• Japanese
  • Korean
  • Chinese
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Conductive Ink Markets 2014-2024: Forecasts, Technologies, Players

The conductive ink and paste business is a large market that will generate $1.6 billion in 2014 in revenue at the ink/paste level. This market however is segmented, consisting of many emerging and mature markets. Overall, the market will experience 4.5% CAGR over the coming decade, although growth will be unevenly spread with several target markets experiencing rapid growth while others decline. This represents both opportunities as well as risk for all market participants. At the same time, emerging technologies and alternatives are improving fast too, increasingly becoming price and performance competitive with mature incumbents. This too, coupled with fluctuating base metal prices, suggests that companies must develop the right technology and market strategy to benefit from this changing market landscape. IDTechEx supports your decision making by assessing each market segment and each technology in great detail; and by providing detailed market forecasts, comprehensive technology and application assessment, and thorough business intelligence on key players.

The photovoltaic sector is a large target market for conductive paste. It however underwent a period of distress characterised by tumbling prices, bankruptcies and consolidation. This was triggered by the rapid expansion of production capacity in China and the simultaneous reduction of subsidies in Europe. In the same period however, other markets such as the touch screen and the automotive (with conductive inks/paste) sectors experienced continued growth while many others remained at a nascent or emerging state. In the background to all this, the financial crisis impacted the price of raw silver (the dominant technology), causing it to increase by 4.5 times between 2009 and 2012. These trends had huge implications for the market, strongly affecting the demand and changing its composition, while generating a global wave of interest in alternatives.

IDTechEx fully characterises the market dynamics for each application. It finds that the photovoltaic sector will recover, registering growth. However, various plating technologies will steal market share away from silver flake paste, adversely affecting demand. This will however happen slowly over the coming decade and screen printed paste will continue to dominate the market. The penetration rate of plating will be slow thanks to falling silver prices. Inkjet printable inks will also slowly penetrate this sector as silicon wafers thin requiring non-contact printing. The underlying incentive for uptake will however remain weak here given the low spot prices of silicon ingots, limiting growth. In general, silver nanoparticles will remain a very small player in this sector. The report gives a detailed quantitative analysis of market shares for each technology in the PV sector.

The touch market will continue its growth, particularly because touch capability will penetrate the notebook and monitor markets too. This will represent a growing addressable target market segment, although sputtering will continue to present stiff competition to printed bezels or edge electrodes. Fine lines with narrow spacing will be the trend in this market as bezels narrow further. This suggests opportunity for gravure offset printing, in particular. The metal mesh transparent conductive film technology (fine metallic grid) will also take market share away from ITO, particularly in large-area devices where a low sheet resistance really matters. This translates into demand for silver nanoparticles as fine lines (<5um) are required.

The automotive market will grow in prominence too, particularly as the interior products such as seat heaters, overhead consoles, etc adopt printed conductive pastes and inks. Here, the market will value long term reliability therefore price will be less of a differentiator in commoditised paste markets. The ability to combine good form factor and conductive functionality will play an important role here. The sensor market, particularly glucose sensors, will also grow fast, although there is large market uncertainty thanks to cost pressures applied by the US government and also due to a changing regularity framework. Printed logic and memory will remain at a nascent or R&D stage, contributing little to overall market figures, while smart packaging and RFID antennas will grow in units, but consumption per item will remain intrinsically small.

Silver flake paste is mature and thus unlikely to show further performance improvement or cost reduction (unless base metal prices fall). At the same time, silver nanoparticles will improve, particularly as large corporations with capacity and leverage enter the scene. The trend towards alternatives such as copper and silver alloys will also continue, particularly in Japan where many companies offer different migration-free and relatively stable copper pastes and curing techniques. This is despite the fact that the switching motive is now weakened thanks to reducing raw silver prices. Graphene, PEDOT and carbon nanotubes will all find niche applications. For example, graphene is already in the RFID and smart packaging sectors thank to its low cost, fast printing and low curing temperature. Sintering techniques will also change and/or improve with photo-sintering registering particular success as it increases processing speeds and brings compatibility with low-temperature substrates.

