Thinfilm's Financial Report Third Quarter 2011
- Enables the 'Internet of Things': Addressable memories are a key component for the 'Internet of Things'.
- Price/functionality leadership: Thinfilm sensor tags will have a unique position compared to conventional electronics.
- InkTec opens dedicated production facility: Upgrades and expands their production capacity of Thinfilm Memory.
The Thinfilm Addressable Memory prototype is an important step toward the mass production of low-cost, low-power ubiquitous devices that are a key component of the 'Internet of Things' (IoT).
"The Internet of Things, where sensors and intelligence are added to physical objects, is at a tipping point. Near Field Communication (NFC) is emerging as the standard to interact with smart tags, but one needs a technology to tag 'everything' in an inexpensive way . This prototype is a demonstration that low-cost printed integrated systems and the tagging of everyday objects are possible," says Davor Sutija, Thinfilm CEO.
"This opens up new fields of use, as now addressable memory can be combined with sensors, power sources and antennas to power smart applications," said Sutija when the prototype was unveiled 21 October.
The prototype is the world's first printed non-volatile memory device addressed with complementary organic circuits, the organic equivalent of CMOS circuitry. Thinfilm Addressable Memory combines Thinfilm's polymer-based memory technology with PARC's transistor technology using complementary pairs of n-type and p-type transistors to construct the circuits.
The addressable memory can be integrated with other printed components, such as antennas and sensors, to create fully printed systems for interaction with everyday objects. The temperature of food and drugs may be monitored and retail items tracked individually rather than by pallet, container or truckload.
"If you look at price per function, and compare Thinfilm sensor tags with conventional electronics, we will have a unique position," says Torgrim Takle, Thinfilm CFO, and mentions temperature monitoring as an example of such functionality. "Today's sensor systems are too expensive to be used on an item-level."
Using printing to manufacture electronics minimizes the number of process steps, which in turn, dramatically reduces manufacturing costs and lowers the environmental impact compared to traditional semiconductor processes.
To monitor that an item has not been exposed to temperatures above certain thresholds, one does not need high storage capacity, a few bits are enough. "Our first sensor system products will target low-bit applications where we have a sustainable price-functionality advantage," explains Takle.
Dedicated production facility opened
In August, InkTec opened a new dedicated production facility for Thinfilm Memory. The new, upgraded facility has a production capacity of 10 million tags of Thinfilm Memory per month.
Several leading toy manufacturers have purchased the Thinfilm Toy Development Kit and are evaluating specific toy concepts based on Thinfilm Memory. "We have established a supply chain, with InkTec as our main production partner, and are ready to meet the demand for low-cost high-volume consumer applications," said Sutija at the opening of the production facility.
Notable events in 2011:
News and announcements:
- Thinfilm Unveils First Scalable Printed CMOS Memory, 21 October 2011
- InkTec Opens Dedicated Production Facility for Thinfilm Memory, 8 August 2011
- Davor Sutija New OE-A Board Member, 28 June 2011
- Thinfilm Unlocks Encrypted Market With New Printed Memory, 28 June 2011
- Thinfilm Opens Japan Office, 6 June 2011
- Thinfilm Receives Engineering Orders for Prototypes, 9 May 2011
- Thinfilm Awarded Government Grant, 6 May 2011
- Thinfilm & PARC extend printed electronics commercialization engagement, 4 April 2011
- PARC, a Xerox company, takes minority stake in Thinfilm, 24 March 2011
- Thinfilm Appoints Top Scientists to Technology Council, 9 March 2011
- Thinfilm wins Frost & Sullivan's new product innovation award, 2 March 2011
- Thinfilm launches demo game powered by printed memories, 10 February 2011
- Thinfilm addressable memory design completed, 18 January 2011
- Rita Glenne New Thinfilm Board Member, 10 May 2011
- Jennifer Ernst was appointed Vice President, North America, 3 March 2011
- Torgrim Takle was appointed Chief Financial Officer, 10 January 2011
