Market Research Report
Conductive Ink Markets 2018-2028: Forecasts, Technologies, Players
|Published by||IDTechEx Ltd.||Product code||235628|
|Published||Content info||538 Pages, 340 Figures
Delivery time: 1-2 business days
|Conductive Ink Markets 2018-2028: Forecasts, Technologies, Players|
|Published: February 20, 2018||Content info: 538 Pages, 340 Figures||
Conductive Ink Markets 2018-2028: Forecasts, Technologies, Players
Silver flake, silver nanoparticles, copper inks and pastes, graphene and beyond.
This report provides the most comprehensive and authoritative view of the 2370 tpa conductive inks and paste market, giving detailed ten-year market forecasts segmented by application and material type. The market forecasts are given in tonnage and value at the ink level.
It includes critical reviews of all the competing conductive inks and paste technologies including firing-type pastes, PTFs, laser-cut or photo-patterned pastes, nanoparticles, stretchable inks, in-mould inks, copper, copper/silver alloys, nanocarbons, and more. Here, we outline the latest performance levels/progress, technology challenges, key suppliers, existing and emerging target market, and forecasts where appropriate.
It also provides a detailed assessment of more than 25 application sectors. Here, we analyse the market needs/requirements, discuss the business dynamics, market leadership and technology change trends, competing solutions, latest product/prototype launches, key players and market forecasts in tonnes and value.
The markets covered include photovoltaics, touch screen edge electrodes, automotive (defoggers, seat occupancy sensors, seat heaters, etc.), in-mould electronics (automotive, home appliance, etc.), Electronic textile and wearable electronics, 3D antennas and conformal printing, EMI Shielding, 3D printed electronics, multi layer ceramic capacitors (MLCC), sintered die attach paste, ITO replacement (hybrid, direct printing, etc), printed piezoresistive, capacitive and bio sensors, PCB (DIY/hobbyist, professional, seed-and-plate), RFID (HF, UHF), printed TFT and memory, OLED and large-area LED lighting, flexible e-readers and reflective displays, large-area heaters (battery, plant, seat, etc.), conductive pens, digitizers and more.
In the report we also cover more than 130 companies. For most, we provide insights based on primary intelligence obtained through interviews, visits, conference exhibition interactions, personal communications, and so on. For more than 50 we provide full interview-based company profiles including a detailed SWOT analysis and IDTechEx Index. These provide valuable insight on company positioning, strategy, opportunities, and challenges.
This report is based upon years of research. In the past five years alone, our analysts have interviewed more than 100 industry players, visited numerous users/ suppliers across the world, attended more than 20 relevant conferences/exhibitions globally, and worked with many industry players to help them with their strategy towards this market. For example, in the last two years alone we visited around 20 tradeshows in Japan, USA, Taiwan, Korea, Germany, UK and so on to update our report. Prior to this, our analysts played an active role in commercializing conductive pastes, particularly in the photovoltaic industry.
In parallel to this, IDTechEx has organised the leading global conferences and tradeshows on printed electronics for the past decade in Asia, Europe and USA. These shows bring together the entire value chain on printed electronics, including all the conductive ink suppliers, printers, and end users. This has given us unrivalled access to the players and the latest market intelligence.
The record boom in photovoltaics lifted the entire industry up last year, turning it into a success for many regardless of their market share standings. Indeed, the demand, driven predominantly by China, was so high that many were working at or near full capacity. This however cannot mask the overreliance of the industry on the seemingly irreplaceable PV industry. Indeed, the industry will remain concerned that it may reach peak silver consumption soon despite growing unit sales. In the short term, incremental innovation reducing content per cell and increased competitive pressures further changing the market share standings will shape the industry. In the long term, the risk is that the new future capacity will adopt novel PV technologies and architectures that jeopardize the printed inks' grip on the conductor element.
This is why the conductive ink industry is still in search of the next big thing. To this end, it sets out to exploit the wonderful adaptability of conductive ink technology to develop tailored solutions for diverse new applications. The prevalent strategy has been to develop as broad a product portfolio as possible, seeding multiple nascent markets, garnering as much customer feedback as possible, and establishing value networks early on. This process is now in full swing with several markets finally transitioning towards commercial fruition this year.
The touch screen edge electrode market continues to be shaped by the perennial trend to narrow the bezel. This trend has already led to the introduction of new photo-patterned and laser-cut pastes to achieve narrow linewidth-over-spacing (L/S) ratios. Such ink innovations have so far enabled printing to stay competitive. The emphasis however has largely shifted onto cost and incremental resolution improvements. It is within this context that suppliers have aggressively slashed prices to keep market shares, to deter new ink entrants, and to fight off sputtering.
The automotive sector is becoming a major growth opportunity for the conductive ink industry. For years, suppliers have been serving the need for conductive pastes in window demisters, seat belt buttons, airbag deployers, and so on. In more recent time, the market has also expanded to include seat occupancy sensors and heaters. It is now expanding even further to include touch screens, in mould electronics, transparent heaters, high temperature die attach materials, and others. This has made engagement with automotive OEMs/value chain a high priority imperative.
Stretchable inks have been in active commercialization mode for some 4-5 years. In this time, the number of suppliers globally has multiplied, eroding technical and price differentiation but also helping accelerate market creation. The ink performances also dramatically improved, today offering superior stretchability and washability compared to earlier generations. The industry has already launched and sold products and most suppliers expect further customer qualification this year. Suppliers will seek to differentiate by offering a portfolio of stretchable inks (conductive and non-conductive) as well as by offering compatibility with a broader range of substrates. Increasingly, the margin for premium pricing will disappear, bringing stretchable inks in line with general paste price levels.