**1

The total market depicted above consists of at least 14 sub-segments. Overall, the market will experience 4.5% CAGR over the coming decade, although growth will be unevenly spread with several target markets experiencing rapid growth while others decline.

This report provides a detailed assessment of the market. IDTechEx has interviewed or visited over 40 relevant companies, and has organised and attended many events around the world. This has given IDTechEx unique access and insight into primary information. This report in particular provides:

  • 1- Ten year market forecasts by technology market share, volume demand and market value in 14 market segments including automotive, touch, photovoltaics, RFID, sensors, smart packaging, logic and memory, etc.
  • 2- Comprehensive technology assessment, benchmarking and competitive landscaping for silver flake pastes, silver nanoparticle inks, copper nano and flake pastes and inks, graphene and carbon nanotubes, PEDOT, and silver nanowires.
  • 3- Detailed application assessment including dynamics and drivers.
  • 4- Competitive business intelligence on all key industry players including 44 profiles based on direct interviews and/or visits.

Analyst access from IDTechEx

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Table of Contents

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • 1.1. Overview - Market Forecasts 2014-2024
  • 1.2. Technologies
  • 1.3. Markets
    • 1.3.1. Photovoltaic Market
    • 1.3.2. Touch Screen Market
    • 1.3.3. Other Markets
  • 1.4. Players

2. PRINTABLE CONDUCTIVE INKS- A SURVEY

  • 2.1. Silver Flakes
    • 2.1.1. Conductivity
    • 2.1.2. Printing Technique
    • 2.1.3. Cost
    • 2.1.4. Target Markets
    • 2.1.5. Summary (SWOT)
    • 2.1.6. Players
  • 2.2. Nanoparticle Silver Ink
    • 2.2.1. High Conductivity
    • 2.2.2. Reduced Sintering Temperature
    • 2.2.3. Enhanced Flexibility
    • 2.2.4. Inkjet Printability
    • 2.2.5. Improved Surface Smoothness
    • 2.2.6. Material Savings
    • 2.2.7. Cost
    • 2.2.8. Price Parity
    • 2.2.9. Production Methods
    • 2.2.10. Target Markets
    • 2.2.11. Summary (SWOT)
    • 2.2.12. Players
  • 2.3. Silver Nanowires
    • 2.3.1. Transparency
    • 2.3.2. Flexibility
    • 2.3.3. Conductivity
    • 2.3.4. Fabrication and Printability
    • 2.3.5. Target Markets
    • 2.3.6. Summary (SWOT)
  • 2.4. Players
  • 2.5. Silver Ion Inks
  • 2.6. Copper Nanoparticles and Pastes
    • 2.6.1. Variety
    • 2.6.2. Annealing Methods
    • 2.6.3. Target Markets
    • 2.6.4. Summary (SWOT)
    • 2.6.5. Players
  • 2.7. Copper Oxide Nanoparticle Ink
  • 2.8. Silver-Coated Copper Inks and Pastes
    • 2.8.1. PDOT:PSS
    • 2.8.2. SWOT Analyses
    • 2.8.3. Players
  • 2.9. Graphene
    • 2.9.1. Graphene Inks
    • 2.9.2. SWOT Aanalyses
    • 2.9.3. Players

3. CONDUCTIVE INKS IN PHOTOVOLTAICS

  • 3.1. The Big Picture
  • 3.2. Many Different Photovoltaic Technologies
  • 3.3. Big Numbers are Involved
  • 3.4. Crystalline Silicon
  • 3.5. Printed Conductive Tracks
  • 3.6. Material Set
  • 3.7. Market Shares for Conductive Inks
  • 3.8. Market Value

