In-mold electronics market in good shape for 2020, says IDTechEx

November 07, 2019 //By Julien Happich
In-mold electronics
In-mold electronics (IME) – or in-mold structural electronics (IMSE) – is about to enter a period of rapid revenue growth, according to IDTechEx who sees the overall market exceed $1bn within a decade.

IME is the idea of introducing your electronics on a 2D substrate before thermoforming this into your final 3D part. Much progress has been made since earlier false-starts, and market indicators suggest that the technology is mature enough to come to the commercial forefront.

Last September, market leader TactoTek secured another prestigious licensee in the Korean giant LS Automotive, and along with fellow licensee Faurecia, IME is clearly moving into human machine interfaces for automotive interiors. To date, the most notable product is in a wearable device. Nanogate, another licensee, reported to IDTechEx that 2020 will see their first commercial production (>100,000 units pa), this time not in an automotive application.

However, the market analysts at IDTechEx still see some progress to be made, with new material requirements, electrical connections, scale, software, control brightness and more features being further developed.


Example of electronics on a thermoformed substrate
by Fraunhofer IVV at K Show 2019. This work in 3D
electronics was done with multiple notable partners
including Fujikura Kasei and Heraeus. Photo: IDTechEx

TactoTek is not alone in developing this industry, not only are there other competitive processes to 3D electronics, but there are other players and research institutes continually pushing the boundaries of IME. In addition, it is evident that many large players are aligning themselves with this technology for the upcoming take-off.

IDTechEx expect automotive interior applications, for things like overhead control units, to be the major high-volume orders in the medium-term. The shorter-term will be in consumer electronics and other industries that can bring a product to market much faster.

In the longer-term, not only will they infiltrate across the more affordable transportation, but they are also expected to be seen in even more everyday devices. This includes household appliances and white goods.

IDTechEx - www.IDTechEx.com

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