On April 10th and 11th the IDTechEx Show! was held in the Estrel Convention Centre in Berlin. The IDTechEx Show! combines 8 different themes into a single exhibition around the topics of printed electronics, wearable technology, electric vehicles, 3D printing and related industries. It aims to provide a unified forum for these closely related technology fields. Screentec Oy was offered the opportunity to speak at the event and attended with a joint booth with our partners at Printocent.
This year’s IDTechEx Show! was a very varied event, with companies and people from all kinds of different fields of technology. It seems there is a market for an event such as this which combines several themes in high tech electronics and communications. The increasing need for interdisciplinary cooperation in high-tech industries was very evident at this event, as it is a rare company that can handle every aspect of their product supply chain from raw material to finished product completely internally.
For Screentec, the event is mostly a purchasing event, as many of our suppliers were present this year and we met some new potential suppliers as well. The event is also a great way to catch up with existing suppliers and to see what kind of interesting new products and solutions they have come up with. The Finnish company Inkron for example had a new silver ink and matching conductive adhesive on display. Where hybrid printed electronics are becoming more and more common, an alternative to soldering in needed to attach components to plastic substrates and a conductive adhesive which is fully compatible with the printed conductive pastes can make a manufacturer’s life a lot easier!
The networking opportunities at the event were reasonably well handled, there was an app with which one could arrange meetings before the event. These kinds of apps have become quite the standard fare at conventions these days and the Brella app used here worked well enough, although it is not the best app for communicating complex services. We did have a lot of meetings set up for the event which were quite successful, at least as far as Screentec is concerned.
Screentec was at a joint Printocent stand during the exhibition, although most Printocent members present had their own stand somewhere on the exhibition floor. The Printocent stand was mostly dominated by the fine gentlemen from VTT, showing off all the latest innovations from Finland’s finest research organisation, which garnered a lot of attention from visitors of the exhibition. VTT has always been a strong partner of our company and Screentec is looking forward to continuing our partnership with them in current and future projects.
The other Printocent members that attended had their own stand, like Ynsvisible and the New Cable Corporation as well as Coatema. Ynvisible was even mentioned in the cornerstone presentation at the start of the event and it was easy to see why, as their products are probably some of the most interesting in terms of design potential. Electrochromic materials have had their ups and downs since their introduction to the market, but there are a lot of potential applications where they could be used, possibly even in fashion with the advent of smart clothing.
The New Cable Corporation stand is always worth a visit no matter what your specialty is or what you are looking for at an event. Two somewhat eccentric gentlemen with great ideas and great catering, supported by a couple of smart women in tech. They aim to save the world with shielded, flat flexible cables, as replacing traditional round cables in vehicles and other situations has a lot of benefits where weight is concerned. Some might say that in-mould electronics are the way forward, but until those options are commercialized, these new cables offer a cost-effective solution, which is compatible with existing systems already.
Their stand is also the home of Delektre, a company where the two gentlemen ‘trade hats’ as it were. Delektre’s main product is the Senno balance ring, an innovative piece of technological jewellery with some very interesting promises. The Senno ring is supposedly able to accurately measure blood pressure, body water content and most importantly, blood sugar levels and all of this non-invasively. For those who have been following the field of wearable technology and diabetes care, it has been a sort of ‘holy grail’ to achieve both accuracy and non-invasiveness in a single product. It will be exciting to see when the product will finally enter the market.
The convention part of the event had an impressive number of speakers and presentations, and the topics were even broader than the themes of the event. Screentec was also invited to talk about its’ latest developments in the field of wearable technology, something we work with every day. Our company was able to talk about ongoing projects like the Bruxhome EEG electrode being developed in cooperation with the University of Eastern Finland as well as talk about our latest project, the Wearplex Horizon 2020 project.
The Wearplex project started on the 1st of January this year and was announced during the LOPEC 2019 in Munich. According to the Horizon 2020 page: “WEARPLEX is a multidisciplinary research and innovation action with the overall aim to integrate printed electronics with flexible and wearable textile-based biomedical multi-pad electrodes.” What this means in practical terms, is that the project is trying to create a piece of clothing with many small electrodes which can be made to function as a single large electrode or multiple larger electrodes. The functional targets are for EMG for both Diagnostics and Therapeutics. The project is being coordinated by the University of Southampton.
The convention was also home to other interesting presentations, like the one by Paul Swinckels of the LifeSense Group. The LifeSense group uses a combination of wearable technology, an app and a rehabilitation program to combat urinary incontinence. Their first product, Carin, aimed at women, has already met with a lot of success. One of the great things about their products is that they aim to provide a lasting solution, rather than just treating the systems with disposable products like adult diapers, etc. This not only makes people’s lives easier and saves them a lot of money in the long term, but it is ultimately also better for the environment. They are currently expanding their product line and we will soon see products for men as well as a solution to train kids not to wet their bed.
Outside of the wearable technology field, there was also a presentation by Stora Enso a well-known name in Scandinavia. Stora Enso is expanding their repertoire with a new paper-based RFID solution. Their aim to reduce the environmental impact of these RFID tags which are designed to be fully recyclable and thus greatly reduce the environmental impact of the tags. As a printed electronics company, we could also not help but notice that Stora Enso has designed a new paper substrate for printed electronics in the process of making their RFID tags, which also enables all kinds of new possibilities for future products.
Overall the IDTechEx Show! was a very interesting event as it brings together such a broad spectrum of technological fields, it will be exiting to see what the next event has in store!