Investing in E-signs

BASF Future Business and Taiwan’s SiPix Technology have today entered into a partnership to jointly develop coloured e-paper applications.

BASF will develop the dyes needed to produce multicoloured e-signs, also known as electrophoretic displays, that can be used as electronic price and advertising signs, books, newspapers or magazines. BASF Future Business will also acquire a stake in SiPix.

E-signs are one of the first e-paper applications planned for market launch. They constitute an electronic alternative to the paper labels that supermarkets use on shelves, for example to show product prices.

E signs consist of an electronic display panel, an energy source and a receiver that is radio-controlled via a central computer. These electronic signs have the advantage that they do not have to be changed by hand and labelled. They can be read from any angle, require only a small amount of energy and have a life of up to six years.

The display is created when a mixture of dye particles is subjected to an electrical field. The particles are separated from one another because of their different electric charge and move in the direction of a visible foreground or an invisible background. In this way, each pixel on the surface of the display can appear white or coloured.

“We estimate that e-paper applications will reach a market potential of around 500 million Euros in the next 10 years,” said Markus Kropp, Business Manager at BASF Future Business. “We see e-signs as a way of entering the promising market of e-paper applications such as electronic newspapers and magazines, e-books and smart cards, in other words chip cards with additional electronic functions.”

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