4. TOUCH SCREEN

  • 4.1. The Big Picture
  • 4.2. The Market Value

5. ITO REPLACEMENT

  • 5.1. Market Value

6. CONDUCTIVE INKS IN RFID

  • 6.1. The Big Picture
  • 6.2. Material Options and Market Shares
  • 6.3. Market Value

7. CONDUCTIVE INKS IN VEHICLES

  • 7.1. The Big Picture
  • 7.2. Material Set and Market Share
  • 7.3. Market

8. CONDUCTIVE INKS IN SMART PACKAGING AND BRAND ENHANCEMENT

  • 8.1. The Big Picture
  • 8.2. Market Value

9. SENSORS

10. COMPANY PROFILES

  • 10.1. Advanced Nano Products
  • 10.2. AIST and NAPRA
  • 10.3. Amogreentech
  • 10.4. Applied Nanotech Inc.
  • 10.5. Asahi Glass Corporation
  • 10.6. Asahi Kasei
  • 10.7. Cabot
  • 10.8. Chang Sung Corporation
  • 10.9. Cima Nanotech
  • 10.10. Ferro
  • 10.11. Harima
  • 10.12. Hitachi Chemical
  • 10.13. Kishu Giken Kogyo Co.,Ltd.
  • 10.14. Liquid X Printed Metals, Inc.
  • 10.15. Indium Corporation
  • 10.16. NanoMas Technologies
  • 10.17. Noritake
  • 10.18. Novacentrix
  • 10.19. Novacentrix PulseForge
  • 10.20. Taiyo
  • 10.21. Toyobo
  • 10.22. Vorbeck

11. COMPANY INTERVIEWS

  • 11.1. Agfa Materials
  • 11.2. Anderlab Technologies
  • 11.3. Angstron Materials
  • 11.4. Applied Graphene Materials
  • 11.5. Applied Materials Baccini
  • 11.6. Arkema
  • 11.7. Bando Chemical
  • 11.8. Bayer Material Science AG
  • 11.9. Blue Nano
  • 11.10. Cambrios Technology
  • 11.11. Colloidal Ink
  • 11.12. Conductive Compounds
  • 11.13. Creative Materials
  • 11.14. Daicel Corporation
  • 11.15. DuPont Microcircuit Materials
  • 11.16. DZP Technologies
  • 11.17. Fujikura Kasei
  • 11.18. Genes' Ink
  • 11.19. Grafen Chemical Industries
  • 11.20. Graphenano
  • 11.21. Graphene Technologies
  • 11.22. GSI Technologies
  • 11.23. Henkel
  • 11.24. Heraeus
  • 11.25. Incubation Alliance
  • 11.26. Inkron
  • 11.27. InkTec
  • 11.28. Intrinsiq Materials
  • 11.29. KunShan Hisense Electronics
  • 11.30. Methode Electronics
  • 11.31. nanoComposix
  • 11.32. Nanocyl
  • 11.33. Nanogap
  • 11.34. NanoIntegris
  • 11.35. PChem Associates
  • 11.36. Poly-Ink
  • 11.37. Promethean Particles
  • 11.38. Showa Denko
  • 11.39. SouthWest NanoTechnologies
  • 11.40. Sun Chemical
  • 11.41. Thomas Swan
  • 11.42. T-Ink
  • 11.43. Toda Kogyo Corp
  • 11.44. Tokusen USA Inc
  • 11.45. Ulvac
  • 11.46. UT Dots
  • 11.47. Xerox Research Centre of Canada
  • 11.48. XG Sciences
  • 11.49. Xolve
  • 11.50. Xymox

