Roll to Roll is a manufacturing technique which involves continuously processing the flexible substrate by transferring it between the two moving rolls made up of the material like flexible plastic and metal foil etc. The process of Roll to Roll manufacturing is called as Roll to Roll processing. Roll to Roll processing is also known as reel to reel processing, web processing, or R2R. The Roll to Roll processing includes three steps coating, laminating and printing. The final step is called roll to roll printing. Roll to Roll printing to manufacture electronic devices provides flexibility. Roll to roll printing also provides benefits like low production cost, high line speed, and process continuity. Roll to roll printing in comparison to conventional systems provides flexibility, cost effectiveness, efficient and light solutions. Deposition, Gravure, Flexographic Printing, Flatbed and Rotary Screen Printing, Imprint or Soft Lithography, Laser Ablation, Offset Printing, Inkjet Printing are some of the processes where the roll to roll printing is used. Although initial cost of capital is high but it can be recovered by the low cost production. However in conventional printing systems overall cycle time is increased due to off-line drying and sheet handling. Applications of roll to roll printing include: flexible photovoltaics, thin film batteries, flexible electronics, multilayer capacitors, thin and thick film substrates, thick film sensor materials, barrier coatings, fuel cells, organic light emitting diodes, CIGS PV, and PEM (Proton Exchange Membranes).
Major market drivers for the market include increasing demand for flexible devices like RFID antennas & tags (smart labels), printed circuits, OLED lighting, and printed sensors. Highly economical production process for roll to roll printing is another driver for the roll to roll printing market. High-defect density resisting capabilities and rising consumer sectors are also the major driver for the roll to roll printing market. Increasing demand for devices like optoelectronics, photovoltaic, medical and electronics is another major reason for the growth in roll to roll printing market. Increase in durable, small sized, portable and wearable products will drive the market. Improvement in technical features provides opportunities for growth in the market. Increasing use of healthcare multimodal sensors is also driving the roll to roll printing market. Opportunities for the market are product innovations and R&D (Research & Development). Challenge for the market is conquering the digital world. Other restraints are the mass production and failure risks
Market can be segmented based on the application (flexible electronics, photovoltaics, and membrane, fuel cells, and battery technology), end users (commercial, medical, industrial, defense, aerospace, automotive, and consumer electronics), and geography (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America).
North is the largest market for roll to roll printing. In North America, U.S. is the leading market for roll to roll printing market. The reason for U.S. being the leading roll to roll market is the improved infrastructure and technological advancements. Europe will also grow considerably because of the presence of the key players. Asia Pacific will witness significant growth in roll to roll printing market due to the improved industrialization in countries like Korea, China, Taiwan, and Malaysia and foreign funds inflow. South and Central America and Africa & Middle East are also emerging nations for the roll to roll printing market.
The key players in the market include Sumitomo Electric Industries, Samsung Electronics, Kent Displays, 3M Company, Thinfilm, Linxens, E Ink Holdings, Multek Corporation, Nippon Mektron Ltd., Fujikura Ltd., GSI Technologies LLC, LG Display Co, 3M Company, Ascent Solar Technologies, Emfit, E Ink Corporations, and Avery Dennison. Mergers & Acquisitions, Product innovations, R&D (Research and Development), and new product development are some of the strategies followed by these key players.