Screen printed electrodes (SPE) have a reputation for being a good technology for anyone looking to make a low cost biosensor or IVD. At ZP we agree with this but there is also an issue with SPE marekt. The issue is that a lot of people know that a glucose strip used by diabetics costs around 2 to 5 cents to manufacture, but that cost point comes after millions of dollars of process development, capital equipment purchasing and having a customer base in the millions so that production is at high volume.
When the customer base is small and the number of SPE is low then there are none of these economies of scale and the SPE should be more expensive, but as there are a number of thick film printing vendors able to produce SPE then the price for custom SPE production can be low; this creates a dichotomy as the buyer is receiving a low price, but is expecting high quality. The lesson in life is that quality and price are generally proportional to each other.
At ZP we are able to offer a low price SPE, but it is because we are manufacturing the SPE in high volumes and so we are sharing that benefit with our clients. The reason we know the quality of our electrodes is because we functionally test them.
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