LOPEC 2021: Flexible and printed electronics continues its course for success


From 23 to 25 March, LOPEC was held as an online event. In 180 contributions, the speakers of the digital Conference and more than 70 companies at the online exhibition presented groundbreaking developments in printed electronics. Numerous user industries, such as the automotive, textile and entertainment sectors, are drawing on the potential of this technology. In the medical and pharmaceuticals sectors, in particular, a tremendous surge in development became evident.

Following the three-day online event, Messe München managing director Falk Senger gave a positive summary: “Participation of more than 70 exhibitors and 1300 international attendees at LOPEC 2021 demonstrated the importance of a digital meeting point for the industry this year. We are pleased that the online format was so well received. For next year, however, we hope to be able to welcome our exhibitors and visitors back on site in Munich.”

Dr Klaus Hecker, managing director of OE-A, is also very satisfied with the results: “Following a decline in sales last year, the printed electronics industry is now very optimistic about the future. This confident mood and the desire for exchange and continued development was also reflected at this year’s LOPEC. I was particularly impressed by the developments in the medical and pharmaceuticals sectors. Our industry has the potential to revolutionise healthcare.”

Lightweight, robust, flexible: Various industry sectors rely on organic and printed electronics because of these properties. The digital Conference and the online exhibition provided the setting for the presentation of numerous new developments in connection with the focus topic Smart Living, from ultra-thin sensors to smart textiles to building-integrated photovoltaics. In the medical sector, the focus is particularly on sensors for monitoring systems that are worn on the skin like band-aids. Prof John A. Rogers of Northwestern University elaborated on the benefits of the technology in his plenary lecture: “Thanks to its properties, printed electronics is compatible with the soft, curved, and dynamic surfaces of the human body. In close contact with the skin, they form an ideal interface for diagnostics and therapies.”

Further applications and products in the field of medical sensor technology were presented by exhibitors including Brewer Science, Henkel, IEE and Quad. Moreover, Evonik, in collaboration with InnovationLab, presented a sustainable battery concept. With printed batteries, sensors can be worn on the skin even more comfortably.

The automotive industry also relies heavily on printed electronics. Due to their properties including low weight, printed sensors play a major role in the growing e-mobile sector for battery management and temperature measurement applications. Another trend topic: curved, large displays spanning the entire dashboard as well as the functionalisation of surfaces through touch sensors. Conference presentations, including those from Heraeus, MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions, Novares und TactoTek, focused on the topics of 3D structural electronics and additive manufacturing. In the online exhibition, too, various companies such as Agfa, Chasm, DuPont Teijin Films, Elantas and Joanneum Research showed innovative solutions for mobility applications.

This year, the LOPEC Conference once again proved its position as the most important communication platform for printed electronics. Interest in the presentations was invariably high. The number of attendees of the digital Conference was at the same level as at the last event with physical attendance in Munich. Wolfgang Mildner, general chair of LOPEC, emphasised: “Speakers from well-established companies such as Audi, Google, Swarovski or TCL Corporation as well as renowned researchers from CPI, Fraunhofer, Holst Centre or VTT, among others, clearly demonstrate: The Conference is a globally unrivalled platform that promotes the exchange on flexible and printed electronics across all industries. From application to research, it provides important impetus for new products and solutions.”

Speakers from 24 countries presented innovations and future trends in about 180 Conference presentations.

In the digital exhibition, 72 exhibitors from 14 countries presented printed electronics solutions and products. Over the tree days, 1300 attendees from 51 countries made use of the offerings of the LOPEC platform.

The exhibitor information is now available in the industry directory free of charge for 365 days. Attendees with a Conference ticket will have access to all presentations until 9 May 2021, both as video on demand and as PDF files for download.

Caption: Dr Klaus Hecker, managing director of OE-A: “The desire for exchange and continued development was reflected at this year’s LOPEC” (photo: Messe München)

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