USDC Expands Mission to Include Flexible, Printed Electronics

SAN JOSE, CA /PRNewswire/ -- The U. S. Display Consortium (USDC) announced that it is formally expanding its mission to support the emerging flexible, printed electronics market, subsequently changing the organization's official name to the FlexTech Alliance to reflect this new activity and opportunity. The USDC board took this action to signal its intent to commit resources to the increasingly synergistic technologies driving advances in the flexible and printed electronics sector. At the same time, the board recommitted its support for supply chain development for next-generation displays, such as OLEDs, flexible displays, and MEMs-based and 3D displays.

USDC officials state that the move is a natural progression for the organization, based on the success of the Flexible, Printed and Organic (FPO) Electronics Initiative that it launched in December 2006, which was designed to gauge potential development and growth of the new market. Since the launch of that initiative, industry interest has grown steadily with a definite need for programs dedicated to the sector. Based on substantial industry and academic support, as well as the growing synergies between all of its served markets, the USDC board has now officially broadened the consortium's mission to serve the common interests of the display industry and the flexible, printed electronics industry.

As part of this effort, the USDC and all its programs will be absorbed under the broader FlexTech Alliance umbrella. In addition to continued strong emphasis on electronic display supply chain R&D, the FlexTech Alliance will focus on creating a flexible, printed electronics infrastructure within North America that will ultimately enable the production of active, ubiquitous devices. These devices will be manufactured using new, flexible form factors that deliver high functionality at low cost. Near-term applications for the market include RFID tags, sensors (chemical/biological), energy (e.g., solar cell panels and flexible batteries), solid-state lighting, medical/healthcare, disposable electronics, and displays. Given their myriad applications, FPO electronics hold tremendous potential, with experts predicting that the market for some applications could exceed $50 billion by 2017.

Michael Ciesinski, USDC's former CEO, who will now lead the new FlexTech Alliance in the same capacity, stated, "There is tremendous overlap between what USDC has undertaken in the display industry and the work needed to support the flexible, printed electronics industry. The tools our consortium has at hand—pre-competitive R&D funding, technical roadmapping forums, and a strong set of conferences and workshops—will help set an aggressive pace of innovation. The goal set by the governing board is to accelerate the transition from R&D to prototype manufacturing and then to commercialization and market acceptance."

The FlexTech Alliance will be overseen by a world-class governing board, along with a seasoned management team that includes Dr. Mark Hartney as CTO, Kay Mascoli as director of development and planning, Dr. Kevin Cammack as director of technical marketing and development, and Heidi Hoffman as director of events and marketing communications. The organization will deliver its services in national settings via an expansive industry Web portal, and through regional chapters. To this end, the FlexTech Alliance will help the North American industry meet the challenges facing it by facilitating partnerships, ensuring R&D support, developing product demonstrators, identifying and addressing manufacturing issues, and broadening funding opportunities.

Dr. Michael McCreary, Vice President of R&D at E Ink and Chairman of the FlexTech Alliance Governing Board stated, "I look forward to the expanded role that the FlexTech Alliance will provide to both the current membership and new members looking to participate in this broader mission. The USDC has had more than a decade of experience in helping to stimulate and expand both new technology and the supply chain infrastructure for the flat panel display industry. This seasoned management team, along with the current and new member companies, will now have the opportunity to do the same within the FlexTech Alliance to accelerate the creation of this new emerging flexible, printed electronics industry, in addition to displays."

According to Dr. Dan Gamota, Director of Printed Electronic Platforms at Motorola, "The FlexTech Alliance is poised to address the need for an organization dedicated to facilitating and promoting the flexible, printed electronics and display industries in North America. The fact that USDC has changed its name and expanded its mission to be inclusive of these emergent markets speaks volumes to the future potential that is just waiting to be tapped. We will all benefit from the proven power of the USDC organization, which has a demonstrated track record of success in developing the infrastructure needed to facilitate the launch of high-growth markets."

The FlexTech Alliance will leverage the strong relationships USDC has already forged with industry, the academic community, investment banks and venture capital firms, and federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which funded early federal initiatives in printed electronics. The FlexTech Alliance will also continue to work closely with the Flexible Display Center (FDC) at Arizona State University and the Binghamton University (NY)-led Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM)—both of which have substantial activity in this dynamic industry.

Lastly, the FlexTech Alliance will be chairing and presenting on flexible and printed electronics at a TechXPOT technical session, which will be held during SEMICON West (Moscone Convention Center, West Hall, San Francisco, CA) on Thursday, July 17, 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

About the Alliance
The FlexTech Alliance is the only organization headquartered in North America exclusively devoted to fostering the growth, profitability, and success of the electronic display and the flexible, printed electronics supply chain. Leveraging its rich history in promoting the display industry as the U.S. Display Consortium, the FlexTech Alliance offers expanded collaboration between and among industry, academia, and research organizations for advancing displays and flexible, printed electronics from R&D to commercialization. To this end, the FlexTech Alliance, based in San Jose, CA, will help foster development of the supply chain required to support a world-class, manufacturing capability for displays and flexible, printed electronics.

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