ALT Technologies Visits LOPEC 2023 Trade Show

BY ALT Technologies | 10th March 2023

Following our visit to the Automotive Interiors Trade Show in November, ALT Technologies attended LOPEC, the printed electronics industry’s leading trade show.  

ALT Technologies attended the 2023 International Exhibition and Conference for the Printed Electronics Industry, LOPEC, at the International Congress Center in the Messe Munich. Our business development managers, Mario Schmid and Abdoulaye Ndoye took part in the three-day event to speak with the showcasing companies about the latest developments in automotive printed electronics.


Key Takeaways From LOPEC 2023

After the trade show, we spoke with Mario about his findings and what sparked their interest in the printed electronics realm. 

Printed Electronics Current Market Trends 

As the world of printed electronics opens up and becomes more accessible to everyday appliances, all technologies involved in the process are advancing rapidly. 

    • High-conductive copper inks: copper has long been used in printed electronics developments, with its plentiful supply and intrinsic high conductivity, which rivals silver ink’s capabilities.
    • Full flexible/elastic base materials (foils): Integrating flexible foils with printed devices enables solutions such as sensors, Si chips, and antennas to create improved automotive HMI solutions.
    • Elastic inks: Flexibility and elasticity are big themes for this year’s LOPEC show, and even inks such as silver and copper took precedence. 
    • IC (integrated circuits) and sensors (magnetic, thermal etc.) printing: A critical factor in IoT and smart systems is the ability to rapidly develop sensors and their circuits through 3D printing. 
    • Mechanical connectors: Connectors are a key function in sensor and circuit technologies. When transferring from a rigid to a flexible circuit board, you must consider what kind of connector will best suit your application. 


What Pain Points Are These Solutions Addressing?

A huge benefit of printed electronics is the ease of access to prototyping. Without needing a clean lab and energy-draining processes, you can hook up a 3D printer to your laptop and quickly and cost-effectively develop a prototype at your desk with flexible substrates. 

Another barrier with circuit boards was rigidity and product development, but now as flexible circuits take hold, their capabilities are expanding. The conductive inks enable even higher conductivity and fast drying (<2sec). This allows manufacturers to produce faster and more ongoing (roll to roll) because drying is integrated with the machinery and process.


Stand-Out Solutions 

Connectors such as ZIF (zero insertion force) are commonly used to connect flex circuit boards with rigid boards, but other mechanical solutions such as crimp contacts and interposer connectors are coming to the fore. 

The machinery and processes used to develop printed electronics solutions are advancing rapidly. The varying possibilities to produce FPE (flexible printed electronics) depend on the customers’ needs. This spans the type of ink used, adding different ink, milling, lasering, and cutting copper or other metals on the surface. 

The wide range of printing solutions adds even more value to the end products; sensors, IC, and NFC capabilities. 

The standout solution for Mario was the multilayer FPC (flexible printed circuit) used in air conditioning units with integrated touch and slide functions to easily adjust the temperature. 


An Intriguing Outcome

The LOPEC show gave our team a lot of food for thought and inspiration in the printed electronics realm. The capabilities for printing and developing flexible materials and substrates are at an all-time high, and we are excited to play a part in this area. Our experience working with and developing strong and durable material solutions allows us to broaden our range to include printed electronics. If you have an idea about a particular printed electronics solution that you would like to discuss, please get in touch with us today.




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