Sensors play a vital role in printed electronics. Continuous miniaturization of sensors, due to the development in sensor manufacturing technology, has raised the demand of printed and flexible sensors in various applications. Sensors detect alterations and change in parameters, in terms of quantities, in a device. Various companies dealing in printed electronics use printed and flexible sensors in their products. Printed sensors are manufactured using screen printing, a method in which the transducer is a printed layer of polymeric or ceramic material. Printed and flexible sensors are generally used to measure optical or electric signals.
Advancements in printed electronics enable sensors to be fully printed and flexible. Optomec, a provider of 3D printing solutions, launched Aerosol Jet Technology for 3D printed electronics applications in March 2015. Equipment suppliers are introducing innovative machines in the market to meet the needs of printed electronics manufacturers. For example, Xenon launched Sinteron 3000 that provides more flexibility and energy per pulse to the metallic ink, which were not available in previous products. Printing comprises different processes such as dip-pen nanolithography, vapor-phase printing, inkjet, microcontact, nanoimprinting, lamination, laser processing, hot embossing, stamping, transfer printing R2R photolithography and etching.
The major application areas of printed and flexible sensors are healthcare electronics, breath sensing, consumer electronics, drug screening devices and smart packing. Printed and flexible sensors are small in size, light weight and cost-effective compared to conventional sensors. Printed and flexible sensors are also used in various healthcare and consumer electronics portable devices, owing to its light weight property as compared to conventional sensors.
On the basis of type, the printed and flexible sensors market can be categorized as piezoelectric, capacitive, gas sensors, piezoresistature sensors, digital x-ray sensors, hybrid CMOS sensors, temperature sensors, photodetectors, and biosensors. And based on technology, the printed and flexible sensors market can be categorized as ink-jet printing, gravure printing, screen printing and flexography.
Rapid growth in the end-user industries of printed and flexible sensors, low-cost manufacturing of printed and flexible sensors as compared to conventional sensors and performance benefits in terms of product life cycle and sensing efficiencies over conventional sensors are some of the major growth drivers for the printed and flexible sensors market.
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