Thick Film Devices, Processes and Applications

Published - Jan 2010| Analyst - Margareth Gagliardi| Code - AVM046B
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for thick film devices is estimated to increase at a 13.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the forecast period, yielding revenues increasing from $26.7 billion in 2009 to $49.8 billion by 2014. 
  • Energy devices is the largest market segment, worth $14.5 billion in 2009. This market is expected to reach $31.1 billion in 2014, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.5%.
  • Display devices are the fastest growing segment, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.5%. This market was valued at $1.2 billion in 2009 and is expected to increase to $2.8 billion in 2014.


Although the origin of thick film technology dates back more than 3,000 years, the application of thick film processes to the manufacturing of advanced devices dates back only a century. After World War II, the market for these devices has grown very rapidly, and today represents a multibillion-dollar industry. 
BCC published its first report, “Thick Film Devices, Processes and Applications,” in May 2004. Until the start of the global economic downturn in 2007, the market for these products continued to expand at a very healthy rate. In addition, during the last 5 years, new technological developments have occurred in the field, and industry changes have taken place.
The main goal of this report is to provide new insights into thick film device technology, outlining technological trends, and supplying an updated market analysis for these products.
Specifically, the major objectives of this study are:
  • Provide an updated review of the various types of thick film devices, focusing on their fabrication technologies and thick film compositions
  • Highlight the most significant technological developments during the past 5 years 
  • Review existing fields of application for thick film devices and investigate emerging applications
  • Estimate current global markets for thick film devices, with growth forecasts through 2014 for each market segment.
  • Identify important technology and market trends within each market segment
  • Supply an updated review of current producers of thick film devices
  • Provide a description of current worldwide research activities and evaluate their impact on industry growth
  • Determine trends in U.S. patents issued during the past 3 years.
In the last century, thick film technology has been adopted in the fabrication process of various types of advanced devices. In particular, during the last 50 years, thick film processes have played a very important role in the miniaturization of electronic components and systems. In fact, compared to other film production processes, thick film technology allows the deposition of relatively thin coatings and layers (8 microns to 25 microns) at low cost, with equipment that is easy to maintain and operate, and with processes that can be easily adapted for mass production.  
Thick film technology is currently used to fabricate electronic, mechanical/ chemical, energy, and display devices. In 2008, the market for thick film devices reached $32.5 billion, resulting from very healthy growth during the previous 3 years.
Since BCC’s last report, thick film devices and their fabrication technologies have continued to evolve. In addition, several new applications have emerged, representing fast growing markets for these products.
The primary reason for doing this study is to offer a current assessment of the thick film industry from both a technological and market point of view and to outline future trends and key developments.
There is also a need to evaluate the current status and future trends of the thick film industry from a global standpoint. Ongoing globalization of markets and the relocation of many manufacturing facilities to lower-cost countries, growing infrastructure investment in developing countries, and the increasing need for alternative sources of energy in various regions of the world highlight the importance of providing an updated geographical mapping of points of production of thick film devices, relative to global sales and distribution. Such an evaluation will contribute to a broader understanding of growth opportunities for these devices and their applications within the U.S. and abroad.
An equally important reason for performing this study is to provide an overview of global research-and-development (R&D) activities related to the thick film industry, both within public and private organizations; and to illustrate the latest technological developments that can assist companies in finding opportunities for process and productivity improvements, leading to a positive impact on their future market growth.
This study will be of primary interest to all companies that: 
  • Manufacture, sell, and distribute thick film devices.
  • Produce pastes, inks, and other raw materials for thick film device fabrication.
  • Manufacture processing and characterization equipment utilized by producers of thick film devices.
  • Fabricate and supply electronic, display, sensors, and energy devices.
  • Provide technical and/or marketing services for the thick film industry.
  • Are planning to enter the thick film industry as a supplier, manufacturer, or end user.
Overall, this study applies to industry segments such as electronics, mechanical, chemical, energy, display, sensors, medical, industrial, consumer, and the general coating sector. 
This study is mainly directed towards executives, directors, operations managers, sales and marketing managers, and strategic planners working within the above industries. Universities and research facilities may find this study to be a good source of technical information regarding thick film technology, materials, and applications, which can be used as a baseline for new or expanded R&D activities. Librarians of information and research centers can also use this report to provide critical data to product managers, market analysts, researchers, and other professionals needing detailed and updated insights on the thick film industry. 
This study provides an updated review of various types of thick film devices and their fabrication methods and identifies current and emerging applications for each type of device.
BCC Research determines the current market status of thick film devices, defines trends, and presents forecasts of growth over the next 5 years. Technological issues, including the latest process developments, are also discussed.
BCC Research analyzes the thick film industry on a worldwide basis from the standpoint of both manufacturing and consumption. In addition, the study examines commercial and public research activities in major regions of the world. Research objectives and areas of interest related to fabrication processes and applications of thick film devices are also outlined.  