12. GLOSSARY

APPENDIX 1 - IDTECHEX RESEARCH REPORTS AND CONSULTANCY

TABLES

  • 1.1. Ten year forecast market data for conductive inks and paste across different market segments (millions)
  • 1.2. Ten year forecast market data for conductive inks and paste across different market segments (tonnes)
  • 1.3. Companies developing alternatives to silver conductive inks and paste
  • 1.4. Categorizing 85 companies commercialising conductive inks and paste by technology and territory
  • 2.1. Merits of silver flake inks
  • 2.2. The table below lists the key players supplying various types of silver flake paste (firing and low-T types).
  • 2.3. Volume resistivity and annealing temperature of nanoparticle silver inks offered by various suppliers
  • 2.4. Company offering ink-jet printable conductive inks
  • 2.5. Parameters of each production method
  • 2.6. Main processing categories of nanoparticles
  • 2.7. Processing category by parameter
  • 2.8. Merits of silver nanoparticle inks
  • 2.9. Comprehensive table comparing printing method, annealing temperature, price, resistivity, and solvent of silver nanoparticle inks offered by key players
  • 2.10. Merits of silver nanowires
  • 2.11. Key companies working on silver nanowires
  • 2.12. Results from thermal cycle or aging test
  • 2.13. Merits of copper nanoparticle inks
  • 2.14. Companies developing copper pastes
  • 2.15. SWOT analysis of PEDOTPSS and similar organic transparent conducting materials
  • 2.16. Companies developing PEDOT and other similar organic transparent conductive materials/films
  • 2.17. Merits of graphene
  • 2.18. Graphene companies that offer printable inks today
  • 3.1. Bankruptcies, closures, acquisitions, sales and/or restructuring
  • 3.2. Key characteristics of different PV technologies
  • 3.3. A range of different materials can be used as conductors
  • 6.1. Key characteristics of RFID devices
  • 6.2. Key attributes of various materials
  • 7.1. Application of conductive inks in vehicles
  • 7.2. Market uptake in the medium term
  • 8.1. Attributes of the available technologies
  • 10.1. Screen Printable Silver Paste
  • 10.2. Other Silver Pastes
  • 10.3. Inkjet Printable Inks
  • 10.4. Applied Nanotech products
  • 10.5. Ferro's metal products
  • 10.6. Outline of Noritake product list
  • 10.7. Silver and carbon pastes offered by Toyobo
  • 10.8. Performance of Hitachi Chemical's inks compared to printed circuit board solutions

