Printed Electronics Insights: Smart Packaging & IoT Summary

By Mike Ciesinski, SEMI | FlexTech

OE-A’s recent industry workshop – Printed Electronics Insights: Smart Packaging & IoT - was hosted at Cambridge University on October 11-12, 2017. Co-sponsored by SEMI | FlexTech and the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large Area Electronics, this initial event drew 100+ participants for two days of roadmapping, technical discussions, and networking.

Chris Williams of IBM Watson opened the workshop with an explanation of how IBM views the Internet of Things (IOT and Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Ultimately, the goal is augmented intelligence, where data works alongside people. 

Speakers from ArjoWiggins, Pragmatic IC, and ThinFilm addressed the Smart Packaging market, where sensors, often printed, can assess, secure, measure temperature and other variables, and provide a real-time readout. According to Scott White of Pragmatic IC, smart packaging is a $10.8 billion market in 2016 rising to $26.7 billion in 2024, representing a 10.6 percent CAGR. Smart packaging is clearly a driver of printed electronics as consumers demand more information on the origin, transportation, and condition of products we consume.

In the Clinical Trials session, Jesper Hassel of Mevia provided an update on the rapidly growing field of tracking usage of pharmaceuticals (prescription drugs) by intended patients. Studies have shown that a primary medical industry challenge is getting patients to take the medications prescribed for them. Adherence to a prescription protocol is often less than 50 percent and results in ~$300 billion in higher medical costs.

Mevia has developed a “smart pill” technology whereby, when the patient takes his/her medication, the combination of printed carbon traces (silver inks) plus a battery sends a signal via GSM to the cloud.   Additionally, a reminder message can be sent to the patient or a relative via an app, telephone call or SMS.

The New Technologies session featured presentations from CDT, CEMIMAT, and VTT. Simon King of CDT addressed the topic of a flexible power module using thermoelectric materials. In this technology, a network of p- and n-type materials, electrically in series, thermally in parallel, in the presence of a temperature gradient, generates voltage across the active materials. Off-grid-powered applications include wearable electronics, which can reduce battery requirements by using heat generated from the body. Alternately, large-scale arrays can use waste energy or solar power for hard-to-access areas.

In summary, the workshop was an interesting blend of printed electronics technologies and applications demonstrating the potential of multiple market opportunities.

For more information on SEMI | FlexTech, please visit and follow on Twitter (@flextechnews)

For more information on SEMI, visit and follow SEMI on LinkedIn and Twitter (@semiexpos).

Global Update
October 31, 2017