Flexible electronics creating billion dollar printed battery market

Outside of medical, the increased

demand for printed batteries is also being driven by the trend towards the miniaturisation of products used in applications, and the growing popularity of EMV, SIM cards, and e-IDs in the banking sector.

THE MARKET POTENTIAL On the technology side, there are many solutions that fall within the broad category of thin film, flexible or printed batteries. These include printed batteries, thin-film batteries, laminar lithium- polymer batteries, advanced lithium-ion batteries, micro-batteries, stretchable batteries, thin flexible supercapacitors. It is therefore quite a confusing technology landscape to navigate and this is why we feel that it is important to work very closely with our clients and a third-party specialist printed battery manufacturer to ensure that the right technology solution is delivered.

Printed batteries are already being used in healthcare and cosmetics, RFID sensors, medical implants, electronic wearable devices, hearing aids and wireless sensors. Tim Congdon, European business development manager at CCL Design UK, discusses the new and emerging applications which are transforming the business landscape


s a result of these emerging applications and the growing

demand for flexible electronics that require a low power source and short lifespan, the market for printed batteries is about to take off. For instance, Global Market Insights reports that the market for the broader category of thin film batteries was $200 million in 2015, and set to grow at a CAGR of 25 per cent from 2016-2024 to a staggering $1.5billion in 2024. The US is the leading manufacturer of printed batteries with a 40 per cent share of the global market in 2014, followed closely by the EMEA, which also contributes 36 per cent of the overall printed batteries market – with the majority of market growth generated from the UK, Germany, France, and Italy. There are other design factors which

are having an impact on the popularity of these new batteries – for instance – printed batteries have a low self- discharge rate and cost less than lithium


polymer batteries to manufacture. Established solutions are also limited by a variety of factors. For instance, coin cell batteries are not flexible and are also very difficult to dispose of.

MEDICAL STANDS OUT Some of the most stand out examples of printed batteries at work are taking place in the medical industry. For instance, integrated clocks and circuits can now be integrated into packaging for medicines, so that it can register tablet removal and provide reminders/guidance on when next to take the medication. This is an area which will benefit from printed batteries. Another interesting example in this sector is the development of medical patches that can be powered by printed batteries and worn directly on the skin to manage pain or monitor data such as electrolytes through sweat. This electrolyte data can then be used to generate a sports drink that directly matches the needs of that specific person.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT In addition to some of the industries and potential applications I have mentioned, a really interesting area we have been looking at is food condition tracking. In the past, we've seen thin food sensors that change colour as food begins to spoil. But this type of technology doesn't retain data, or provide information about the history of a product as it is shipped. This is why printed batteries are being developed for temperature sensors applied to fruit, vegetable and meat packaging. Therefore, when deliveries are received, the labels and data can be automatically detected and forwarded to, for instance, a quality control professional within the business, by either email or text. The sort of data points that can be stored and accessed include the supplier name, product description, temperature alert condition, receiving location, high/ low/ average temperatures. With growth at a CAGR of 25 per cent estimated for the next five years, the market for printed batteries really has now passed a significant inflection point. With the range of potential applications now huge, we are convinced that many more global manufacturers will consider how this technology can transform their product portfolio.

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