USDC to Develop Flexible, Printed, and Organic Electronics Market

SAN JOSE, CA /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Display Consortium (USDC) board of directors have unanimously agreed to launch an initiative focused on the emerging flexible, printed, and organic (FPO) electronics market. This initiative will be the first-of-its-kind in the U.S. and will provide a wide range of services to industry, academia, and government to accelerate the development and growth of the FPO electronics industry. The board took this action to signal its support for the rapidly expanding FPO sector, while maintaining USDC's focus on driving the emerging displays and related imaging technologies markets, such as OLEDs, flexible displays, 3D displays, and high-resolution imaging.

The purpose of the initiative will be to help create an FPO industry and infrastructure that will ultimately enable the production of active, ubiquitous electronics products that will lead to intuitive and ambient applications for human systems. The products will be based on new, flexible form factors and can be manufactured at low cost. Near-term applications for this market include RFID tags, sensors (chemical/biological), energy (e.g., solar cell panels, solid-state lighting, flexible batteries), electro-clothing, and architectural and disposable electronics. Given their myriad applications, FPO electronics hold tremendous potential, with experts predicting that the market for some applications could easily top $120 billion by the year 2020.

USDC recognizes the need for industry collaboration in the emerging FPO arena, as evidenced by its support for flexible displays and microelectronics projects, which began several years ago. Through its widely acclaimed Flexible Displays & Microelectronics Conference—now in its sixth year—the need for a targeted initiative exclusively chartered with accelerating market readiness of flexible, printed, and organic electronics has become apparent. Moreover, USDC has more than 30 technical projects underway or completed related to this field, resulting in $75 million in R&D investment. Leveraging this experience, USDC will explore the requirements and hurdles that are still impeding mass commercialization, thereby promoting company entry and investment in this emerging sector.

Commenting on the initiative, Michael Ciesinski, President of USDC, stated, "In order to successfully enable the FPO electronics revolution, an aggressive pace of innovation must be set, resulting in a robust infrastructure and sufficient development funding and resource deployment. We intend to work with the printed and organics electronics industry, facilitating the transition from R&D to prototype manufacturing, and then to commercialization and market acceptance." He continued, "USDC's role has been to champion collaboration among industry, government, and academia, as has been accomplished in the flat panel display (FPD) arena. Now, a decade later and leveraging our proven legacy of bringing technology innovation to market fruition, we're committed to helping the FPO industry become an analogous fixture in our everyday lives and work environments."

Ciesinski added that interest in this FPO initiative is already growing among some of today's top companies. As evidence of this, Daniel Gamota, Director of the Printed Electronics Group at Motorola, noted, "This new USDC initiative speaks volumes for the potential market of flexible, printed, and organic electronics. USDC has a proven track record for accepting leadership roles in developing the infrastructure to facilitate the launch of emerging high-growth markets. We look forward in participating in this new initiative."

In addition to initial interest among leading players, such as Motorola, Ciesinski added that the reasons for USDC to establish a dedicated FPO initiative were manifold. First, several of USDC's existing member companies have a strong, competitive position in FPO electronics and have subsequently asked USDC to take the lead in organizing a network. Second, USDC can provide linkages among academic research programs, early-stage startups, established market leaders, and the investment community, feeding into and fueling human resource development and capital availability. Finally, substantial efforts are already underway by notable chemical, materials, and electronics corporations with which USDC has already established partnerships. Coupled with the 30 projects already spearheaded by USDC, the initiative is ideally positioned to foster the development of this emerging market.

The USDC has strong relationships with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which funded early federal initiatives programs in P&O electronics, and with the National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI), which will publish a P&O electronics technology roadmap in early 2007. These efforts are augmented by three significant U.S. government initiatives, which include the Army Flexible Display Center (FDC) at Arizona State University, the macroelectronics program sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Binghamton University (NY)-led Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM), all of which with USDC has been closely associated.

USDC will bring many of its core competencies to FPO electronics, including a well-tuned organization and partnership network that features a skilled and experienced management team and advisory board. To this end, Ciesinski will head up the initiative and is chartered with driving industry participation, and Dr. M. Robert Pinnel will serve as interim CTO for technical activity. USDC is confident of this initiative's future success and plans to leverage its proven and successful track record and expertise in supply chain development, user group management, information gathering and distribution, and federal program creation and management.

Those interested in learning more about the FPO initiative are encouraged to attend the sixth annual Flexible Displays and Microelectronics Conference, which will now incorporate a printed and organics electronics track within the three-day agenda. In fact, several companies will be presenting papers related to FPO electronics, including Motorola, Semprius, DuPont, Kodak, and NanoMarkets, to list a few. The conference is slated to be held next Feb. 6-8, 2007, at the Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix, AZ. For more information on the conference and the final agenda, please visit the consortium's Web site.

About USDC
The USDC is an industry-led public/private partnership providing a common platform for flexible electronics and display manufacturers, developers, integrators, and the supplier base. Headquartered in San Jose, CA, the consortium's primary mission is to fund supply-chain projects and share the results with member companies. The USDC provides a communications channel among industry, government, and financial communities for flexible electronics and display industry issues; sponsors conferences and workshops to broaden the impact of technological developments; and educates consumers on the importance of flexible electronics and displays by providing access to information technology. More information can be found on the consortium's Web site.