Growth in emerging printed electronic applications drives growth

BOSTON, November 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — IDTechEx’s just-released report “Conductive Ink Markets 2023-2033” comprehensively explores this crucial materials technology that underpins both photovoltaics and the emerging field of printed electronics. Based on interviews with over 30 companies, the report evaluates the market for each of 8 different types of conductive ink across 15 different applications. Conductive ink types include flaky silver, nanoparticle-based silver, copper, stretchable/thermoformable, and particle-free, while applications include photovoltaics, different types of printed sensors, flexible hybrid electronics (FHE), in-mold electronics ( IME) and RFID/smart packaging. This detailed segmentation provides 39 distinct forecast lines, providing a clear picture of the state of the market for each ink type and future opportunities. The market as a whole is currently valued at $2.7 billion and is expected to grow to 4.5 billion dollars by 2033, with all of this growth coming from emerging applications in printed/flexible/wearable electronics rather than silicon photovoltaics.

Key insight from interviews with individual players, ranging from established players to innovative start-ups, are included through over 30 detailed company profiles that include technology and business model discussions along with SWOT analysis. Additionally, the report includes analysis of the conductive ink parameter space based on a database of over 100 conductive inks including cure time, conductivity, and viscosity. Along with vendor segmentation by ink type, this should help in gaining a complete picture of the global Conductive Inks market.

Technical developments

Flake-based conductive inks are a long-standing technology widely used for metallization of the top surface of photovoltaic panels for charge extraction. However, this market is unlikely to keep pace with the growth of photovoltaic panels, with the development of new technologies to reduce the amount of silver ink required. Instead, much of the growth will come from emerging applications in the flexible printed electronics space.

This broadening of the application space creates opportunities for emerging conductive ink formulations that aim to address specific application requirements:

  • Particle-free conductive inks are metallized in situ, producing a smooth, thin conductive layer, ideal for EMI shielding and high-frequency antennas. The very low viscosity also makes these inks ideal for high-resolution deposition techniques such as aerosol printing.
  • Nanoparticle-based conductive inks offer higher conductivity, allowing for more compact circuit designs.
  • Liquid metal gel makes an ideal stretchable ink as there is no increase in resistance over time – the conductive liquid flows to accommodate the dimensional change. It is primarily aimed at wearable strain sensors.
  • Copper-based inks with additives that prevent oxidation during sintering. These are gaining significant traction, with major electronics manufacturers managing qualification projects. Copper inks are particularly suitable where cost is the main driver, such as smart packaging/RFID antennas.

Application opportunities

As a platform technology for printed electronics, conductive inks can be used in a remarkably wide range of applications, spanning market verticals ranging from healthcare to energy. This report breaks down the conductive ink application space into 15 segments, each segment outlining:

  • Introduction to the application.
  • Evaluation of the technological and commercial status.
  • Conductive ink requirements for that specific application.
  • Examples of conductive inks intended for this application.
  • Market forecasts, including the adoption of different ink types, if any.

Due to the potential for rapid growth and the requirement for specialty inks that enable differentiation, some of the most promising conductive ink applications are electronic patches, strain sensors, and in-mold electronics (IME).

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The growth of printed/flexible/hybrid electronics, especially where it enables new applications and even business models, such as electronic patches for remote health monitoring and smart packaging, will drive the growth of the conductive ink market over the next decade . Additionally, many emerging applications, such as in-mold electronics, electronic textiles, and high-frequency antennas, have specific ink requirements that present an opportunity for differentiation.

Key questions answered in this report

  • What types of conductive inks are produced by each supplier?
  • How will rising silver prices affect the conductive ink market?
  • What are the requirements for each conductive ink application and how much ink is used in each one?
  • What is the technology and market readiness of each conductive ink application?
  • What are the key growth opportunities where there is room for differentiation?
  • Who are the major players producing each type of ink?

IDTechEx has 20 years of experience in printed and flexible electronics including conductive inks. IDTechEx analysts have closely followed the latest developments in the technology and associated markets, interviewing many conductive ink suppliers and users, and attending numerous printed electronics conferences such as LOPEC and FLEX each year. This report provides a comprehensive picture of the fragmented conductive ink landscape, helping to inform product development and positioning.

To learn more about the new IDTechEx “Conductive Ink Markets 2023-2033” report, including downloadable sample pages, visit www.IDTechEx.com/ink.

About IDTechEx

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its research, subscription and consulting products, helping you take advantage of emerging technologies. For more information, please contact [email protected] or visit www.IDTechEx.com.

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SOURCE ID TechEx

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