FIGURES

  • 1.1. Ten year market forecast for conductive inks and paste across different market segments
  • 1.2. Ten year volume forecast for conductive inks and paste across different market segments
  • 1.3. Ten year volume forecast for silver flake conductive paste across different market segments
  • 1.4. Ten year market forecast for silver flake conductive paste across different market segments
  • 1.5. Business landscape for silver flake conductive paste
  • 1.6. Ten year volume forecast for silver nano conductive inks across different market segments
  • 1.7. Ten year market forecast for silver nano conductive inks across different market segments
  • 1.8. Business landscape for silver flake conductive paste
  • 1.9. Historical silver price
  • 1.10. Ten year forecast for number of wafers in the c-Si PV industry
  • 1.11. Ten year forecast for installed capacity of solar cells globally
  • 1.12. Ten year market forecast for conductive pastes/inks in the a-Si and c-Si PV industries
  • 1.13. Ten year volume forecast for conductive pastes/inks in the c-Si PV industry
  • 1.14. Ten year forecast for number of touch devices sold globally
  • 1.15. Ten year forecast in area for touch devices sold globally
  • 1.16. A typical configuration for touch screens
  • 1.17. Ten year forecast for conductive paste in touch screen markets
  • 1.18. Ten year volume forecast for conductive paste in touch screen markets
  • 1.19. Membrane switch applications
  • 1.20. Printed circuit boards
  • 2.1. Process flow for producing silver flake conductive paste
  • 2.2. General trends in silver flake inks
  • 2.3. Silver flake ink prices from 1975
  • 2.4. Target markets for silver flake pastes (both fired and low temperature). Target markets are categorised by volume and growth rate.
  • 2.5. Categorising silver nanoparticle companies by size and commercialization stage
  • 2.6. Examples of printed and sintered silver nanoparticle inks
  • 2.7. Melting temperature as a function of gold particle size
  • 2.8. Nanoparticles can fill in the gaps to reduce resistivity
  • 2.9. Improving surface smoothness
  • 2.10. Nanoparticle silver prices $ per kg. It is noted that there is a scatter in prices as companies offer inks ranging from 100 to 1.5/2 $/g by solid content. We think that 4.5-5 $/g is close to the market average today at reasonable
  • 2.11. Categorising target markets on the basis of growth rate and volume*
  • 2.12. Categorising silver nanoparticle companies by size and commercialization stage
  • 2.13. Examples of nanowire networks
  • 2.14. Silver nanowires as transparent conductors
  • 2.15. Flexibility of silver nanowires
  • 2.16. Conductivity depends on the concentration of silver nanowires
  • 2.17. Categorising target markets on the basis of growth rate and volume*
  • 2.18. Silver ion ink
  • 2.19. Comparing the surface finish between a ion-silver ink (left) and a conventional ink (right).
  • 2.20. Anti-reflectors used in plasma displays
  • 2.21. Raw copper prices as a function of year
  • 2.22. Copper nanoparticles
  • 2.23. Weight loss as a function of temperature
  • 2.24. Apparatus use for annealing printed Cu inks and paste using the super-steam approach
  • 2.25. The growth process of crystalline Cu islands (large flakes) in the presence of reactive gas and heat
  • 2.26. Comparing a photolithographic and printing process used to create a pattern on a printed circuit board
  • 2.27. Categorising target markets on the basis of growth rate and volume
  • 2.28. Novacentrix RFID antennas
  • 2.29. Silver-coated copper particles/flakes
  • 2.30. Chemical structure of PDOT:PSS
  • 2.31. Schematic picture of a dispersed gel particle
  • 2.32. A process flow for patterning PDOT:PSS using photolithography and CELVIOSTM etchant
  • 2.33. A process flow for patterning PDOT:PSS using gravure (or screen) printing and CELVIOSTM etchant
  • 2.34. Comparing the performance of ITO on foil (similar to ITO on PET) with PEDOT:PSS in 2002
  • 2.35. Optical transmission (%) as a function of wavelength for different grades of PDOT:PSS on glass
  • 2.36. Improvements in performance of PDOT:PSS
  • 2.37. Improvement in conductivity for PDOT:PSS has a function of year
  • 2.38. Optical transmission as a function of sheet resistance for PDOT:PSS/PET films (here referred to as Baytron) compared with common ITO-on-PET films on the market
  • 2.39. Optical transmission (%) of PDOT/PET and PET as a function of wavelength (screen printed PDOT)
  • 2.40. Relative changes in sheet resistance as a function of number of bending cycles (bending radius 8mm) for ITO/PET and PDOT:PSS/PET films
  • 2.41. Changes in sheet resistance as a function of radius of curvature for ITO/PET and PEDOT:PSS/PET films
  • 2.42. Sheet resistance as a function distance from fixed point in PDOT:PSS films
  • 2.43. Silver nanowires, metal mesh ad PDOT
  • 2.44. Change in sheet resistance as a function of exposure time to effective sunlight
