadian Printable Electronics (PE) sector. Several areas were identified where an industry association can significantly enhance the growth of PE in Canada.
The CPEIA’s mandate, said its first appointed Executive Director Peter Kallai (pictured previously), is to bring together key Canadian and international players in industry, academia and government to build a strong domestic PE sector. The Association will implement critical development strategies to facilitate growth through networking, stimulate R&D and investment, build a strong PE supply chain and drive the broad adoption of PE by end customers.
Close to 50 Canadian companies already have a business interest in PE. Three years ago, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) stepped up to drive the growth of the domestic sector by creating its PE Flagship research program. It also led the creation of the PE Consortium with 14 industry partners. The CPEIA is the next logical step in the evolution of PE in Canada.
Recruitment campaign underway
The CPEIA is actively recruiting members via its website. Any individual or organization with a vested interest in PE willing to participate in the growth of Canada’s PE sector will be a welcome addition to its membership. This includes end customers and end users of PE applications, start-ups and SMEs, university and government research labs, systems integrators and OEMs, and venture capitalists and angel groups. Membership is open to both Canadian and international organizations.
“A few years ago, many PE applications would have been considered science fiction,” said Kallai. “But not anymore. Government organizations, start-ups, OEMs and systems integrators around the world are investing billions of dollars in R&D to revolutionize existing products and create new ones with PE. It’s time for Canada to step up and stake its claim in this exciting, emerging market.”
Kallai is a senior high-tech executive and management consultant who has worked with more than 100 government organizations and growth-stage companies across Canada, and served on various boards. As V.P. of Strategic Analysis & Global Marketing, he helped a TSX-listed global communications company grow from $3.2 million to $100+ million in revenues, while increasing staff to 350.
Canada’s amazing Printable Electronics opportunities
PE combines new materials with cost-effective, large-area production processes that open up new fields of application. Conventional printing processes, such as screen printing, flexography, gravure and inkjet, are used to deposit conductive inks onto a variety of flexible substrates – such as plastics, papers and fabrics. The goal here is a whole new world of electronics that are low cost and consume little power. They can be disposable, biodegradable, flexible and even stretchable.
PE lies at the convergence of several industries in which Canada has a strong track record – advanced materials, micro-electronics, information and communications technologies, printing and advanced manufacturing. According to research firm IDTechEx, the global market for printed and potentially printable electronics will rise from about $24 billion (USD) in 2014 to $340 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 40%.
Some of the remarkable PE possibilities include:
• A sheet of paper that displays video and plays audio
• Biometrics to monitor your health, built into a shirt or even a disposable band-aid
• Smart labels on packaging that react to environmental changes
• Low-cost RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) transponders
• Displays that are flexible and can even be rolled up
• Flexible solar cells that can be incorporated into fabrics
• Batteries that can be printed
Fascinating PE technology already surrounds us
Some PE components are already around us. These include the biosensors in the disposable glucose test strips used by diabetes patients, embedded antennas for mobile devices, and touch displays. “Printable Electronics has the potential to change forever how we live, work and play,” said Leo Valiquette, CPEIA’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “For consumer electronics, PE makes possible ePaper, which promises to turn pages in a book or magazine into multimedia devices capable of video and audio playback. For packaging, PE components give us new ways to manage inventory, track items as they’re shipped, monitor environmental conditions and turn any form of packaging into a smart device, with labeling and tagging solutions that are capable of wireless communication in various ways. For secure printing, PE is the new weapon in the war against fraudsters and counterfeiters, to secure passports, banknotes, lottery tickets and various means to control property access and protect physical assets. We believe Canada has a big opportunity in this emerging global industry due to our strengths in micro-electronics, advanced manufacturing and printing and packaging,” Valiquette added.
CPEIA to exhibit at top PE Show in USA
The CPEIA is joining and promoting a delegation of Canadian companies with the NRC that will be exhibiting at the Printed Electronics USA 2014 Show and Conference. The largest event of its kind dedicated to PE runs November 19 and 20 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. If you’re attending, please visit the CPEIA at the Canadian Pavilion, Booth G18.