Printed electronics and nanotechnology: a great investment in Uteco future.

Established in 1985, Uteco Converting Spa has become the largest Italian manufacturer and one of the most important suppliers of equipment in the field of flexible packaging worldwide.

Uteco manufactures yearly 60 converting lines, with a turnover exceeding 70 Million Euro. Approximately 65% goes for export, which spans the five continents, reaching around 2.500 installation.

Further of being leader in flexographic technology, Uteco has considerable experience in various printing technologies, coating and laminating. Thanks to the division “Special Machines”, Uteco boasts a know-how that is applicable to enormous areas of the world of industry:

  • flexible films for the packaging industry
  • aluminum for food packaging
  • wood grain applications for furniture and automotive
  • banknotes printing, holograms and security applications
  • tobacco wrapping boxes

Thanks to the experience acquired with applications highly customized for leading clients in their own fields of reference, Uteco recently decided to invest in research in printed electronics.

Flexible organic photovoltaic cell.
(Source: Fraunhofer ISE)

This new technology platform will allow, through the use of innovative materials and with large-scale production processes and low in price, the production of electronic systems flexible, thin, lightweight low-cost and low environmental impact.

Printed electronics is a technology in growth for the manufacture of electronic devices on various materials such as paper, plastics, fabrics, etc. that uses inks electrically functional in combination with print jobs as standard offset, gravure and flexo .Printed electronics is in constant evolution since it has been shown to have the potential to bring a revolution in electronic applications. Initially emphasized the ability to produce many electronic devices more cheaply and more quickly than traditional circuits on the basis of silicon.The research and the manufacturing process can reduce the costs of a production plant, and also decrease the “time to market” of new products.

It is important to emphasize that there are huge benefits in terms of lightness and portability, however, the characteristic potentially revolutionary does not only exist in low-cost, or the ease of production or in the small size, but especially in their ability to facilitate applications not currently achievable and/or not economic with traditional techniques based on silicon, such as flexible display, smart labels, smart skin, photovoltaic applications, biomedical etc.. .. Printed electronics, then, has not only enhanced the existing markets, but is also creating new opportunities.

It is expected that the commercial production of printed electronics, which currently abuts on values of a few billion dollars, will increase up to tens of billions of dollars over the next 10 years.

By IDTechEx it is clear that the market for printed electronics and thin film stood at 1.65 billion dollars in grows at 2.2 billion dollars in 2011, and will be 12 billion dollars in 2016, and then 27 billion in 2019.

A first step in the development of nanotechnology for the definition of conductive inks/insulation suitable for printing R2R was concluded in the month of July and it was signed an agreement of collaboration and joint development with the Department of materials science and chemical engineering based in Turin. The agreement through various sub-projects has the goal of experience together with different compounds in order to define the one with the best features electrical/mechanical and identify the deposition techniques with the best ratio between quality/cost.

The program plans to expand the collaboration with partners specialized in technologies ranging from support materials to the precision of resolution and the treatments pre/post deposition .

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