Conferences and trade shows:
- Thinfilm presented at IV Nanotechnology International Forum October 26-28, 2011, Moscow
- Thinfilm presented at SemiCon West-Extreme Electronics July 12-14 2011 in San Francisco
- Thinfilm exhibited at GamesBeat July 12-13 2011 in San Francisco
- Thinfilm presented and exhibited at LOPE-C June 28-30 2011 in Frankfurt
- Thinfilm presented at the Solvay-COPE Symposium on Organic Electronics May 12-13 2011 in Atlanta
- Thinfilm presented and exhibited at the IDTechEx conference Printed Electronics Europe 5-6 April 2011 in Düsseldorf
- Thinfilm presented at the IPI conference, Exploiting Printed Electronics Technologies, 23 March 2011 in London
- Thinfilm presented and exhibited at the Engage Conference and Expo 2011 15-16 February 15-16 2011 in New York
- Thinfilm presented at the Flexible Electronics and Displays Conference, 7-10 February 2011 in Phoenix, AZ
About Printed Electronics
The Printed Electronics market is expected to grow to more than USD 50 billion in market value over the next ten years, according to industry analyst group IDTechEx. IDTechEx predicts that logic, including addressable memory, will be one of the largest segments in this market.
Printed RFID tags are predicted to rapidly gain market share over the coming years. According to IDTechEx, the numbers of printed and chipless RFID tags sold globally will rise from 12 million in 2011 to 209 billion in 2021.
The demand for low cost tags is expected to be driven by retailers' adoption of standard EPC RFID tags in open supply chains. Governments will also drive the RFID boom. The public sector is the largest customer for RFID today, and in the future the use of RFID in the retail industry, transit ticketing and people identification is forecasted to grow significantly.
In parallel to the embracement of item level ID tagging, NFC enabled phones will put an RFID-compatible reader in people's pockets, purses, and backpacks. Major communication device companies are targeting RF applications for consumer mass markets. Examples of these applications are location tags, advertising and smart packaging.
Using printing to manufacture electronic memory makes it possible to reduce the number of process steps, dramatically reduce manufacturing costs, as well as the environmental impact compared to traditional semiconductor processes. Commercial applications of printed electronics include e-paper, electronic readers, and organic light emitting (OLED) displays. Sensors, batteries, and photovoltaic energy sources are also in development, and together with Thinfilm's memory technology they will open the door to new products and applications.
Memory is an essential part of most electronics. Memory is required for identification, tracking status and history, and is used whenever information is stored. Thinfilm's non-volatile ferroelectric polymer memory technology is well suited for application with other printed electronics devices because power consumption during read and write is negligible, and as it is permanent, no connection to external power is required for data detainment. Also, the current required to write information is so small that operation would be limited by the battery's lifetime and not its capacity.
Thin Film Electronics AB
Thin Film Electronics ASA ("Thinfilm") is a publicly-listed Norwegian technology company with its head office in Oslo, product development in Linköping, Sweden, and sales offices in San Francisco, USA, and Tokyo, Japan. Thinfilm is a pioneer in the field of Printed Electronics, and provides fully-printed non-volatile, rewritable memory for applications in toys & games, logistics, sensor, and ID systems.
Thinfilm MemoryTM products
- Thinfilm MemoryTM: 20-bit single-line memories are commercially available. Suitable for consumer applications, such as toys and games and info-kiosks.
- Thinfilm Passive Array MemoryTM: 40-bit memories are in test production, and engineering samples will be available later this year. Higher density memories are under development, with planned production in 2012 (up to 121 bits per memory array). Meets the needs of secure archiving, ticketing, and other applications that demand encryption or user-programmed stored IDs.
- Thinfilm Addressable MemoryTM: Prototypes demonstrated. Available in 2012. Enables printed systems, such as ID tags, sensor tags, disposable price labels, and other smart tags.