Primary insight from interviews with individual players, ranging from established players to innovative start-ups, is included via over 30 detailed company profiles that include discussion of both technology and business model along with SWOT analysis. Additionally, the report includes analysis of conductive ink parameter space based on a database of over 100 conductive inks that includes curing time, conductivity, and viscosity. Together with the segmentation of suppliers by ink type, this should assist in gaining a comprehensive picture of the global conductive ink market.
Conductive ink types and applications covered in the report. Source: IDTechEx
Flake-based conductive inks are a longstanding technology widely used for metalizing the upper surface of photovoltaic panels for charge extraction. However, this market is unlikely to keep up with the growth in PV panels, with new technologies developing to reduce the amount of silver ink required. Instead, much of the growth will come from emerging applications across the printed flexible electronics space.
This broadening of the application space creates opportunities for emerging conductive ink formulations that aim to meet specific application requirements:
- Particle-free conductive inks are metalized in situ, producing a smooth, thin conductive layer ideally suited to high-frequency EMI shielding and antennas. The very low viscosity also makes these inks ideally suited to high-resolution deposition techniques such as aerosol printing.
- Nanoparticle-based conductive inks offer higher conductivity, enabling more compact circuit designs.
- Liquid metal gel makes an ideal stretchable ink since there is no increase in resistance over time – the conductive liquid flows to accommodate the dimensional change. It is primarily targeted at wearable strain sensors.
- Copper-based inks with additives that prevent oxidation during sintering. These are gaining significant traction, with major electronics manufacturers running qualification projects. Copper inks are especially suitable where cost is the main driver, such as RFID/smart packaging antennas.
- Introduction to the application.
- Assessment of technological and commercial status.
- Conductive ink requirements for that specific application.
- Examples of conductive inks targeting that application.
- Market forecast, including the adoption of different ink types where appropriate.
Due to the potential for both rapid growth and specialist ink requirements enabling differentiation, some of the most promising conductive ink applications are electronic skin patches, strain sensors, and in-mold electronics (IME).
The growth in printed/flexible/hybrid electronics, especially where it enables new applications and even business models, such as electronic skin patches for remote health monitoring and smart packaging, will drive the growth of the conductive ink market over the next decade. Furthermore, many emerging applications, such as in-mold electronics, e-textiles, and high-frequency antennas, have specific ink requirements that provide 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 impact the conductive ink market?
- What are the requirements for each conductive ink application, and how much ink is used in each?
- What is the technological and market readiness of each conductive ink application?
- What are the key growth opportunities where there is scope for differentiation?
- Who are the key players producing each type of ink?