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OLED Lighting Devices Created by GE on Roll-to-Roll Process  (Source: Business Wire)
GE demos OLED manufacturing process similar to a newspaper printer

Looking at the future of displays for TVs, computers, and other electronic devices OLED is one of the main contenders to replace the traditional LCD screens common today. The problem with OLED displays at this time is that the manufacturing process required to produce the OLED screens is, for now, relatively cumbersome and costly.

GE has been conducting research into cheaper methods of manufacturing OLEDs funded by a $13 million research collaboration between GE Global Research, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST funded the research with the goal of demonstrating a cheap, commercially viable way to mass produce OLED products.

GE announced today it succeeded in devising a method to cheaply produce OLED lighting products using a newspaper printing like roll to roll process. Anil Duggal, manager of GE’s advanced Technology Program in Organic Electronics wrote in a blog post, “about 4 years ago, we set out to find out for ourselves whether it could be done.  We found a partner company (Energy Conversion Devices or ECD) with great experience at making roll-to-roll equipment and together we were successful in winning a proposal that we submitted to a government agency (NIST) looking to help fund high risk technology development.”

What Duggal and his team of researchers did was devise a method of manufacturing OLED lighting products on a roll-to-roll machine. ECD then built the roll-to-roll machine needed for the manufacturing process.

Duggal went on to write, “Because this had never been done before, we faced some real technical challenges - especially given our program time constraints that often meant we had to start designing machine modules before we had the device fabrication process completely figured out!  Anyway, in the end it all came together and we were successful in making our deliverable.”

While OLED lighting is an interesting proposition for lighting homes and business in the future, the really interesting application of the roll to roll technology for technophiles will be if the technology used to make the lighting products can be refined for use in making OLED panels for electronics.

According to Duggal, “Beyond OLEDs, this technology also could have broader impact in the manufacturing of other organic electronic devices such as organic photovoltaics for solar energy conversion, sensors and roll-up displays.”

This process could lead to cheap, easy to produce OLED TVs and PC displays in the future. The reason Sony cites for its low production volume and high relative cost of its XEL-1 OLED TV is the cost and complexity of making the OLED panel itself on traditional production lines, though almost every manufacturer agrees OLEDs will eventually cost substantially less than LCDs of the same size.



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RE: Ink.
By KillerNoodle on 3/12/2008 5:55:08 PM , Rating: 2
There is a system, be it just an idea or if they actually made it, that will "Print" buildings layer by layer. And by doing so it would/does reduce building costs by a significant amount due to only needing minimal materials. This is most likely why printing manufacturing systems will be more cost effective for many different applications.


RE: Ink.
By Xodus Maximus on 3/12/2008 6:10:49 PM , Rating: 5
The problem is that its made by Epson, and the replacement cartridge prices are ridiculous!

Just kidding, but it would be so cool to have a giant plotter that molds walls and other complex shapes in layers, I can see making some awesome designs this way.


RE: Ink.
By KillerNoodle on 3/12/2008 6:28:34 PM , Rating: 2
Article about Printing Buildings.

architects are among the very few providing custom design services in a product-infatuated society. this presents a profound problem, especially since few clients prossess an understanding of the efforts necessary to create custom, products, and even fewer are willing to adequately finance them.

As this trend continues, 3D “printing” of full-scale building structures seems inevitable — especially considering that graduating digital designers are now creating 3D models by printing them and are eager to realize large-scale fabrication of complex forms that can’t readily be built by hand. Large 3D-printed structures (up to 14' x 20' x 8') can already be made in concrete using a prototype unit developed by University of Southern California industrial engineer Behrokh Khoshnevis. Khoshnevis can see no reason why rapid prototyping technology won’t eventually be scaled up, especially as material costs come down and funding increases.17 Architects using rapid fabrication technology at a building scale could economically create complex singular designs as well as customizable multiples. First these will appear as building components and later as full-scale structures.

Source: Harvard Design Magazine (4th bold header)
http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/research/publications/h...


RE: Ink.
By GTVic on 3/12/2008 8:30:25 PM , Rating: 2
That article doesn't quite make sense to me. If we have the technology to print buildings then I think we will see much more innovation in the industry and a reduction in manufacturing times and costs. That will allow people to spend more time and money on the original design.


RE: Ink.
By paydirt on 3/13/2008 9:34:34 AM , Rating: 1
What people seem to be missing is that the government is subsidizing GE's research in "consumer electronics." Why not give Intel and AMD and nVidia research grants as well?!


RE: Ink.
By Hieyeck on 3/13/2008 12:36:29 PM , Rating: 2
Because the world doesn't revolve around you or gamers. Even AMD/nvidia doesn't bank on gamers. Top-tier gamer cards only make up about 15% of their sales, even less of their profit.


RE: Ink.
By exanimas on 3/12/2008 6:21:45 PM , Rating: 2
They already have a mini-version of the tech you're talking about http://www.dailytech.com/3D+Printers+to+Dip+Below+...

I understand it's much more difficult to make one on a large enough to build a building layer-by-layer, but I guess you could call the 3D printer a scale test for the big version. There's some cool videos of people using them up on youtube if you're interested at all.


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