The global glass substrate market is anticipated to grow rapidly during the forecast period. Glass substrate is a thin panel also referred as lite, which is used for fabrication of glass units. It offers various advantages, such as low electrical loss, low dielectric constant, ultra-high resistivity, improved optical quality, and flexibility in packaging. It is very popular for creating flat panel displays and helps manufacture lightweight smart phones and tablet PCs. The market is mainly driven by the growing demand from electronics industry, especially in television segment, as the product is extensively used in Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs).
In a usual LCD structure, there are two types of glass substrate, color filter and TFT. The RGB pixels placed on the color filter determine the image quality while, the thin film transistors placed on TFT, transmit signals to the liquid crystals. The TV industry has huge growth opportunity for the product, as the large-sized screen and Ultra-High Definition (UHD) TV segments expanded at and strong CAGRs from 2015 to 2017. On the other hand, the market growth is obstructed by high manufacturing costs of the substrate.
However, the market is witnessing new opportunities from the electronic devices segment, which has facilitated development of application-specific products. For example, in July 2018, Corning Incorporated launched new Gorilla Glass DX and DX+ protective glass substrates for wearables. The global market is categorized into type, application, and region. On the basis of type, the market can be segmented into borosilicate-based, silicon-based, ceramic-based, fused silica-based, and others. Borosilicate-based is the largest segment owing to its properties, such as low thermal expansion coefficient and high temperature tolerance.
Silica-based products possess good electrical and corrosion performances, improved thermal properties, and excellent optical transmission. Fused silica-based products are used in intraocular lens, LCD scanners, photo mask substrate, wafers, and other optical materials, while ceramic-based have applications in DWDM thin film filters. Growing technological and product advancements are also likely to spur the market growth. For instance, in January 2018, SCHOTT AG introduced a new portfolio of structured glass substrate, FLEXINITY, which has applications in sensors, batteries, and diagnostic technology. The portfolio will enable further miniaturization of electronics and its products can be made from borosilicate and alkali-free glass.
On the basis of application, the glass substrate market can be segmented into electronics, automotive, medical, and others including aerospace and defense and solar. Electronics was the dominant application segment in 2017. It covers various applications including displays, semiconductors, telecommunication devices, and electronic components. The TV industry is the major end-user of the market. Thus, high demand from the TV industry has led to the introduction of new products. For example, in August 2017, AGC Inc. launched mass production of XCV, glass substrate for LGPs.
On the basis of geographic regions, the glass substrate market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is the largest regional segment owing to large-scale production of electronics in the region. China is the major market in the region as it is amongst the largest LCD panel producers in the world. Some of the major players in the market are AGC Inc., SCHOTT AG, Viracon, and Guardian Glass. Development of new manufacturing facilities is a key business expansion strategy adopted by most firms due to growing demand from end-use industries.
For instance, in May 2018, Corning Incorporated launched its new production facility of Gen 10.5 LCD glass substrate, which is co-located with the BOE Technology Group Co. Ltd.’s plant in Anhui Province, China. BOE Technology Group Co. Ltd. began its production for 10.5-generation LCDs in December 2017. Its facility has the production capacity of 1,440 thousand units of glass substrate per annum.
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