ST 007-13 Lohr am Main, 2013-04-29

Plastic Electronics: Flexible electronics open up new creative possibilities

Lucas Wintjes

Lucas Wintjes, Senior Vice President Sales and Industry Sector Management Factory Automation of Bosch Rexroth AG

"Plastic Electronics is a true source of innovative, visionary ideas. Applying electronic circuits onto thin, flexible materials, such as plastic film, is revolutionizing the product portfolio. The future will bring ultra-thin TVs, color screens for e-books, flexible RFID chips or foldable displays that can be rolled up like newspapers. However, translating these versatile product ideas from laboratory processes into series production requires new system concepts. Instead of batches and quantities, it is now about ongoing production.

The major challenge with Plastic Electronics is the precise control of several different processes in one machine. These processes take place partially or completely in a vacuum environment. That means greater challenges for control technology and engineering. For seamless processes, web transport and processing units must be perfectly synchronized and the web tension must be strictly adhered to. Extensive knowledge is also a necessity for particle-free substrate transport in vacuum conditions. That makes automation technology a key factor for reliable, yet cost-effective process realization.

Due to its long-term experience in the printing and electronics industry, Bosch Rexroth offers comprehensive expertise and a broad product spectrum for the automation and standardization of roll-to-roll and coating processes. This expertise is decisive for the new tasks. Together with its customers, Bosch Rexroth is thus working on innovative concepts so that Plastic Electronics can become a key technology of the future with the greatest possible benefit for all."

Economical, precise, safe, and energy efficient: drive and control technology from Bosch Rexroth moves machines and systems of any size. The company bundles global application experience in the market segments of Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, Factory Automation, and Renewable Energies to develop innovative components as well as tailored system solutions and services. Bosch Rexroth offers its customers hydraulics, electric drives and controls, pneumatics, gear technology, and linear motion and assembly technology all from one source. With locations in over 80 countries, more than 37,500 associates generated sales revenue of approximately 6.5 billion euros in 2012.

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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In fiscal 2012, its roughly 306,000 associates generated sales of 52.5 billion euros. Since the beginning of 2013, its operations have been divided into four business sectors: Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 360 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 50 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent some 4.8 billion euros for research and development in 2012, and applied for nearly 4,800 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group’s products and services are designed to fascinate, and to improve the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is “Invented for life.”

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