The global conductive Inks market was valued at USD 3.12 billion in 2017 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% from 2018 to 2026. The market is projected to witness significant growth over the next eight years owing to the increasing demand for efficiency and miniaturization coupled with novel product development. New product types, which suit rigid as well as flexible substrates and can achieve low electrical resistivity, have been developed, thus contributing to market growth.
Increasing technological improvements in the photovoltaic system are projected to propel the conductive inks market growth globally. PV cells are semiconductor devices, which help in direct electricity generation. The manufacturing process involved in the production of PV cells is arduous in nature. Therefore, the introduction of thin films PV technologies led to the gain of a significant share and the trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. This factor is expected to aid in the growth of conductive ink market over the next eight years.
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Companies such as DuPont; Conductive Compounds Inc.; PPG Industries; Poly-Ink; Henkel AG; and Voxel8 are forward integrated across the value chain as the companies are not only involved in the manufacturing of conductive inks but also the distribution for use in various applications. Fully integrated companies are not present across the value chain. Applications such as photovoltaic are expected to drive the market in the coming years as they are a renewable source of energy.
Rising demand for efficient and miniature consumer electronics has surged the demand for the product, which in turn is leading to the industry growth. These replace the energy consuming wires and bulky circuits over the forecast period. Owing to properties such as better power efficiency, better durability, and smaller size, these inks are used as a substitute for traditional wire circuits.
The lack of technological awareness among customers is a prevalent factor in the market. The factors can be attributed to the lack of advertisement, awareness regarding the product, and information sharing by manufacturers. Limited understanding capability among the population in emerging countries due to low literacy rate is also a major contributing factor. Moreover, the handling of these products requires special expertise. All these factors together are expected to negatively affect the overall market growth over the forecast period.
Silver ink products find use in markets such as medical devices, consumer electronics, and alternative energy solutions. The products also find applications in polymer thick-film circuitry, EMI & RFI shielding of polyimide flexible circuits, membrane switches, and coatings for tantalum capacitors. The inks are used on various substrates such as Mylar, Kapton, Polycarbonate, Glass, Polyester, Polyimide, Teflon &Silicone Surfaces, and ITO-coated Surfaces.
Copper ink is used for photonic curing in consumer electronic, radio-frequency identification, membrane touch switch, and antenna applications. The inks are cost effective in comparison to conductive silver ink. Conductive polymers are used in spin coatings and slot die coatings. Carbon nanotube ink is used for ink jet printing.
Dielectric ink is flexible, solvent resistant, and ultraviolet curable. It offers high resistance to different temperatures, solvents, and humidity. Carbon/graphene ink is widely used in printed electronic applications. Other conductive ink types mainly consist of gold-based ink, aluminum-based ink, and nickel-based ink.
In terms of application, the market has been bifurcated into photovoltaic, membrane switches, displays, automotive, smart packaging, biosensors, printed circuits, and other applications. Other applications include batteries, electromagnetic interference, and fuel cells. These products help in conducting electricity in a printed object.
The photovoltaic application has witnessed a positive trend in the recent past and the trend is projected to continue in the near future. Conductive inks are used in photovoltaic cells, which look similar to solar panels and help in producing steam or hot water. Although the changes in government policies in 2016 in the U.S., China, India, and UK for the surplus PV module installation have slowed photovoltaic growth rate, conductive inks still hold a major share in the market.
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Countries such as Taiwan, Japan, and India have led to the growth of the regional market. Government bodies in the Europe and North America regions are promoting the use of solar energy to create conductive settings for the promotion of PV market, which in turn is likely to benefit the overall market growth over the forecast period.
Increasing electricity demand in the Asia Pacific region by increasing the use of fossil fuels is expected to boost the market growth. Owing to high carbon dioxide emissions and concerns regarding climate change, government agencies are moving toward low carbon alternatives. These factors are also leading to higher investments in solar photovoltaic systems to provide low-cost electricity and renewable energy sources to individuals. This has favored the growth of the photovoltaic application segment, and, in turn, assisted in the growth of conductive ink market.
Manufacturers have developed products having exceptional printing properties, silver-type conductivity, along with strong adhesion to a wide array of substrates. Leading companies in the global conductive inks market include DuPont., Sun Chemical Corp, PPG Industries, Henkel AG, and Applied Nanotech Holdings, Inc.