Automation News

Fully printed sensors: $7.6 billion market by 2027?

24 Dec , 2016  

According to a new report on printed and flexible sensors from IDTechEx, a $7.6 billion market for sensors printed on flexible substrates fully printed sensors in likely by 2027.

Currently, the biggest segment is for blood glucose test strips, used by diabetics as a self-diagnosis tool. This is currently shrinking, as the market is now commoditized and there is pressure on price; in addition, the industry is developing new biosensors, where the innovation lies in recognizing various biomarkers, and techniques which do not rely on pricking the finger each time a reading is taken.

The next generation of printed sensors will enable other applications, from human-machine interfaces to environmental sensing. Printed and flexible gas sensors, temperature sensors and photodetectors are now moving into mass production. These will benefit from the latest materials and technologies in the printed electronics industry. While some may consist of a very simple structure with only a few electrodes, others are much more complex and require the deposition of multiple layers. What they have in common is the capability to be manufactured on plastic substrates, which offer advantages in terms of mechanical flexibility, thinness and weight reduction.

Printing is not a new manufacturing technique in the sensor industry and in some cases, has been used as a standard process for many years. Some sensors are based on “thick film”, whereby some layers of sensing materials are deposited by screen printing. These devices are not fully printed but contain a printed layer of either a polymeric or ceramic material.

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