FLEX Conference 2022: If You Build It, We Will Buy It


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Key presentations from companies like Boeing highlight FLEX Conference and Exhibition 2022, held in concert with the annual SEMICON West show this week in San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

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SEMICON West claims to be “North America’s premier microelectronics exhibition and conference,” uniting players across the entire electronics manufacturing and design supply chain.

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The FLEX Conference, tucked into an alcove near the front entrance to SEMICON, boasts about 25 vendors and three presentations areas for papers and tech talks. This compact arrangement feels just about right within the expanse of SEMICON.

The aim of the FLEX Conference is to feature the latest advances in flexible and printed electronics, including applications that deepen interactions between users and their surroundings, including innovations emerging from public-private partnerships.

Now, those R&D efforts are just beginning to roll out. While the series of keynotes on Tuesday offered plenty calls to action, the most compelling was by John D. Williams, a Technical Fellow at Boeing, whose presentation was titled “Multilayer Flexible Electronic Devices for IoT and RF Applications.”

John_Williams_boeing.jpgHe outlined several flex designs and capabilities that Boeing R&D has developed and turned into replicable processes required for the flexible electronics Boeing aircraft need—and for which Boeing is looking for manufacturers to take on that work. To me, the message from Boeing is: If you build this, we will buy it.

In addition to the wide range of exhibitors and conference presentation, the FLEX Conference also includes university level research and presentations, providing academic R&D room to showcase their work as well. Presenters aim to speak about materials, application, and market outlook of flexible electronics. 

If this show proves anything, it’s that while printed electronics has been working quietly in the background, I expect to see some major strides occurring over the next couple of years.

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