Toppan Forms to test markets with printed electronics

Toppan Forms, a leading information management solution provider, will start to test market product applications by combining various printed electronics technologies.

Unlike conventional electronics, printed electronics are not rigid and can be converted into different shapes and sizes. Innovative products such as a battery charger in the shape of brief case or POP displays for marketing can be customarily designed and manufactured. Test marketing will start this summer and full scale marketing is expected to start in 2011.

Card with no battery, the image being illuminated by RF from RFID reader.
(Source Toppan Forms).

Following development of printed electronics technologies for several years in cooperation with partners such as Konarka, Add-Vision and others, the company has determined that it has reached a point where these technologies have matured enough for integration into actual products.

Flashing flexible OLED display at point of purchase POP.
(Source: Toppan Forms).

Light emitting business card with images that light up sequentially.
(Source: Toppan Forms).

For example, Toppan Forms, based on Konarka’s organic thin film photovoltaic technology, will test market a brief case with battery charging function for electronic devices such as cellular phone.

Battery charging brief case with organic flexible photovoltaic panel.
(Source: Toppan Forms).

It can also function as an emergency power supply when the power runs out from electronic devices in an environment where power outlet is not available. The thinness, flexibility and variation of colors allow photovoltaics to be integrated seamlessly into different shapes. The bag will initially be test marketed to bag manufacturers and participating retailers.

Solar powered photo stand. (Source: Toppan Forms).

The company has also integrated organic thin film photovoltaic technology with Add-Vision’s polymer organic light emitting display (P-OLED) and Toppan Forms’ Audio Paper™ technology to create a new breed of Point of Purchase POP display applications. Flashing lights and sound powered by ambient indoor light will be placed on store shelves and displays starting this month to test how they contribute to the promotion of products. Like the photovoltaics, Add-Vision’s P-OLED also allows seamless integration due to its thinness, flexibility, and lightweight features.

OLED poster powered by flexible photovoltaics. (Source: Toppan Forms).

The test will be conducted for a substantial period and can be deployed in large scale without the worries of replacing conventional batteries. If the result is successful, the company will move forward with test marketing by custom designing POP displays for marketers.

Light emitting display with audio all powered by ambient light.
(Source: Toppan Forms.)

Toppan Forms sees printed electronics as a disruptive technology. As Clayton Christensen points in his famous book Innovator’s Dilemma, while disruptive technology often under-perform established products in mainstream markets at least in their early stage, they bring very different value propositions and features that a few fringe customers value.

Poster with electrophoretic display counting down to the arrival date of Beaujolais Nouveau. (Source Toppan Forms.)

Toppan Forms notes that, from an electronics industry perspective, printed electronics probably is still years away from commercialization. On the other hand, from a printing industry perspective, the features are already suited for applications that can potentially be used today. Through the test marketing process, the company expects to create a new breed of smart media products that may revolutionize both the printing and electronic industry by gradually making them more sophisticated and less costly as technologies mature.

Poster combining flashing LED with Toppan Forms Audio PaperTM sound.
(Source: Toppan Forms).

Toppan Forms is a multi billion dollar subsidiary of Toppan Printing

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