Diamond, Diamond-like and CBN Films & Coating Products
- The global market for diamond and diamond-like coatings is expected to grow from an estimated $782 million in 2009 to $905 million in 2010 and $1.7 billion in 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.1% over the next 5 years.
- The audio speakers application market should gain significantly in market share by 2015 (i.e., from 4.5% to 12.1%). This sector was worth $35 million in 2009 and is expected to reach $47 million in 2010 and $212 million by 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35%.
- Sales in the medical devices application segment will experience high growth. This sector was worth $14 million in 2009 and $18.5 million in 2010 and will increase at a 33.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach a value of $78 million in 2015.
Diamonds have long held a special place in the hearts and minds of both scientists and the public at large. Diamonds are the hardest material known and have the highest thermal conductivity among all known materials. Combined with these important properties, diamonds have very low thermal expansion and high electrical resistance. Because of their hardness, diamonds are far more effective and efficient than other competing materials used for abrasive, cutting, shaping, or finishing tools. The very high thermal conductivity of diamonds makes them ideal for spreading and conducting heat out of compact, high-power, high-speed electronic packages.
Industrial diamonds have been synthesized commercially for more than 40 years using high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) techniques in which diamond is crystallized from metal-solvated carbon at a pressure of about 50 kbar to 100 kbar and a temperature of about 1,800 K to 2,300 K.
A low-pressure technique to produce diamonds, using chemical vapor deposition (CVD), drew worldwide attention in the mid-1980s. There has been an explosion of interest in CVD diamond, diamond-like, and cubic boron nitride (CBN) films and coatings. These films are expected to be used in a variety of applications, from cutting tools to wear-resistant parts and from electronics to optical applications. One advantage of CVD diamond technology over high-pressure technology is low cost and its ability to coat any shape.
Several new mass-production technologies for producing diamonds and diamond-like films have emerged since the mid-1990s, including the production of diamond-like coatings for razor blades. Since the advent of these new technologies, diamond and diamond-like films, and coated products have reached a greater level of penetration in their applications.
Thick and thin diamond films have advantages when incorporated in laser diodes and microwave electronic packages due to their extremely high thermal conductivity coupled with excellent dielectric properties. Also, large substrates are now available, and a variety of package designs are possible with CVD diamonds. Tool inserts with CVD diamond thick-film blanks or thin-film coatings constitute the newest tool materials. Diamond-like thin films are finding increasing application in coating automotive components such as brake rotors and gears. Diamond and diamond-like coatings are also being used more in optical applications, such as sunglasses, ophthalmic lenses, and infrared (IR) windows. New-generation electronic devices such as surface acoustic wave (SAW) and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) are also using diamond films.
STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
This report is an updated version of a BCC Research report that was published in 2007. Since then, the technology has continued to evolve and a number of new applications for such films have emerged in fields such as semiconductors; protective coatings; medical, consumer and sporting goods; and advanced flat-panel displays. In view of these developments, BCC saw the need to revise its analysis of the technological and business issues affecting the market, as well as industry structure, competition, and market trends.
This report has been prepared with the following objectives:
- To provide a technological overview of the various diamond, diamond-like, and CBN thin films and coated products, their production technologies, and status of the current and emerging technologies
- To identify and describe existing and new applications for diamond, diamond-like, and CBN films/coated products;
- To identify the technological and business issues related to the development and commercial production of diamond, diamond-like, and CBN films and coated products;
- To determine the current size and future growth of the U.S. and worldwide markets for diamond, diamond-like, and CBN thin films and products;
- To analyze domestic and foreign competition among companies within diamond, diamond-like, and CBN films and their product market segments;
- To identify and profile U.S. and foreign producers and those entities involved in the development of diamond, diamond-like, and CBN films and products;
- To conduct a patent analysis to evaluate the international competition in the issuance of patents between countries and companies.
CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY
This BCC Research report illustrates the depth, breadth, and results of recent research and development (R&D), in both the U.S. and foreign countries, aimed at the growth and characterization of thin films of diamonds, CBN, diamond-like, and similar materials and the development of new applications for these materials.
The qualitative and quantitative judgments embodied in this report are a valuable contribution to the current technical knowledge and R&D of diamond, diamond-like, and CBN thin films/coated products. Along with new developments comes the need for decisions by a number of companies on future involvement strategies. This report provides an in-depth analysis of the new emerging technologies, improvements in existing technologies, application developments, and market opportunities through 2015.