More specifically, BCC’s market analysis is divided into five parts.
In the first part, a historical review of thick film devices is provided, including an outline of recent events. In this section, current and emerging applications of thick film devices are also identified and divided by sector (i.e., communications, consumer products, computers and peripherals, automotive, industrial, medical, aerospace, entertainment, aerospace, and defense).
The second part of the report entails a technological review and a global market analysis for four categories of thick film devices (i.e., electronic, mechanical/chemical, display, and energy). This section supplies a revised and detailed description of various types of thick film devices, their typical fabrication methods and thick film compositions, and their applications. For each category of devices, a review of the most important technological developments and improvements since 2004 is also provided, including examples of significant patents recently issued or applied for. 
The market analysis starts with an assessment of the market’s evolution since 2003 (the last year BCC published data for the thick film market). For each group of devices, global revenues (sales data in millions of dollars) are presented by device type, application, and region, with actual data for the years 2003 through 2008 and estimated data for 2009. This section is completed by a presentation of market growth trends, based on industry growth, technological trends, and regional trends. Projected revenues are reported, with forecast compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for the period 2009 through 2014.
In the third part, covering global industry structure, the report provides a list of the leading manufacturers of thick film devices, with a description of their products. The analysis includes a description of the geographical distribution of these firms and an evaluation of thick film device production versus consumption, always from a geographical standpoint. Detailed company profiles of the top industry players and relative market share for the five leading companies are also provided.
In the fourth part of this study, an analysis of industry competitiveness is performed. This analysis encompasses a review of global research and development activities, with a list of the most relevant R&D players, and an outline of the most critical factors contributing to industry competitiveness.
The fifth and final section includes extensive U.S. patent analysis, with a summary of patents related to thick film devices, raw materials, fabrication methods, and applications issued during the period 2007 through 2009. Patent analysis is performed by region, country, assignee, category, and device type.
Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used to obtain market data and analyze the overall market and market segments.
The technology section of this report is based on information derived from technical literature, related BCC reports, professional journals, author’s field experience, and online sources.
Global market analysis was performed by analyzing 358 manufactures of thick film devices, accounting for at least 95% of the global market. Data for each company were obtained by thoroughly analyzing Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, Internet Web sites, annual reports, industry directories, industry magazines and catalogs, government sources, and other public sources.
Additional data were obtained from the direct contribution of primary sources, including company executives, managers, engineers and other technical personnel representing manufacturers, developers, and users of thick film devices; representatives of academia and trade associations; and industry market analysts. 
Secondary sources of information include:
  • EDGAR — U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Filings
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • European Patent Office
  • Company Web sites
  • Company annual reports
  • Thomas Registers
  • Moody’s Directory
  • S & P Industry Survey
  • Dun & Bradstreet Business Directory
  • American Ceramic Society publications
  • Foreign chamber of commerce directories
  • Foreign stock exchange listings
In addition to utilizing the above primary and secondary sources, market growth trends and forecasts were compiled by gaining additional insights from relevant financial and market information, relevant BCC reports, and the author’s own in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the collected information. 
Margareth Gagliardi, BCC’s chief research analyst in advanced materials, has more than 25 years of experience in the field of advanced materials, specializing in ceramic formulations, materials processing, and new product development.  She has held management positions in both manufacturing and R&D within U.S. and European firms that produce electronic, mechanical, chemical, and structural components. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Ceramic Engineering.
She has authored numerous BCC Research studies, including the following that are related to advanced materials and materials for electronic applications:
  • AVM018F              Rare Earths: Worldwide Markets, Applications, Technologies, 2009
  • AVM052B              Aerogels, 2009
  • AVM065A              Smart Glass: Technologies and Global Markets, 2009
  • SMC037B              Sputtering Targets and Sputtered Films: Technology and Markets,  
  • AVM047B              Chemical Mechanical Polishing (CMP) Equipment and Materials, 
  • NAN043A              Nanofibers: Technologies and Developing Markets, 2007
  • NAN042A              Nanorobotics and NEMS, 2007
  • SMC061A              Atomic Layer Deposition, 2006
  • SMC057A              Thin Films: Raw Materials, Technology and Applications, 2005 
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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 from its use.

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Published - May-2004| Analyst - Margareth Gagliardi| Code - AVM046A

Report Highlights

  • The value of worldwide sales of thick film devices was estimated to reach $14.8 billion in 2003 and projected to rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 15.2% to $30.0 billion by 2008.
  • Sales of electronic devices accounted for 76.6% in 2003 on sales of $11.4 billion. Growth will be on the order of 8.2% AAGR through 2008, reducing their share to 56%.
  • Energy supply devices will dominate growth, rising at an AAGR of 39.7% with their share rising from 14% in 2003 to 36.8% in 2008.
  • Mechanical/chemical and display devices each account for about 4% of the market and sales will rise at AAGRs of 9.1% and 9.9%, respectively.


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