NanoMarkets provides market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets
December 12, 2012 Category: Advanced Materials
As the flexible glass business has moved forward, NanoMarkets believes the firms involved have become increasingly focused on where and when money will be made with this new material. In its earliest days, flexible glass was seen as being somehow connected to the flexible display concept. However, this association is much less apparent today. Instead, flexible glass is now seen as serving more immediate demands for mobile display applications.
NanoMarkets believes that there are, however, indications that self-cleaning windows have a bright future. The trends that impress us here are mostly technological in nature, but this shouldn't be taken to mean that they are restricted in some sense to what is going on in an industrial lab.
On the contrary, what we are seeing are signs that there is a growing technological impetus behind self-cleaning windows that will enable them to meet their "obvious" market potential. NanoMarkets believes that these newer technologies—and riffs on older technologies—will (1) improve the performance standards for self-cleaning windows and (2) make such windows more affordable.
Given the overall disappointing results to date for printed electronics, it is perhaps surprising that there has been something of a revival of interest in strategic printed electronics in the last couple of years. Not surprisingly, this effort is much more modest than the narrative of developing a large and distinct PE industry, and in the sense that the number of applications to which the new PE is directed are fairly limited.
There are a number of ways that these efforts could be viewed. A cynic might view them as no more than a last desperate gasp of firms that were active in the second phase of PE story. However, NanoMarkets believes that there are now genuine opportunities to be had as the result of PE development and that this new kind of PE, which we are going to call Printed Electronics V3.0, can learn from the failures of the past, both in applications and in printing itself, to generate new business revenues.
The OLED encapsulation sector has changed considerably in the past two years. OLEDs have broken out of their previous niche market pattern, in which they were used mostly for simple, passive matrix displays for MP3 players, cell-phone sub-displays, etc., that had modest encapsulation needs well served by simple cover glass technologies.
Today, however, the OLED industry is booming, with full-color, active-matrix (AM) OLEDs leading the way. Indeed, OLED displays have gone mainstream, and OLED lighting is not far behind:
• OLED displays are the fastest growing primary display type in mass-market smartphones, tablets, and other mobile computing products.
• Meanwhile, OLED lighting is now on the market in the form of designer light kits, as well as in luxury luminaires, and NanoMarkets is predicting that larger segments of the lighting market are likely to be penetrated by OLED lighting in the next few years.
• OLED TVs appear to be – finally – on the verge of mass-market introduction, with products from Samsung and LG expected in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
These trends mean that the addressable market for OLED encapsulation materials is rapidly growing and should continue to do so.
Double glazing shipments worldwide are worth billions of dollars annually. But growth of this traditional business is slow (this is especially so given the woes of the construction industry) and one would never identify it as an opportunity per se; that is no one would suggest that “double glazing” as a business that people should jump into as a way of making big money. It has been at least 30 years since someone could seriously make such a claim. In one trade press article that NanoMarkets retrieved as part of the research for this report, the double glazing industry was portrayed as “boring,” which seems to NanoMarkets to be a fairly reasonable characterization of the glazing industry considered as a whole.
But in the past few years – perhaps as long as five years – there are signs that the double glazing business has started to become much less boring. What we are seeing – or at least beginning to see -- is this sector begin to clearly transcend the “double glazing” name or even the (more general) “insulated glazing” name. There seems to be a new business emerging that is more deserving of the name “advanced glazing systems,” a name that seems to capture the sense of novel technologies playing an important role.
What has happened here seems to us to be much more than a shift in industry semantics brought about by changing times and marketing approaches. Instead, we are talking a real shift in direction brought about by changing demand patterns and novel technologies. Such a change is surely deserving of a new name; so surely the “advanced glazing systems” epithet is a good one to use.
Although several firms tried to exploit similar opportunities without success in the not-so-distant past, NanoMarkets now believes that the time is right for PV encapsulation to lead to significant revenue generation for well-prepared companies. Today’s opportunities in PV encapsulation can be summarized as follows:
• Several novel encapsulation technologies, such as multilayer dyad films and high performance barrier films deposited using atomic layer deposition (ALD), are now emerging that can serve important sectors of the PV market.
These newer encapsulation technologies have implications for the rising-in-importance flexible PV (especially CIGS, OPV, and DSC) sector, especially for building-integrated PV (BIPV) and other applications. Encapsulation is a key enabling technology for BIPV, which is expected to be the fastest growing sector of the PV industry over the next decade and a diversification opportunity for encapsulation technology suppliers.
Today, the LCD market heavily dominates the optical coatings and films needs of the display industry. LCDs and their backlight units use diffuser films, polarizers and reflective polarizers, contrast enhancement and prismatic films, as well as antireflection, antiglare, and privacy films. But most display makers are now looking for the “next big thing” in displays. This next big thing could come in the form of 3D devices, OLEDs for mobile computing applications, and perhaps even OLED TVs in the near-term; e-paper has also grown in importance over the last few years.
Although most of the revenues from optical coatings and films used in the display industry for years to come will be generated by those used in LCDs, NanoMarkets believes that the opportunities in this space will be shaped by the emergence of the new kinds of displays outlined above. These new kinds of displays can be expected to create new kinds of optical films, and may create openings for new firms to establish a market presence and gain market share versus the competition.
July 26, 2012 Category: Advanced Materials
Although the early promise of organic thin-film transistors (OTFTs), or, more broadly, organic field effect transistors (OFETs), as well as organic or polymer-based memories has not been met, today there are signs that things may be turning around. In the last couple of years, there has been renewed interest in these devices, and NanoMarkets believes that the industry may be on the verge of a second renaissance.
This resurgence will be built upon improved material performance, the establishment of an integrated manufacturing and supply chain, and the emergence (finally) of a viable market for applications that will benefit from the low-cost, print- and solution-compatible capabilities of organic and polymeric materials.
July 19, 2012 Category:
NanoMarkets believes that, while the changes in the indium supply that we expect to see as the result of Chinese indium policy will benefit the firms manufacturing novel TCs, the effect could be temporary.
What the alternative TC business really needs to develop a sustainable business, however, are new applications where (1) the advantages of alternative TCs are fairly clearly understood and (2) market penetration by these materials is not as hard to achieve as in the conventional LCD market. There are now several applications where alternatives TCs now seem well positioned. And some of these have only just begun to appear.
July 17, 2012 Category: Advanced Materials
Faced with the fact that we may never know quite how ITO prices vary with the price of indium, manufacturers of alternative TCs have a number of options. They can, of course, continue to make unsubstantiated claims about the high prices of indium and how this makes the case for their alternative formulations. We have no doubt that this is what they will do to some extent and that these efforts will work to some extent. However, in NanoMarkets' thinking, this strategic approach seems likely to have limited impact in the long-run.