Every investor is on the prowl for the hottest printing business opportunities. Every month, I’m going to compile a post of hot niches in the printing industry that are generating profits in the 10-20% range and are on the forefront of new technologies and innovation.
I’ll also include a link to a company that’s doing particularly well in the area, and highlight some of the moves they’ve made to generate success.
In this post, I’ll focus on Electroluminescent Lamps, or EL.
How Electroluminescent Lamps (EL) work:
EL lamps are a perfect example of the red-hot Printed Electronics niche. As noted on the website of Ellumilite, EL is a “solid-state electronic device that allows energy to build up within a thin phosphor layer that resides between two conductive panels.” The energy is released as a “glowing light.”
“Mixed as ‘ink,’ the phosphorous is printed on a substrate (PET/polyester) with an ITO (Indium-Tin Oxide) layer.” Eventually, “Electrical components are attached and a power supply added to provide power to excite the phosphor, causing it to glow.”
For an in-depth look at how a standard EL lamp works, check out this great video.
ELs are Green and Innovative
EL lamps operate effectively without creating heat, which makes them more energy efficient. They’re environmentally friendly in other ways, too. ELs are non-hazardous, which means they can be easily disposed of, unlike the special disposal protocols required by fluorescent bulbs and neons.
The technology, naturally, has spawned its own set of innovations. Ellumilite, for example, features an ELPAK power unit that’s energy efficient and customized for their EL backlighting lamps, allowing the company to bring “the maximum benefits of low energy usage and brightest light.”
DUREL has a proprietary circuit design, which they tout for “achieving low-noise performance for applications that are sensitive to electrical and audible noise.”
DuPont actually sells a “completely compatible system” for screen printing EL lamps, and works with companies who use the technology for printing.
What Industries are Using EL and Where?
There’s no denying the “Wow” factor with this technology. Ultra-thin and flexible, it can be bent and remain uniformly lit.
As Ellumilite notes on its websites, EL is big in the following markets, and used in the following ways:
Retail Stores and Hospitality POS/POP: (Counter displays, wall signage, ceiling tile advertising, floor mats)
Restaurants and Bars: (Menus, table tops, window signage, bar/counter top displays, floor mat signage)
Advertising and Marketing: (Banners, POP/POS in-store signage, placards, billboards)
Commercial and Residential Real Estate: (Night lights, night lighting, building numbers, floor mats, accent lighting)
OEM: (Backlight membrane switches, rubber keypads, automotive, instrument and control panels, appliances, aerospace, safety, medical, consumer electronics)
Top Company: Ellumilite
I like any company that takes on a niche and really soars, which is why I like Ellumilite. They focus solely on EL, with an experienced team focused on the new development of new power sources, manufacturability and markets.
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