LOPEC 2018 – Interview with Dr Klaus Hecker about printed electronics, smart labels and more
GERMANY • Once a year in Munich, the LOPEC conference provided important stimuli for application, research and development. On the occasion of the 2018’ LOPEC exhibition, NarrowWebTech talked to Dr Klaus Hecker, managing director of OE-A, about this year exhibition, about smart labels and printed electronics in general.
LOPEC 2018 was once again a huge success for this year’ exhibition. About 2,500 participants from 51 countries attended the tenth edition of the international exhibition for printed electronics in Munich. From 13 to 15 March 2018, 153 exhibitors from 21 countries showcased their products and new developments. According to the organizer, the exhibition space increased by 6% compared with the previous year.
Although the automotive industry as well as the healthcare sector continues to be a strong driver in the development of new applications for printed electronics, smart labels are still a relevant part of printed electronics.
Dr Klaus Hecker, managing director of OE-A, explains how relevant these are and how the future of smart labels might look like.
NarrowWebTech: How relevant at smart labels for organic and printed electronics?
Dr Klaus Hecker: “Smart labels are an important application field for organic and printed electronics. Due to its flexibility, robustness and lightweight character, printed electronics can be seamlessly integrated into different types of labels.”
How does the market look like? Are smart labels already on the market?
Dr Klaus Hecker: “Several smart labels using this innovative technology are already on the market and are in mass-production, such as NFC labels for authentication, anti-counterfeit, as electronic seal as well as for customer interaction and brand enhancement.”
Which further potential do you see for printed electronics?
Dr Klaus Hecker: “On a large scale printed electronics are also being combined with silicon electronics, thereby creating a hybrid system to enable even more sophisticated functionalities. When, for example, integrating a printed antenna and a silicon chip into a label, it is possible to add security features to monitor environmental conditions such as temperature or to sense gases.”
What about the often named Internet of Things?
Dr Klaus Hecker: “It is expected that Internet of Things (IoT) will give a boost to smart labels. Printed electronics will play an important role in enabling the communication between everyday objects.”
In your opinion, how will smart labels further develop?
Dr Klaus Hecker: “As a next step, smart labels are being used for humans. As printed electronics can even be stretchable, you can wear electronics directly onto the human skin for, for example, long-term ECGs as well as heart rate or breathing monitoring. In the long term it is even expected to have smart band aids that monitor wound healing or are combined with flexible OLEDs for light therapy. This will change the way of medical treatment.
In general, from packaging and consumer electronics to medical and pharmaceutical, there are numerous industry sectors in which smart labels enabled by printed electronics increasingly come into play.”
This interview was conducted by NarrowWebTech editor Rosina Obermayer.