Powering the Flexible World


Reading time ( words)

From 2019 we will come to a world with flexible electronics and batteries to power these devices have attracted tremendous attention. These devices may require batteries with special mechanical properties or form factors.

Flexible Displays are Being Addressed Further

In 2018, the OLED industry will be worth $25.5Bn, rising to $30.3Bn in 2019. Over $15Bn has been invested in the OLED display industry from 2016 to 2018 with panel makers mainly based in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The investment is coming from the need to differentiate products with better screens and new form factors, with plastic based OLEDs becoming the norm (in rigid format) leading to truly flexible OLED displays - foldable displays being the first commercial example of that.

flex1.jpg

Flexible displays from (left) Visionox and (right) BOE. Source: IDTechEx

Flexible displays require innovations from all their components, from the front panel, to the backplane, to the encapsulation. These innovations expand their capabilities and enable a world with flexible electronics.

Power Solution is Another Piece of Puzzle in this Flexible World

A significant portion of flexible electronics will be portable and battery is always one of the limiting factors in the development of portable devices. We all have the experience that our smart phone batteries cannot last for long enough and they have to be recharged daily or even more frequently.

From lead acid, nickel-cadmium, to nickel-metal-hydride and lithium-ion batteries, the development of the electrochemical energy storage device is slow. Lithium-ion batteries, as the mostly successful commercial battery system nowadays, have been widely used in laptops, mobile phones, tablets and electric vehicles. However, the development of battery technology does not follow Moore's Law as transistors and the improvement is very slow, which is due to the intrinsic limitations.

Now, we have proposed another requirement for the battery—we want to have flexible batteries to fit into flexible electronic devices. This makes the task even more challenging. However, the potential new form factors can enable more flexible arrangement of the batteries. For instance, if a battery can be curved or folded, a larger battery can be fit into the device and larger battery in general can last longer.

Complex landscape to navigate, both from technology and market point of view

There are in principle three big requirements:

  1. The batteries should be safe
  2. The batteries need to last longer/offer higher power
  3. The batteries should provide special form factor or flexibility

To tackle these targets players are approaching from two different angles. They can start from traditional electrochemistry and explore new value propositions, or they can start from the special properties and form factors and increase their performance.

Therefore, we can see various technologies on the market. The marketing terms make integrators and end users more difficult to assess them. We can see batteries are categorized based on their mechanical properties, such as flexible batteries, stretchable batteries, rollable batteries, bendable batteries, foldable batteries. Batteries are classified by technology, including solid state batteries, lithium manganese batteries, alkaline batteries, silver zinc batteries, nickel-metal hydride battery. Their special form factors make cable batteries, needle batteries, micro-batteries and large-area batteries available. To address the manufacturing method, "printed batteries" show up in the press release quite often.

Share


Suggested Items

IPC Workforce Pledge Draws White House Praise, Points the Way to Jobs of the Future

11/09/2018 | Dr. John Mitchell, IPC
President Trump kicked off the workforce challenge to U.S. businesses in July. As a longtime leader in education and training within the electronics industry, IPC took it as an opportunity to review our existing programs and identify ways to grow and innovate. The result? IPC joined the Pledge to America’s Workers by promising to create new career opportunities for at least 1 million Americans in the electronics industry.

From Trend to Game Changer: Which Technology Will Make the Cut?

09/13/2018 | Barry Matties, I-Connect007
At the recent EIPC Summer Conference, Hans Friedrichkeit of the PCB Network gave an engaging presentation on artificial intelligence and future technologies, which was well received by attendees. Who better than Hans to offer insight on which future megatrends might truly become game changers? Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Hans to get his take on trends such as 5G, autonomous cars and 3D printing.

Calumet Electronics on IMPACT 2018

08/14/2018 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
This year at IMPACT Washington, DC, I-Connect007's Patty Goldman sat down with Steve Vairo and Mike Kadlec of Calumet Electronics, to get their overview on the event.



Copyright © 2018 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.