UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Fantastic Plastic: New Boost for UK Electronics Manufacturing Sector

Press Release   •   Dec 08, 2009 10:30 GMT

New strategy to ensure UK remains a Global leader in £multi-billion industry of the future
Details of £28m government investment revealed

Ensuring the UK remains a world-leader in the high-growth plastic electronics sector is at the heart of a new government strategy launched by Lord Mandelson today.

Plastic electronics technology makes it possible to produce a wide range of innovative products more cheaply and in a more environmentally-friendly way than previously viable.

The global market for these technologies is forecasted to grow at an astonishing rate over the next decade, exceeding $120billion by 2020. This rapid expansion will create up to 20,000 jobs and generate a wealth of economic opportunities for the UK.

Launching the strategy at the QE2 Conference Centre in London, Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson said:

“Plastic Electronics technology has the capacity to revolutionise the way we do things and shake up whole industries. And it’s a sector where Britain has huge potential for leadership, employment and growth.

“The UK is already a global leader in the sector thanks to our world-class science-base and our strengths in research, creativity and innovation. We now need a roadmap for the industry that takes it from cutting edge to mass market while keeping Britain firmly in front.

“This new industry-led strategy is another important step towards achieving the vision defined in New Industry, New Jobs. It sets out Government action to help industry champion the needs of the plastic electronics sector and drive innovation, so that a vibrant mix of manufacturers can unlock the full potential of the technology and exploit its opportunities.”

The Plastic Electronics Strategy for Success: Realising the UK Potential identifies the key challenges facing the sector and recommends solutions, including actions to:

·  Exploit opportunities for UK manufacturing in domestic and export markets and identify potential areas of global collaboration

·  Encourage, co-ordinate and facilitate investment and support business growth to ensure that the UK remains an attractive environment for plastic electronics manufacturing

·  Support the five Centres of Excellence in showcasing the benefits of using Plastic Electronics in the development of new products

·  Develop new training strategies to ensure the future workforce has the multi-disciplinary skills needed as the sector rapidly expands

·  Establish a Plastic Electronics Leadership Group (PELG) to champion the sector, raise its profile, and improve co-ordination within the industry and research institutions.

The recently announced £20 million expansion of the Printable Electronic Technology Centre (PETEC) in Sedgefield will also significantly boost product plastic electronics development facilities and create 1,500 jobs over the next four years.

The Government is announcing today that the first stage in the centre’s expansion will be the development of production facilities for prototype flexible lighting panels and low-cost, long-life solar cells. This will be operational by September 2010. Following that, a manufacturing line for plastic electronic displays and integrated smart systems will be installed in the centre in early 2011.

In addition, the Technology Strategy Board is investing £8 million in initiatives to help the industry work collaboratively to develop new manufacturing processes and innovative products.

Notes to editors

1. Plastic Electronics Strategy for Success: Realising the UK Potential can be downloaded from http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file53890.pdf

2. Photos from the strategy launch will be freely downloadable from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bisgovuk following the event

3. Plastic Electronics technology allows circuits to be printed on to any surface and over large areas. This low-cost alternative to conventional silicon-based electronics will lead to the creation of new generations of products, including smart systems which integrate components such as sensors, batteries and displays.

4. The global market for Plastic Electronics is under $2 billion now, but is forecast to grow to as much as $330 billion by 2027.

5. The largest growth in the sector is predicted to take place in the markets for rollable electronic display screens, ultra-efficient lighting and low-cost, long-life solar cells.

6. The New Industry, New Jobs’ strategy identified Plastic Electronics as one of a range of new industrial technologies in which strong UK capabilities should be a priority for Government attention and support.

7. The £20million expansion of PETEC was announced in July 2009 as part of the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing package

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

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