Challenge of fine line screen printing for printable electronics

At the recent SPAI-FESPA Awards held in Mumbai, the organisers stuck to the ‘Keep it Simple’ strategy. 
The recent edition of the SPAI-FESPA Awards 2016 saw screen printers being honoured for their excellent works under various categories. For the first time, a competition was held to celebrate screen printing in the country. This year, SPAI received over 140 entries under different categories. While the best entries received were awarded with Gold, Silver and Bronze titles, all of the entries received were sent to the global awards by FESPA. 

“The competition gives an opportunity for the printers to appreciate the best works but we didn’t want other printers —who have done equally good work— to be robbed off a chance to showcase their works in the international stage. Hence, we decided to send all the entries received to the FESPA Awards,” said BhargavaMistry, President, SPAI. 

He added, “Currently about 80% of the revenue of the screen printing industry is contributed by the industrial printing segment. The industry is on the growth path and will attain a 35% growth in next five years. Therefore, it is important to showcase the great works of the Indian screen printers on a global platform.”

The Award was sponsored by The Huber Group, Photokina Chemicals, Print Dynamics, Creative Printers and Gautam Paper Udhyog. ScreenTex was the media partner.

These entries were judged by an elite jury panel encompassing KiranPrayagi, Akhil Contractor, BhargavMistry, Nikhil Ahuja and KamlakarWadekar.

Among these several printers won laurels at the FESPA awards. These were Om Decals, Delhi (Bronze); Neat Graphics, Thane (Bronze); Pramukh Embroidery, Mumbai (Bronze); Perfect Packaging, Mumbai (Silver); Tarun Printing Works, Mumbai (Silver); Protolab Electro Technologies, Mumbai (Silver); Spectrum Scan, Mumbai (Silver); and Marvel Art Gallery, Ahmedabad (2 Bronze and 1 Silver).

At the event, a group of young to-be printing engineers led by PawanKhake of PVG College of Engineering, Pune were also given token of encouragement worth Rs. 10,000 by the Kesar Foundation and SPAI. The souvenir was presented by Shri. MadhukumarDoshi. These students have been diligently working on a project on printed electronics, hence contributing to the future of screen printing industry.

While organisers usually have a skew towards hosting a glam and entertainment day for the industrymen during such awards, SPAI this year moved towards its core function: education.

“Association is meant to help the members grow into better and more informed professions; and in this education plays key role. Thus, this year we decided to decipher the heavy jargons around printed electronics through a technical presentation by a team from IIT Kanpur. We are glad the industry appreciated the effort,” said SandeshTere of SPAI. This year, the initiative to manage the awards was taken up by Sandesh. From encouraging printers to send their nominations to the the management of Gala event had tints on Sandesh’s perfectionist attitude. 

Scientists from The National Centre of Flexible Electronics (FlexE) - IIT Kanpur made an engaging presentation on flexible ‘printed’ electronics. The team spoke at length on how the flexible materials have made inroads in to the printed electronics market.

Dr.SudhindranTatti, COO, FlexE said, “The whole reason to have a discussion on printed electronics is about finding synergies between industries. India already missed the semiconductor bus. Today, there is hardly any manufacturing facility of semiconductors in the country.”

Pointing out the next wave is large area flexible electronics. He mentioned three reasons to get into the race: India is a non-participant in $400mn market of semiconductors; this is the right time to participate in the flexible electronics since it’s in the nascent stages; and it is expected to balloon into the size of semiconductors industry in the next 20 years.

FlexE recently setup a robust R&D centre to deep dive into the oceans of possibility offered by flexible printed electronics. In this concern, the entity is also looking at industry partners to jointly develop applications. Marking a stark contrast with other R&D centres, Sudhindra says, “We don’t want to be typical R&D centres but want to solve problems and find innovative applications using screen printing. The areas we have identified for this are counterfeiting, RFID and NFCs chips for various applications, and for healthcare.”

Appreciating the trend to bring in technical seminars during award function, Gurbakshish from Omega Marketing said, “This might be for the first time that education found its dominance over entertainment during awards. We are glad that SPAI opted for such a model since the core objective of such events should be promoting knowledge and best practices.”

Adding to the view, Gautam of Gautam Paper Udhyog said, “Often entertainment dilutes the objective. Today there was cheering for the best works, appreciation for knowledge and a tint of entertainment. It was one of the best awards we have participated in recently. We need to make such events bigger and better each year so that together the screen printing industry receives the respect it deserves.”