Rising Dominance of Printed Electronics based Sensors

Printed Electronics flexible circuits

The development of printed electronics sensors to detect temperature, moisture, and pressure are important and interesting areas of work in traditional electronics. The industrial sector is especially dependent on sensors because they are useful for both equipment manufacturing and for monitoring systems. However, sensors are not only required in the industrial sector. Sensors are of utmost importance in medical industry as well to measure glucose and cholesterol. Electronics industries need sensors to create new wearable devices that measure heart rate and body heat.

Recent market research showed that the global industrial printed electronics sensor market will grow at a rate of more than 11% annually. Printed Electronics is indeed a boon to healthcare when integrated with Internet of Things (IoT) systems to record and monitor live data.

Linepro’s Printed Electronics division has dedicated R&D center to develop printed and flexible components. We develop sensors for multiple applications. Industrial printed sensors can be divided according to their applications into temperature sensors, pressure sensors, bio sensors and others.

Printed Electronics based temperature sensors

Wearable Temperature Sensors from printed electronics of Linepro
Printed Temperature Sensor backed by IoT for data recording

The main purpose of wireless temperature sensors is to monitor system functions such as control, protection, and calibration. These sensors are extremely accurate and reproducible, and do not require calibration or compensation. This market segment is occupied predominantly by end consumer segment like food and drinks, healthcare, automotive and HVAC sector. Temperature sensors are also widely used in chemical and petrochemical, oil & gas, energy generation installations.

Printed Flexible Pressure sensors or Force Sensing Resistors

Force sensing resistors made using printed electronics

A pressure sensor or force sensing resistor transforms a physical magnitude into electric magnitude. They convert a force per unit surface into a voltage equal to the pressure applied. Sensor networks will enable people to connect with electronic devices at any location and create a safer environment. A system that uses discrete sensors to provide network information, such as movement, is being developed.

Electrochemical sensors or Biosensors

Printed Electronics biosensors linepro
Printed and flexible skin patch also known as biosensors

Analytical instruments convert biological processes into electrical or optical signals, allowing them to be quantified. In clinical medicine, biotechnology research and biology, electrochemical sensors can be used to measure a variety of biological and physiological variables.

Flexible printed electronics used in the development of sensors

To ensure that different types of sensors have a long life expectancy, they need to be easily produced at low costs and on large scale. The existing sensors are expensive and not suitable for network manufacturing. It is also difficult to increase the size and complexity of existing sensors’ matrixes.

The current silicon-based sensors, on the other hand, are made by complicated and costly processes that use a large number of resources. There is hundreds of material deposition, die-cutting, and material removal steps involved. Producing one batch of products takes weeks of effort and has high costs.

Printed Electronics flexible silicone media
Printed Flexible Sensor printed on Silicone media

It also results in rigid products that are not able to be used in flexible, light or complex-shaped products.

High manufacturing costs for sensors and dependence on silicon in conventional electronics severely limit new developments in areas and applications where sensitization is used. The advancements in printed and flexible electronics suggest that they could be an alternative to the current sensor manufacturing technology.

Flexible printed electronics is a different technology than conventional electronic technologies. It allows for large-scale production of large electronic components. In recent years, there have been interesting developments in various devices like RFID antennas or batteries, as well as TFTs (Thin Film Transistors).

Flexible printed electronics are an innovative method of sensor manufacturing. The use of printing technology in sensor manufacturing is not new. Electrochemical sensors have been made by screen printing for many years. Inkjet, screen printing, flexography, rotogravure and inkjet have all been used to create large sensors.

Printing technology allows the production of sensors on a variety of substrates. This includes flexible substrates like plastics or paper.

This is why printed sensors are becoming increasingly popular in the global sensor market. They are made by applying functional solutions or inks to flexible substrates. Flexible printed sensors are attractive for different sensoring and detection applications due to their low manufacturing costs, simple printing process, and wide range of materials available. Sensor manufacturers can replace amorphous silicon technology with organic electronics to increase their cost competitiveness as well as to develop new, lighter and stronger portable sensors.

Over the years, piezoresistive and printed biosensors are in high demand and are now well-established product markets. Printed photo detectors, gas and temperature sensors are also being accepted in a wider range of markets. The market for printed humidity sensors is small, but it is expected that it will grow significantly in the future.

Flexible printed sensors market

The growing demand for solutions and sensor systems is reflected in the increasing number of interconnections backed by Internet Of Things (IoT) and applications in cars, as well as in other fields like health and childcare, old age, and industry.

Global printed and flexible sensor market is expected reach USD 10 million by 2022. This growth is due to the increasing demand for printed electronic devices in medicine, health, industrial electronics, and consumer electronics. Flexible, printed, and organic electronic sensors offer greater flexibility, higher power, and lower cost than conventional sensors. Lux Research, a renowned financial advisory firm claims that these characteristics will enable them to grow them in a $244 million market for printed electronics based wearable products.

Linepro is leading manufacturer and designer of customized printed electronics products. From printed heaters to force sensing resistors and sensors, we always deliver the end result produced by our expert team solely dedicated to printed electronics. Share your ideas with us and we promise to bring them into reality. Reach us now!

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