In-mould electronics (IME) is transitioning towards commercial orders too. IME conductive ink suppliers also multiplied in the past few years, mirroring the developments on the stretchable ink front. The menu of IME compatible materials also expanded to include transparent conductive, dielectric, protective and graphic inks. The commercial emphasis shifted from seeding the market and demonstrating prototypes to proving volume production and reliability as well as to resolving potential IP issues. The development pipelines are full with diverse applications ranging from automotive to home appliance to wearable technology. This diversity will bestow a certain resilience to the overall market.
There are high hopes for sprayed on-chip conformal EMI shielding coatings. Sputtered coatings have already been adopted by leading players, but now paste companies actively seek to provide a compelling alternative that is based on non-vacuum, low-CapEx, large-area and high-throughput spraying process. Paste suppliers have overcome issues such as sedimentation and are offering nano, micron and hybrid versions, hoping to strike their customer's sweet spot in terms of performance (maximal shielding with minimal thickness) and price. The engagement with small- to mid- sized device makers, particularly in China, is highly active but the big question for this year is whether a leading brand will qualify the technology.
Aerosol and other non-contact printing processes are now a major contender for printing antennas and other conductive traces on 3D objects. The production capacity now exists, particularly in Asia and many material suppliers have qualified their products with these processes. Commercial progress is set continue here.
Directly printed metal mesh has recently accelerated its technological progress, overcoming its limitations to achieve sub 5um linewidths. The technology is already in small scale commercial production, creating some opportunity for ink supply, but there is some way to go before it becomes leading market: the printing still takes place on narrow rolls running at low speeds to maintain yield thus limiting productivity. In the meantime, hybrid solutions (emboss then fill with paste/ink) will continue their stop-start commercial progress in applications like transparent antennas and touch screens whilst manufacturers contemplate whether to invest in large format machines or not.
Highly thermally conductive die attach pastes are in favour. This is because the market for high power electronics and/or devices operating in high temperatures is growing with the rise of electric, connected and/or autonomous vehicles, as well as small grid. Ag based sintered pastes do offer high conductivity but often require sintering at high temperatures and under external pressure to form a near-continuous, solid, and void-free thin film. A promising trend is now to use nano or hybrid fillers to reduce the sintering temperature and eliminate the need for external pressure. This technology is on the cusp of major success, and barring last minutes surprises, is likely to be adopted by electric vehicle producers this year.
Desktop and professional PCB printing (prototyping) is also making progress. The installed base of desktop versions has expanded but utilization -thus material consumption - is low. The sales of final (vs beta) version of professional multilayer printers has also started. In parallel, lower spec and lower cost machines have emerged. Professional desktop PCB printers are still in an early phase of market diffusion. Print-seed-and-then-plate approach in the PCB industry is also largely on hold due to the lack of a clear cost or performance benefit compared to incumbent processes. However, Cu inks printed PI substrates are actively being pushed for the FPCB applications. This approach may offer a cost advantage when surface coverage is low (
Cu is also making progress for RFID antenna printing. Here, several start-ups have demonstrated stable Cu inks that cure at low temperatures, however they still need to demonstrate production beyond lab scale. Multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCC) also continue to be a sizable industry with sales into the trillions of units, creating a significant market for screen printed Cu (and Ni) powders. The printed digitizer market for consumer electronics did not grow despite earlier high expectations, however printed large area digitizers, often based on Cu, are finding use in large-area interactive whiteboards.
Printed large-area piezoresistive, capacitive and biosensors are set to become one of the largest constituents of the greater printed electronics industry. Here, inks will be used as printed bus bars and interconnects. Despite technology improvements, printed transistor and memory will remain in search of applications. Special formulations for printed backplane interconnects on flexible e-readers and flexible displays will see small boom in the short- to medium-term particularly as e-readers transition towards large-area (wall-sized). Large-area LED arrays made with printing will slowly find their way into the market although competition from FPCB remains whilst the primary challenge will be developing and selling end lighting products. 3D printed electronics (3DPE) remains an innovation opportunity front for low-temperature inks compatible with a variety of substrates, although progress has slowed in offering dedicated 3DPE printers.
There are numerous other applications that are being developed for conductive paste which we consider in our report in detail. Examples include heating, battery pack and plant heaters, frequency-selective windows, and many more.
The conductive ink and paste market is changing. Numerous new applications are emerging. Today, most are still at development stage whilst some have transitioned towards early commercialization. Nonetheless, IDTechEx Research forecasts that these emerging markets will grow to represent a $580m market opportunity by 2028.
This diversification is ultimately enabled by the wonderful adaptability of conductive ink technology. It is this characteristic that has enabled suppliers to alter filler composition or modify formulation to address diverse needs in varied applications in terms of conductivity levels, curing conditions, substrate compatibility, adhesion strength, stretchability, washability, price.
Note that non-traditional conductive ink technologies are also finding success, at long last. One example is in nanoparticle inks which are finally, after many years of development, finding major commercial success. Indeed, we believe this year to be a pivotal year for silver nanoparticles. That is why we have a dedicated chapter on silver nanoparticle in this version of the report. Other technologies such as copper inks are also only slowly finding markets beyond MLCC.
In general, the ship is sailing now and nobody wants to be left behind. This is why companies are now allocating resources to new application development and this is why the conductive ink business has come alive again, making this old and adaptable industry exciting once again. To learn more about this industry please purchase this report.
Fig. Market growth opportunity for conductive inks and pastes in emerging sectors. Here, volume applications like touch screen edge electrodes, automotive (exterior), MLCC, membrane switch and photovoltaics are excluded.
Source: IDTechEx Research report "Conductive Inks 2018-2028", report contains exact values.
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