Can this transition take place?
This transition will open up the market. It will turn the technology into a platform that will enable its own demand creation. It would be like the deployment of PCBs in making electronics or the use of digital printing in publication. This prospect is very appealing, but is it realistic and feasible?
IDTechEx Research thinks there is no fundamental barrier. In fact, it represents a natural progression of the state of the technology. The industry has had a decade or so of experience. Multiple materials are available, and many suppliers are active. There is good know-how in terms of stack design and production process management. The industry also knows what trade-offs not to make in scaling up pilot lines to mass production.
A new wave of commercial products is arriving. Still, the industry requires one or more major success stories. Some users remain unconvinced even in sectors such as automotive. Questions over cost of production persist especially in segments where pennies matter like in the white goods sector. These are not fundamental barriers or showstoppers though. Similar challenges and uncertainties are to be found in commercialising nearly every new technology especially those involving a significant change in production process.
So what are the different players doing to make this transition possible? Material suppliers need to expand and optimize their portfolio of IME materials. The portfolio approach is a strategic imperative. It offers users a full solution, shortening their development time. And it offers suppliers some degree of lock-in protection and switching barriers.