Emergence of Regulations Concerned with Printed Electronics Products & Services to Steer its Market Across the Value Chain.
The printed electronicsis mainly related with the fabrication of electronic components such as transistors, organic light emitting diodes, photovoltaic cell and many others involving the deposition of several materials including conductors, dielectrics and semiconductors on the substrates. The materials can be organic or inorganic in nature. These materials are deposited on substrates via several printing techniques including inkjet, screen, gravure and many others to create various functional printing components. The materials involved in the functional components impart specific functionalities such as resistivity, conductivity control or thermo-chromic reactions, therefore designated as functional printing. As the demand for functional printing in electronics industry accelerates, several regulation authorities are developing standards pertaining to materials, design, process, assembly, inspection and testing of printed electronic devices.
Institute for Printed Circuits (IPC), association for the electronics industries took initiative to develop the regulations for the Functional printing industries. This initiative has already resulted in development of operational-level printed electronics standards including Requirements for Printed Electronics Base Materials (2012), Requirements for Printed Electronics Functional Conducive Materials (2012) and Design Guideline for Printed Electronics (2013).
IPC has also created several standards development committees that are in the phase of establishing standards for printed electronics. These development committees are following:
- D-60 Printed Electronics Committee
- D-61 Printed Electronics Subcommittee
- D-62 Printed Electronics Base Material/Substrates Subcommittee
- D-63 Printed Electronics Functional Materials Subcommittee
- D-64 Printed Electronics Final Assembly Subcommittee
- D-65 Printed Electronics Test Method Development & Validation
- D-66 Printed Electronics Process Subcommittee
The collaboration of Institute for Printed Circuits (IPC) and Japan Electronics Packaging and Circuits Association (JPCA) is also eminent in this direction while other associations such as National Printing Equipment Association (NPES) and Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc. (IEC) will also be influential in creating standards concerned with printed electronics materials, printing and converting technologies.
As printed electronics technology is growing rapidly, emergence of novel products in the market will be witnessed in the coming years and it will be regulated under certain standards depending upon their integration into different end-user industries. The prominent example of such scenario is visible in food and beverage industry. The involvement of functional materials in the food and beverage packaging is subjected to several regulations including Nutrition Labelling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA) and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (FSMA). The packaging materials for this industry are certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to ensure the safety and protection of the food that is packaged and consumed. Similar regulations will be applicable to printed electronic devices and systems as their application base enlarges in the future.
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