The barrier films flexible electronics market is expected to witness significant development owing to substantial growth in the flexible electronics market. The printed electronics market is projected to grow at a CAGR of about 30.0% over the forecast period and is expected to pose a positive impact on the market growth. Development of devices in flexible form facilitates efficient performance and provides robust nature, lightweight, and versatility to the instrument. Increasing demand for electronic devices with low response time are expected to propel market growth over the forecast period.
Electronic displays are chemically sensitive and have a high probability of reacting with the environment, which facilitates encapsulation of the devices to prevent them from chemicals, moisture, and oxygen.
The traditional materials used to cover electronic parts including glass and metal are rigid and are not suitable for application requiring flexible devices. Although plastic substrates are flexible in nature, they are inefficient for the protection of devices from oxygen and water, thus resulting in degradation and reduced life of the instrument. Barrier films are highly efficient in the security of the devices as compared to glass, metal, and plastic, which is expected to propel their demand over the next seven years.
Barrier films provide encapsulation to organic and printed electronic devices without affecting their functionality, printability and performance. Low water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) and oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of barrier film protected electronic devices is expected to augment demand for the product over the forecast period.
Rising demand for organic and printed electronic devices is projected to be the key driver for market growth over the next seven years. In addition, increasing consumer disposable income and rapid technological developments in electronic devices are expected to have a positive impact on market growth over the forecast period.
Numerous operators have been adopting barrier films in order to improve the quality of the devices and increase their life. Growing demand for flexible electronic displays for mobile phones is likely to propel utilization of the product in the industry over the forecast period.
Samsung is one of the significant players in the electronics industry. The company uses barrier films for display of its “S” series mobile phones, thus augmenting the growth of the market. Samsung has secured more flexible OLED production facilities in South Korea to ramp up production. The introduction of the flexible barrier has allowed costing efficient mass manufacturing of flexible displays by enabling development of flexible OLED encapsulation.
LG introduced flexible screens which can be rolled up and down and provide a display in HD. Growing R&D activities by market players coupled with intense competition to achieve product differentiation are expected to augment production of flexible displays with barrier films over the next seven years. However, the high cost of the product is projected to pose a challenge for the market. Technological enhancements coupled with rising demand is expected to reduce the cost of the product over the coming years.
Asia Pacific is one of the major markets for the product on account of rapidly growing electronic devices demand and rising investment in the region. In addition, low labor and capital cost are expected to increase manufacturing activities in the region over the next seven years.
The market has been segmented by products as flexible electronics, photovoltaic and others. The products can be further subcategorized into flexible displays and memory.
Major technology includes single flexible glass or atomic layer deposition which is expected to witness rapid growth in demand over the coming years. Atomic layer deposition provides ultra-thin and flexible ceramic barriers. It is a low cost, flexible encapsulation for thin PV films.
Barrier film encapsulation is the method where the barrier film is produced on a polymer substrate and is laminated onto the electronic device by a pressure sensitive adhesive. Hybrid encapsulation combines both in-line deposition and barrier film encapsulation using pressure sensitive adhesives.
Major companies include 3M, Eastman Chemical Company, Fraunhofer POLO, General Electric, Sigma Technologies, Alcan Packaging, Honeywell International Inc. and Sigma Technologies Int’l.
Fraunhofer Polymer Surfaces Alliance created a technology for modifying films with a layer system that is impermeable to water vapor and oxygen without affecting the flexibility and optical transparency of the film. The technology is based on oxide layers deposited by reactive sputtering which is separated by an intermediate polymer layer.
DuPont Teijin Films was awarded the best technical development for its material called me lines, a polyester film which provides a clean on demand surface, for use as a substrate in deposition procedures for the production of barrier films. Melinex is expected to be a feasible route for producing cost-effective barrier material and would enable the commercialisation of high volume flexible devices for future consumer electronics applications. DuPont has supported the developing flexible electronics market since its introduction and has developed flexible polymeric substrates according to the requirements of the electronics industry.
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