Optical Coatings: Technologies and Global Markets

Published - Oct 2009| Analyst - Lori Weisenbach Cornett| Code - SMC030D
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Report Highlights

  • Overall sales in the optical coatings market were worth nearly $5 billion in 2008, which decreased to $4.6 billion in 2010. By 2015, sales are projected to increase to nearly $5.7 billion, for a 5-year CAGR of 4.3%.
  • The largest segment in the market, electronics, was valued at $2.8 billion in 2008. This decreased to $2.5 billion in 2010, but projected to reach $2.8 billion again in 2015, for a 5-year CAGR of 2.1%.
  • Sales in the optical coatings of defense/security segment were worth $683 million in 2008, and were to increase to nearly $724 million in 2010. By 2015, they are projected to increase to $839 million, for a 5-year CAGR of 3%.


This BCC study analyzes the status of global markets for optical coatings. Optical coatings may be devices, but more typically are a value-added feature of an optical element, such as a lens or a digital display. Many elements are fabricated and coated in volume and thus have low prices and margins. 
Innovation is critical for revenue growth in the coatings industry. The markets with the highest margins and fastest growth for coatings are new applications, where coatings offer a new advantage, and where the coating designer and processor may have an advantage. Mass production of devices drives down prices and trims margins. 
Custom coating design opportunities support a fragmented industry. Military applications are the bread-and-butter market, because military applications have stricter specifications and are less price-sensitive than are consumer applications. The miniaturization in medical procedures offers opportunities for innovative coatings. The transportation applications are growing as vehicle designs include cameras, displays, and other optical systems. Growth in the telecom sector continues to be slow as the extension of fiber toward the end user remains slow.  
This report considers market conditions and opportunities in regional areas around the globe. The report also considers the potential new high margins coatings applications that will emerge in the next 5 years.
Optical coatings are used in telecommunications, medicine, displays, and imaging applications. Coatings determine which wavelengths of light are transmitted or reflected, which determines the resolution and quality of any display or projected image.
This report provides a standard 5-year planning cycle and revenue estimates through 2015. It defines product segments for optical coating technology categories, analyzes technology options, and determines current application markets as well as likely future opportunities. Additionally, this report defines and graphically analyzes these optical coating markets from many perspectives, categorizes and profiles the companies involved, defines unique nomenclature, and details policy organizations, conferences, authors, and consortiums.
Optical technology in many application markets represents the next level of technological advancement. Any component that influences the path of the light signal will be coated. Optical communications are orders of magnitude faster than electronics, as the amount of video and interaction increases on the Internet, the need for maximum speed, possible only with optical technology, will increase. 
Flat screens for television, cell phones, computers, and other displays will continue to grow in both size and usage. Touch screen technology will also become more ubiquitous. Optical components and coatings are critical in flat panel and screens. 
In both medical and defense markets, the desire to be able to monitor and act remotely require optics and optical coatings. In medical, optical fiber and associated technology permit physicians to operate less invasively. In defense, robots and remote sensors detect and report in dangerous environments, allowing personnel to remain at a safe distance. 
This BCC business opportunity report covers, with a critical eye, the global optical coatings marketplace. It focuses particularly on the markets and opportunities for optical in telecommunications, transportation, defense, photography, electronics, and medical markets.
This study is presented in easy-to-follow sections that overview this subject, define the technology, segment the market by product type and application, profile companies, and identify suppliers. All dollar amounts are expressed in current 2009 U.S. dollars.
This is a complete source for serious players in the optical coatings marketplace.
Materials and data presented in this report were obtained from telephone interviews with marketing and engineering personnel at the major companies profiled, as well as from catalogs, the Internet, patterns, and the literature search of current articles related to optical coatings technology.
Investors and project managers will use this report to assess the status of the optical coating market in order to identify suppliers and systems integrators and forecast the future markets. Market managers will be able to assess the competition and identify customers and new suppliers for coatings. Management consultants will determine whether companies divest or invest in optical-coating technology based in part on the market projections, competitive strengths, and development issues revealed in this report.
Equipment managers will develop or modify existing products to address the coating technology manufacturing concerns emphasized in this report. Materials suppliers will identify market opportunities and new customers based on the study’s projected growth in applications. Venture-capital managers will identify targets for investment, merger, or acquisition based on companies identified and described in this report. Strategic planners will identify other companies with critical strains with whom to strategically partner so they can share in the overall optical-coating technology growth as projected in this report.
The author received a Ph.D. in material science and engineering from the University of Arizona in 1993, based on a dissertation on the fabrication and characteristics of sol gel optical waveguides. She then worked for 2 years at Sandia National Labs on the development of thin film zeolite filters for gas separation applications. Since 1996, she has covered the transportation market as both a contributing editor and editor of Advanced Transportation Technology News and authored numerous Business Opportunity Reports in advanced materials and transportation for BCC.
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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.

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Published - Oct-2006| Analyst - Lori Weisenbach Cornett| Code - SMC030C

Report Highlights

  • Standard coatings have become commodities over the last half decade, but opportunities still exist for specialized designs to increase the utility of an application. In 2005, total revenues from optical coatings were $4.3 billion. Our model projects that by 2012 revenues will have grown at an average annual rate of 3.9% to reach $5.6 billion by 2012.
  • In 2005, revenues from optical coatings in electronics were $3,011 million. Revenues are projected to increase at an AAGR of 3% between 2007 and 2012, from $3,229 million to $3,748 million.
  • In 2005, revenues from optical coatings in medical applications were $157.5 million. Revenues are projected to increase at an AAGR of 12% through 2012, from $208.4 million in 2007 to $386 million.
  • The amount of Optical technology in vehicles is growing and will lead to revenues increasing at an AAGR of 7% from 2007 through 2012, from $347 million to $480 million.
Published - Feb-2003| Analyst - Lori Weisenbach Cornett| Code - SMC030B

Report Highlights

  • The overall optical coatings market will have revenues of $6.1 billion in 2002, increasing to $7.3 billion in 2007, at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 3.8%.
  • Telecommunications represent the fastest growing segment of the coatings market, and is an area with many new entrants.
  • The low yield rate of thin film filters has kept prices for the devices high, while prices for other coatings have fallen. Price pressures will bring down prices and margins in this segment as well.
  • The best margins are realized on electrochromic coatings that are used on automatic dimming mirrors now available on high-end luxury cars.


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