Conductive ink is used in manufacturing of components, which conducts electricity. It is produced by infusing conductive substrates into ink. Conductive inks comprise of silver, graphite, carbon, or any other type of precious metal coated base material. Conductive inks can be applied in different applications including flexographic purpose, screen print, spray, dip, stencil print, and syringe dispense, among others. The global conductive inks for additive manufacturing market is estimated to surpass US$ 409.1 million by the end of 2027 in terms of revenue, exhibiting a CAGR of 23.6% during the forecast period (2020 to 2027).
Increasing use of silver conductive inks for 3D printed electronics is expected to drive demand for conductive inks over the forecast period. Silver ink is relatively easy to screen print, aerosol dispense, inkjet dispense, and roll-to-roll print with numerous deposition and coating technologies. Nano-silver conductive inks are easiest to cure at a low temperature, which makes them ideal for many flexible substrate applications as well. Moreover, silver offers excellent corrosion resistance, easy bendability, and stretchability properties, which makes it ideal for 3D printed electronics segments. Printed electronics is a faster means of mass production, and also enable larger surface area substrates that include silver such as such as large screen TV’s and displays. Moreover, according to The Silver Institute, the printed and flexible electronics market is generating around US$ 57.0 billion in terms of revenue, annually. The market is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 11.1% through 2025, and conductive ink materials spend in this segment exceeds 5% of the total revenue.
Among regions, Asia Pacific held dominant position in the global conductive inks for additive manufacturing market in 2019, accounting for 36.1% market share in terms of revenue, followed by North America and Europe. The growth of the market in Asia Pacific region is supported by increased printed circuit board manufacturing in the region. The studies conducted by Coherent Market Insights suggests that majority of PCBs are manufactured in the APAC region. China is the largest producer of PCB followed by Japan and South Korea.
Figure 1. Global Conductive Inks for Additive Manufacturing Market Revenue Share (%), By Region, 2019
Silver is one of the most widely used metals in electronics industry because of its high conductivity, oxidation stability, and other unique properties. However, the price volatility in silver market can affect the conductive ink composition. Conductive ink manufacturers can shift to other metals, owing to high prices of silver. The most widely used conductive ink is based on micron-scale silver flakes. Silver makes up at least 80% of the cost of flake-based inks. This indicates that ink prices are sensitive to price variations of the silver. The prices are also sensitive to supply and industrial demand. In February 2021, silver prices increased in U.S. to reach US$ 950/kg, which was highest in past five months. The increased prices of silver has generated a need to either reduce the use of expensive silver material or replace them.
|Base Year:||2019||Market Size in 2019:||US$ 101.8 Mn|
|Historical Data for:||2017 and 2018||Forecast Period:||2020 to 2027|
|Forecast Period 2020 to 2027 CAGR:||23.6%||2027 Value Projection:||US$ 409.1 Mn|
Copprint Technologies Ltd., Creative Materials Inc., DuPont, Inc., Electroninks Inc., GenesInk, Netafim, Henkel AG & Co. KGAA, Nano Dimension, Novacentrix Inc., Poly-Ink, PrintCB, Promethean Particles Ltd., and Sun Chemical Company.
|Restraints & Challenges:||
Copper-based conductive inks are gaining popularity, owing to their high conductivity as compared to silver, their low cost, and their abundant reserves. Copper-based conductive inks finds its application in flexible electronic devices, smart robotics, optoelectronics, and health monitoring systems. Market players are focused on launching new products in order to expand their product portfolio. For instance, in 2014, DuPont launched its first copper conductive ink for photonic curing, DuPont PE510. The new product is a cost-effective alternative to silver conductive inks for different applications such as antenna, membrane touch switch (MTS), radio-frequency identification (RFID), and consumer electronic applications.
Figure 2. Global Conductive Inks for Additive Manufacturing Market Revenue Share (%), By Application, 2019
On the basis of application, in 2019, the sensors segment accounted for 36.1% of the revenue share. Sensors developed from conductive inks has proved to become an innovative system that promotes flexibility in the design of the electrodes. Application of conductive inks for additive manufacturing in sensors include printed and flexible sensors, wearable gas sensors, wearable strain sensors, piezoresistive sensors, glucose sensors, and biosensors.
Global Conductive Inks for Additive Manufacturing Market - Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a deep impact on economies across the globe, and businesses have incurred substantial losses in 2020. For instance, according to Nano Dimension’s (an Israel-based 3D printed electronics manufacturer) Q1 2021 results, the company reported a reduction in revenue of 59%. Between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, the company’s revenue fell from US$ 2 million to US$ 80,000, owing to the impact of COVID-19 on the demand for its DragonFly 3D printers.
The pandemic has highlighted positive role of 3D printing technology. Many countries are also using 3D printed electronic devices to combat COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, China is using drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) made by Hawk Eye Electronic Technology (China-based company focused on developing UAV systems) to help in coronavirus relief efforts. The drone can stay in air for an hour and can carry up to 13 kg. The drones are currently used by the local center for disease control in several major cities in Jiangxi Province, China.
In January 2021, the Ministry of Electronics, IT & Technology of India, announced a national strategy for additive manufacturing to promote additive manufacturing industry in India.
Key players operating in the global conductive inks for additive manufacturing market include Copprint Technologies Ltd., Creative Materials Inc., DuPont, Inc., Electroninks Inc., GenesInk, Netafim, Henkel AG & Co. KGAA, Nano Dimension, Novacentrix Inc., Poly-Ink, PrintCB, Promethean Particles Ltd., and Sun Chemical Company.
Conductive ink is a form of ink that can conduct electricity. Conductive inks consists of a conductive material, made up of thermoplastic polyvinyl butyral terpolymer binder and a glycol ether solvent. The conductive inks are based on carbon materials, metal particles, and conductive polymer. Conductive inks allow to print electronic circuits on paper or other flexible surfaces. Conductive inks are used in various applications including photovoltaics, power electronics, EMI (electromagnetic interference) shielding, antennas, 3D printed electronics, and capacitors among others.
Conductive ink manufacturers are focused on developing innovative products in the conductive ink sector, in order to expand their product portfolio. One such innovation is the development of particle-free conductive inks developed by Electroninks (a startup company based in Texas, U.S.). In particle-free conductive ink, solvated metal (silver/copper) atoms are reduced in-situ to produce a metal layer. The chemical reaction is initiated by heat, light, or plasma, which then produces a smooth conductive metal layer. High conductivity is a major advantage of these particle-free conductive inks. Since, the metal is formed in-situ and the proportion of the binder materials is also low, the conductivity of the ink can go as high as 80% of the bulk metal.
Manufacturers operating in the global conductive inks sector for additive manufacturing market are focused on various growth strategies such as new product launches in order to expand their product portfolio. For instance, in April 2016, DuPont launched a new electronic ink for inkjet printing that offers high conductivity and strong adhesion. The new electronic ink enables rapid prototyping and a smooth transition, with the versatility to scale up to industrial high-volume inkjet print heads and machines.
Key features of the study:
“*” marked represents similar segmentation in other categories in the respective section.