  • 2.45. Trade-offs involved in choosing a graphene production technique
  • 2.46. Companies having moved or moving up the value chain to offer graphene intermediary products such as inks
  • 2.47. Examples of RFID and smart packing prototypes and applications by Vorbeck
  • 2.48. Categorising graphene companies on the basis of their manufacturing technology
  • 3.1. Average selling price for PV modules
  • 3.2. IDTechEx forecast of the a-Si and c-Si PV market between 2014 and 2024
  • 3.3. Number of 6 inch c-Si PV wafers installed per year 2014-2024
  • 3.4. Typical crystalline silicon PV structure
  • 3.5. Crystalline silicon 'bus bars' grid pattern
  • 3.6. The ink is spread over the squeegee and pushed through the screen printing mesh
  • 3.7. The schematic process flow for printing conductive tracks on PVs
  • 3.8. Predicted trend for minimum as-cut wafer thickness in mass production of solar cells and minimum cell thickness in module
  • 3.9. Green, yellow and red represent known, developing and unknown technologies, respectively
  • 3.10. Technology share in PV metallisation sector
  • 3.11. Market value for different silver ink and paste types used in the PV sector. The market for silver flake paste shrinks thanks to lower consumption per wafer and also loss of market share to plating and other methods
  • 3.12. The metric volume amount of different inks/pastes used in c-Si and a-Si technologies in tonnes 2014-2024
  • 4.1. A typical configuration for touch screens. Here, the edge electrodes are clearly visible.
  • 4.2. Ten year forecast for mobile phone and smart phone sales
  • 4.3. Sales of standard and touch notebooks as a function of year between 2013 and 2023*
  • 4.4. Tablets sales as a function of year between 2013 and 2023
  • 4.5. Sales of standard and touch monitors as a function of year between 2013 and 2023*
  • 4.6. Market share by technology type 2014-2024
  • 4.7. Conductive paste market share by technology in the touch sector between 2014 and 2024
  • 4.8. Ten-year market forecast for conductive pastes into the touch sector (bezel) segmented by application
  • 4.9. Ten-year market forecast for conductive pastes into the touch sector (bezel) segmented by technology
  • 5.1. Benchmarking different ITO alternative solutions on the basis of sheet resistance, colour, transmission, flexibility, ease of customisation, stability, cost, etc.
  • 5.2. Ten-year market forecast for use of silver nanowires and silver nanoparticles, at material level, as an ITO alternative
  • 6.1. Inductive and electric antenna
  • 6.2. Examples of HF antennas
  • 6.3. Examples of UHF antennas
  • 6.4. The approximate cost breakdown of different components in a typical UHF RFID tag
  • 6.5. IDTechEx projections of the growth in the number of RFID tags
  • 6.6. Material costs for making the antenna (excludes processing and substrate costs)
  • 6.7. Market share in the RFID antenna sector by ink/paste technology
  • 6.8. Demand for conductive inks and pastes in tonnes in the RFID antenna market
  • 6.9. Ten year market forecast for supplying ink/paste into the RFID antenna market segmented by technology
  • 7.1. Application of conductive inks in vehicles
  • 7.2. Volume demand in tonnes as a function of year for internal and external automotive applications
  • 7.3. Market share between different conductive ink/paste technologies in the automotive sector
  • 7.4. Volume demand in tonnes as a function of year for internal and external automotive applications segmented by technology
  • 7.5. Ten year market forecast for conductive inks/paste in the automotive sector segmented by technology
  • 8.1. Conductive inks in smart and electronic packaging
  • 8.2. Market share forecasts
  • 8.3. Market value of conductive inks in the smart packaging and brand enhancement market segment. Graphene and CNTs are excluded.
  • 9.1. Electrochemical blood glucose strips
  • 9.2. Ten year forecasts for printed and non-printed glucose test strips
  • 9.3. Ten year forecasts for volume demand and market value for conductive inks/pastes in glucose sensors
  • 10.1. Properties of the low-melting-point alloy before and after melting (structure and conductivity)
  • 10.2. Electron microscope images of the Napra-developed copper paste (left) and of commercially available resin silver paste (right)
  • 10.3. Resistivity of silver and copper pastes (Commercially available copper pastes: A, B, and C; Napra-developed copper paste: D; and commercially available silver paste: E)
  • 10.4. Resistivity vs. cure temperature for glass-coated silver nanoparticles
  • 10.5. The annealing process and equipment used for Hitachi Chemical's inks and pastes
  • 10.6. Performance of Hitachi Chemical's inks compared to printed circuit board solutions
  • 10.7. The Pulse Forge principle
  • 10.8. Copper pastes developed by Toyobo
  • 10.9. Flexographic formulation of Vor-Ink from Vorbeck
  • 10.10. Packaging NatralockR with Siren™ Technology
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