Can Printed Electronics Be the Silver Bullet for the Printing Industry?

Photo courtesy of Cal Poly Graduate Education

Printed electronics is a emerging area where one can use traditional graphics printing techniques to put down conductive lines using such as screenprintingflexographygravureoffset lithography, and inkjet. This has been in the research phases for years and now it appears people are gearing up for the manufacturing phase. All the research has been focused is in the making the conductive inks more affordable and adapting printing machines for these inks.This area can be a prime target for the Maker Movement You also need to train printing professionals and creative designers to use this area. We talked with Malcolm Keif, professor in Graphic Communications at Cal Poly, about their online program in Printed Electronics to train people in this field. 

Photo courtesy of Cal Poly Graduate Education

Don't Throw Out Your Inkjet Printer

Professor Keif said "Printed Electronics involves printing conductive and dielectric inks onto a flexible substrate using fairly conventional printing systems like inkjet, screen printing, gravure (intaglio) and flexography. New ink systems have come up which offer high conductivity with low-temperature sintering. It is changing the landscape for novel, simple ICs (either fully printed or a hybrid approach) and also introducing new form factors and new products." 

Cal Poly has always been know for their "hands-on" approach. In fact, their mantra is "Learn by Doing." So, the Printed Electronics Certificate program is perfect for someone in tech who wants to learn more about Printed Electronics or someone in the printing industry eager to learn printed electronics techniques for production. Professor Keif added, "Cal Poly's Printed Electronics & Functional Imaging certificate program is a set of online graduate courses that provide instruction in functional printing, from printed electronics, to active and intelligent packaging, to security printing and biomedical printing. The five online courses provide an overview of the market and technologies (our intro course), with a more in-depth look at materials, manufacturing processes and metrology, Imaging workflows and file preparation, and product and business development activities in this space."

If you want to learn more about Printed Electronics, Professor Keif is holding a free online seminar on Printed Electronics which also features industry speaker, Michael Ciesinski, president and CEO of the FlexTech Alliance. You can register for the Google+ Hangout via Eventbrite here.


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