Heidelberg’s printed electronics for auto industry at LOPEC

Hundsdörfer keynote at LOPEC Congress in Munich in March

Heidelberg production of printed electronics at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site Photo Heidelberg Printed Electronics

Heidelberger is presenting innovative applications for the automotive industry at LOPEC, the leading international trade show for flexible, organic, and printed electronics. LOPEC takes place in Munich from 22 to 24 March 2022 and Heidelberg will be exhibiting its range of products and services together with its InnovationLab at stand B0.510. In addition, CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer will give a keynote speech at the Congress taking place at the show.

Together with its InnovationLab, the Heidelberg will present printed sensors for battery monitoring and RECARO car seats. The company has set up its business unit for the industrial development, manufacture, and sale of printed electronics for this growth market and established production at Wiesloch-Walldorf. In the future, electronic components and sensors for digital applications, particularly from the healthcare and logistics sectors, retail, or the automotive industry, will be produced there using state-of-the-art printing technology.

“The market for printed electronics, especially for sensors, is a future field for Heidelberg,” said Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. “With the solutions presented for the automotive industry, we have good opportunities to further expand our business in this segment. We see growth opportunities for us as an operator in the production of high-tech sensors in the two to three-digit million Euro range.”

Using a car seat developed with RECARO Automotive GmbH, visitors can see how pressure sensor foils can detect occupants and distinguish them from other objects Photo Heidelberg Printed Electronics

Using a car seat developed with RECARO Automotive, visitors can see how pressure sensor foils can detect occupants and distinguish them from other objects. The information obtained can be used for driver assistance and safety systems, such as reminders to fasten seat belts and deactivation of the airbag when a child seat is detected. The sensor matrix presented also makes it possible to determine which seat position passengers are occupying. This will be particularly important in (partially) autonomous driving for triggering safety systems, as the driver’s position will become much more variable.

An innovative battery monitoring solution will also be presented at LOPEC. Printed, ultra-thin pressure and temperature sensors can capture spatially resolved data from individual battery cells to extend battery life by up to 40%. Printed sensor films are thin enough to fit between individual battery cells and capture detailed pressure and temperature data. The cell-level information provides valuable insights into battery health and performance, helping research and development teams improve their battery designs. These could help in extending the driving range of electric vehicles.

Using a car seat developed with RECARO Automotive GmbH, visitors can see how pressure sensor foils can detect occupants and distinguish them from other objects Photo Heidelberg Printed Electronics

“With the industrial production of sensor-equipped functional films, Heidelberg is opening up a new playing field for digital business models. Each square meter of the film is equipped with up to one million sensors that register the smallest changes in pressure, temperature, or humidity. The data obtained in this way is then processed using AI algorithms and delivers information quality that goes beyond discrete measured variables,” said Dr. Michael Kröger, managing director of Heidelberg Printed Electronics. “In the process, the entire sensor technology is printed in a single pass – including all conductive tracks, sensors, and the interface to digital end devices.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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