The global printed battery market is estimated to make substantial inroads into flexible electronic devices over the forecast period. Technological proliferation and the lightweight and compact structure of these batteries are expected to drive market growth.
Rapid growth of printed battery market is anticipated over the forecast period as technology is expected to improve the cost structure of manufacturing. The emergence of new addressable applications and insistent demand for equipment such as passive radiofrequency identification tags, smart cards, transdermal patches, Internet of Things (IoT), and electronic wearable devices, all of these demand flexibility and thinness, are expected to drive the market to mass commercialization in the next seven years.
Emerging trends of thin, slim, and flexible products and gadgets such as tablets and mobile phones have augmented the thin film or printable battery industry. These batteries are eco-friendly and are considerably energy-efficient as compared to conventional ones. The importance of green eco-friendly technologies is noticeable as the impact on environment is a predominant factor for the development of new and innovative technologies.
Printed batteries are mainly used for low power source and short lifespan applications. Key areas of application for thin film batteries include RFID tags, medical implants, electronic wearable devices, hearing aids, and wireless sensors.
Electronic wearable devices are presumed to be a major growth area for printable batteries. Conventional ones meet the power requirement, but struggle to achieve thinness, lightweight, and flexibility as required by the wearable devices.
Medical implants, hearing aids, medical diagnostic devices, and medical sensor applications are also expected to emerge as vital growth areas. LiPON-based thin lithium batteries provide safety, high capacity, and long life with stable power sources.
Currently, an RFID tag is the key revenue-generating segment for the market. Smart card is also expected to remain an attractive segment over the forecast period and several printed batteries have been optimized to meet the requirement for lamination.
Power Paper Ltd. developed printable batteries having a thickness of 0.6–0.7 mm. The batteries are flexible having the same flexibility as that of the paper on which they are printed and are environment-friendly, elastic, safe, and flexible 1.5V/3V batteries with ink-base energy cells.
Integration in electronic devices is presumed to be the key growth factor for the future generations. The industry possesses significant opportunities due to the fact that printable batteries offer the solution to ultra thin power devices and the demand for ultra thin batteries to power miniature devices is expected to increase in future.
However, fabrication process of thin film batteries is prone to many defects and is time consuming. Many applications are still emerging and requirements are evolving significantly. The target market possesses different requirements and diversity in requirements reflects that no thin film battery solution is presumed to offer a one-size-fits-all solution.
High investment requirements in research and development activities for such batteries are expected to hinder the industry growth prospects. Budget constraints, diversified requirements, and high investment costs are the key restraining factors for the popularity of such devices.
End-use vertical includes commercial applications such as smart packaging, retail and electronic shelf labeling, and active smart cards; industrial applications such as wireless sensors, energy harvesting, and semiconductor applications; and consumer applications such as novelty products and medical applications.
The global service providers are concentrated in countries such as South Korea, China, and the U.S. North America is envisioned as a predominant region due to the increasing adaptation of innovative technologies in the region.
China is perceived to behold placid growth in future. Huge demand potential and low labor costs are expected to help China emerge as a worldwide hub for printable battery manufacturing. Other Asia Pacific regions are expected to witness a significant growth owing to the infrastructural and technological advancements, which in turn is expected to generate higher revenues for local manufacturers.
Major industry participants are Apple, Applied Materials, Blue Spark Technologies, Enfucell, FlexEI, GS Nanotech, Samsung, Sony, Thin Film Electronics, and Ulvac.
Major companies such as Apple, Merck, BASF, KGaA, and Xerox have made high-profile acquisition of start-ups in thin film batteries market to research and develop innovative ultra thin batteries and to create their dominance in the industry.
Moreover, Apple recently has applied for a patent for the creation of a flexible battery shape that confines a flexible pack allowing several cells to connect through a laminate layer.
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