Organic and printed electronics shows its potential at LOPEC 2014



Providing more visibility for new technologies in the market, LOPEC 2014 has fulfilled this aspiration of the printed electronics industry and improved on its already successful record: with more than 2,000 participants - an increase of over 10 percent - as well as strong growth in exhibitor and exhibition space numbers, the 6th International Exhibition and Conference for the Printed Electronics Industry in Munich just came to a close.

"We need platforms like LOPEC to make new technologies visible for the end-market", Khalil Rouhana, Director in the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology of the European Commission summarizes his impression of this year’s LOPEC, and goes on: "The EU is supporting Research & Development and innovations in printed and organic electronics with 70 million euros in 2014 and 2015 - this underlines the importance of this new technology."

Wolfgang Mildner, LOPEC Chair and OE-A Vice Chair Europe, revels: "LOPEC has shown that the subject of printed electronics is becoming more mature and increasingly finding its way into application industries such as pharmaceuticals, automotive, consumer electronics and packaging. There were numerous examples of specific applications at the trade fair." Thomas Kolbusch, Exhibition Chair LOPEC and Vice President of Coatema, adds that "besides concrete applications, a lot more machines for mass production could be seen here live in operation."

LOPEC is highly regarded internationally: over 50 percent of visitors came from abroad. Besides Germany, the top 5 countries were the UK, France, the USA, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan. For the first time, LOPEC hosted large delegations from Taiwan and Singapore with leading representatives from industry and research. Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer, Deputy CEO of Messe München, commented: "The growing number of visitors and the high proportion from abroad show that LOPEC is the most important platform for printed electronics worldwide." The event also recorded strong growth in exhibitor numbers: 139 companies from 18 countries, a plus of 26 percent. And in terms of exhibition space, there was another 26 percent increase.

Andreas Gryglewski, responsible for Business Development at Bosch Rexroth Plastic Electronics, confirms that LOPEC is important across many sectors: "Many visitors come from different industries and use the event to find out how printed electronics is going to change traditional industries." LOPEC already met this demand at this year's event with special introductory events and guided tours as well as the Innovation Showcase with examples of applications, among others by Airbus.

The cross-sectoral importance of the event was confirmed by the independent participant survey by forschungplus. 71 percent of interviewees believe that LOPEC will grow in importance in the future (2013: 61 per cent). This statement is also consistent with the first business climate survey by the OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association). Dr. Stephan Kirchmeyer, Chairman of the OE-A, at the LOPEC press conference said: "72 percent of survey participants expect overall growth of the industry in all areas, from equipment manufacturers to the end users." Kirchmeyer continues: "This growth is already reflected at LOPEC: more exhibitors, more exhibition booths and more total space as well as a noticeable increase in both the quality and the quantity of visitors." With 195 presentations from 28 countries, the three-day conference once again was an important part of LOPEC.

In the plenary sessions, the range covered was very wide indeed, including business strategies from companies like Heraeus, regional strategies for the EU and Japan, as well as the requirements of the industry and the specific applications such as organic photovoltaics for building integration at AGC Glass Europe. Research institutes such as VTT Technical Research Centre or Holst Centre provided an outlook on integrated intelligent systems in applications such as healthcare or well-being.