SCOPE OF REPORT
This report provides a detailed technology overview for diamond, diamond-like, and CBN thin and thick films, including current production techniques, properties, and applications as well as new developments. Market analyses have been provided for each of the application segments.
The emphasis is on technology and market developments that have taken place since the previous edition of this report was published in 2007. Some of the “new” developments listed in this section were also presented in the 2007 edition. However, 3 years is a short time period for any new technology to take off; therefore, these developments are repeated within this section.
METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES
As mentioned above, this report is an update of an earlier (2007) report. In preparing the original and updated reports, BCC interviewed producers, potential producers, suppliers, and end-users of diamond, diamond-like, and CBN thin film materials. The interview results were supplemented with secondary data obtained from sources such as the Industrial Diamond Association of America, trade publications, technical journals, conference proceedings, newsletters, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Database
This report is directed to the various types of companies that are interested in the developments in this field, such as:
- Companies involved in developing, manufacturing, and supplying advanced materials;
- Developers and producers of diamonds, diamond-like, and CBN films and coatings;
- Manufacturers and suppliers of industrial diamonds and CBN materials;
- Manufacturers and suppliers of diamonds and CBN products;
- Manufacturers and suppliers of advanced ceramic materials and components;
- Producers and suppliers of advanced electronic and optical components;
- Producers and suppliers of machine tool inserts;
- Producers of wear-resistant and automotive components;
- Producers of sunglasses, ophthalmic lenses, IR windows, and other optical materials;
- Electronic, automotive, computer, aerospace, and telecommunication companies;
- Producers of razor blades, surgical blades, and golf clubs; and
- Advanced-material companies interested in diversification.
This report is an update of a report originally prepared by Dr. Thomas Abraham. Dr. Abraham was formerly Vice President, and Director of the Advanced Materials Group of BCC. Dr. Abraham has extensive experience in the field of advanced materials, including advanced ceramics, synthetic diamonds and diamond films, magnetic materials, high performance coatings, and superconductors.
The analyst responsible for updating the report is Andrew McWilliams, a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel, LLC. Mr. McWilliams is the author of numerous other BCC studies, including studies in related fields such as AVM015E High-performance Ceramic Coatings: Markets and Technologies, NAN015E Advanced Ceramics and Nano Ceramic Powders, NAN040A Nanomaterials Markets by Type, and AVM008B Synthetic Gems and Minerals.
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The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or its use.
BCC estimates the world market for diamond, diamond-like, and CBN films at $530.8 million in 2007 and slightly over $1.0 billion by 2012, a CAGR of 14.3% between 2007 and 2012.
BCC expects market shares of the three largest segments (razor blades, tools and wear resistant parts, and print/record heads and hard disks) should drop from almost 75% in 2006 to under 70% in 2012. Segments that should gain significantly in market share by 2012 include audio speakers and medical devices.
Overall, consumption of diamond-like and CBN coatings was an estimated $330 million, or nearly 70%, of the combined diamond and diamond-like film market in 2006. However, by 2012, based solely on the changing mix of applications, the balance is expected to shift towards diamond films, which should capture about 55% of the market.
The U.S. caught up to and surpassed Japan and Russia in the 1990s and enjoys a dominant position in diamond and diamond-like thin film technologies and markets.
In the last seven years, new and/or improved technologies for depositing diamond and diamond-like thin films have emerged that have much higher deposition rates than conventional PVD and CVD techniques.
According to the companion BCC study GB-173U, the 2001 U.S. market for diamond and diamond-like film was $150 million.
The growth rate for the diamond-like film market is expected to exceed the diamond film market in the next five years.
The global market for diamond, diamond-like and CBN films and coated products in 2001 was estimated to be $284 million. This is expected to increase to $725 million by 2006, at an annual average growth rate (AAGR) of 20.6%.
The North American market estimated at $125 million in 2001, and is expected to rise at an AAGR of 18.3% to $290 million in 2006.
Currently, the markets are dominated by consumer applications, such as DLC-coated shaving blades, followed by wear-resistant coatings, tool inserts and thermal -management substrates.
Of the 2001 market in North America, about three-fourths was for diamond-like thin-film products.
In competition with Japan and, to a lesser extent Russia, the U.S. has not only caught up in R&D, but now has surged ahead in commercialization efforts.