Printed electronics

Electronic circuits and applications by means of printing processes

Printed or hybrid electronics are electronic circuits and applications which are partly or wholly manufactured using printing processes. Electronic function material are printed on a flexible or rigid substrate (hybrid materials).

Base materials for flexible and rigid substrates:

  • PET membranes
  • Copper laminates
  • Flat glasses

The base materials are fitted with conductive structures which, using a soldering or gluing process which was developed especially for the substrate, are then married to electronic components. In this way, the substrate acquires an electrical or also intelligent function.

Technologies in the printed electronics sector:

Hybrid electronics make it possible to add new functions to existing electronics

For applications in which hybrid electronics are used, additional functions can be efficiently incorporated in existing systems without any problems.

These include:

  • Antennae for the wireless transfer of information using RFID (radio-frequency identification)
  • Heating
  • Capacitive circuits
  • Transparent and flexible conductors

Combining different technologies means that redundant push-buttons or e-paper tags can also be manufactured.

Note: In contrast to traditional PCB technologies, by using printed electronics it is possible to equip elastic and flexible substrates with electrical functions. This means that transparent conductive materials can also be used.


Special highlight: Integrated LED matrix on a flexible keypad

Customer-specific LED membranes can be manufactured very easily and provide the best integration in a device or the customer’s enclosure. Whether they are very small SMD LEDs or larger serial LEDs (bus LEDs) with RGB capability, they can all be positioned on a membrane, and glues can be applied if required. This makes possible new, free designs, and is cost-saving when curved surfaces or spheres need to be illuminated.

! Note: The membranes can be used for background illumination, signposting, machine signals, emergency exit signs and much more.

LEDs down to size 0402 can be soldered onto the PET substrate. The reflow technology behind these products allows designs to be created for new and innovative products. In addition, the integrated control (IC) electronics of the NEO pixel LEDs can be mounted directly on the NEO pixel membrane, which reduces the number of external components and the amount of assembly operation. Also, using a serial LED control greatly reduces the number of control lines.

Technical specification:

  • LEDs on a flexible membrane using SMD technology
  • Size up to 450 mm x 300 mm, special size available on request
  • RGB, single-colour or bus LEDs available
  • Self-adhesive membranes up to 0.05 mm core thickness
  • Easy installation (self-adhesive)
  • LED drivers or boosters can be integrated on the membrane


In the past, a round signal light which signals in all directions (360°) was constructed using 8 octagonal PCBs. By contrast, the flexible membrane can easily be printed, mounted in a round shape, and it is cheaper in respect of material costs and in mounting the system.