Conductive inks and paste in growing demand, highlights IDTechEx

March 21, 2016 // By Julien Happich
Market research firm IDTechEx expects the conductive inks and paste business to grow from 1800 tonnes to 2200 by 2026, with multiple facets emerging.

In its report ' Conductive Inks 2016-2026: Forecasts, Technologies, Players ', IDTechEx Research provides a most comprehensive and authoritative view of the conductive inks and paste market, giving detailed ten-year market forecasts segmented by application and material/ink type. The market forecasts are given in tonnage and value at the ink level.

The company provides a detailed analysis of at least 17 existing and emerging application sectors including silicon solar cells, UF/UHF RFID tags, touch screen edge electrodes, automotive, in-mould electronics, e-textiles, 3D antennas, 3D printed electronics, desktop PCB printers, ITO replacement, OLED lighting and others.

Well established markets, photovoltaics and touch screens, are changing the most, with overall diminishing revenues, while emerging markets such as 3D antennas and In-mould electronics (IME) printing are promising new revenue opportunities.

Aerosol deposition for 3D antenna is gaining traction, enabling antennas to be directly deposited on 3D surfaces, with the flexibility to simply accommodate design changes in software (updating the print patterns).

Suitable for high-volume production IME is an attractive way to structurally integrate simple electronics into 3D-shaped objects. It is expected to find increased use in both the automotive and consumer electronic segments.

Whilst still a nascent market, electronic textiles (e-textiles) typically require their interconnects and sensors to be directly printed (a post-production process familiar to the textile industry), but ink innovation will be key to meet the tough performance targets of textiles (for adhesion, washability and stretchability).

High-end desktop PCB printers targeting complex multi-layer PCBs boards may become a driver for silver nanoparticle inks, but the real overall winner is RFID, expected to become a business greater than $7bn in 2026 at the tag level.

Here, printing is becoming a real contender for manufacturing RFID antennas. Silver prices have fallen, bringing down the BoM whilst the industry is projected to near full capacity utilisation soon, opening way for investment in new industrial process. UHF and HF RFID firms have already started