Liquid Crystal Polymers Market - Insights
Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCPs) are part of a family of thermoplastics with inimitable set of properties such as high electrical resistance, high heat resistance and tolerance, and high chemical resistance. They demonstrate a high degree of anisotropy in both liquid & solid crystal phases, which significantly increases their stiffness, strength, and thermal expansion in one direction, not same in every direction unlike other polymers such as nylon or ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene).
Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) is an aromatic polyester, co-polyester or ester-amide polymer by composition. It differs from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and PBT (polybutylene terephthalate), owing to its molecular structure. LCPs can easily improve resource efficiency owing to its superior properties. LCPs are increasingly becoming a choice of material for miniaturization of products, as it can be easily processed and molded into tiny precision parts to integrate different functions. For instance, Ticona, then Celanese was the first company to launch a commercial operation of LCP, Vectra at Summit, NJ, in 1986. The molecules in liquid crystal polymers stay highly ordered nearly linear, and stacked orientation in liquid crystal phase. Moreover, LCPs exhibit high resistance to heat, flames, external weather and UV rays, and possess good electrical insulation properties. Furthermore, LCPs show high resistance to hydrolysis, weak acids and bases, alcohols, aromates, chlorinated hydrocarbons, esters, and ketones over a wide range of temperatures.
Asia Pacific accounted for the largest market share in 2018, according to the stats provided by Coherent Market Insights. This is due to favorable growth of electrical and electronics industries in the region. Moreover Asia Pacific is expected to be the highest consumer of LCP throughout the forecast period. For instance, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), electronics market in India was valued at US$ 69.6 billion in 2012, and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 24.4% between 2012-2020 to reach US$ 400 billion by 2020.
The global liquid crystal polymer market was pegged at 40.2 Kilo Tons (KT) in 2018, and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 5.8% in terms of volume to reach 66.4 KT by 2027, over the forecast period (2019 – 2027).
Figure 1. Global Liquid Crystal Polymers Market Share (%), By Region, 2018
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2018-19
Among applications, electrical & electronics segment accounted for largest market volume share of 73.9% in 2017, in the global liquid crystal polymers (LCP) market. LCP is majorly adopted in electrical & electronics industries, owing to its optimal physical & chemical properties. Therefore, the segment is expected to retain its dominance over the forecast period. For instance, according to survey conducted by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITIA), production by global electronics and information technology industries increased 8% year on year in 2018, to reach US$ 2,934.5 billion, and is expected to increase by 4% year on year in 2019, to reach US$ 3,045.8 billion.
Furthermore, according to JEITIA, global production by Japan electronics and IT companies increased by 1% year on year in 2018, to reach US$ 360 billion, and is expected to increase by 1% year on year in 2019, to reach US$ 370 billion.
Figure 2. Global Liquid Crystal Polymers Market Share (%), By Application, 2018
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2018-19
Players operating in the global liquid crystal polymer market are focused on adopting various growth strategies such as product development and new product launches, in order to enhance its product portfolio.
For instance, in January 2015, Solvay SA launched a new specialty polymer, Xydar MG-850 liquid crystal polymer (LCP). This new product is specially designed liquid crystal polymer grade that meets rigorous performance and processing demands of new high-speed USB 3.0 surface mount connectors. Xydar MG-850 delivers high flow, flatness, and dimensional stability required for new 12-gigabyte connectors that find applications in desktops, laptops, and tablets.
Furthermore, in July 2019, Sumitomo Chemical developed three new LCPs, which includes SumikaSuper E6205L, SumikaSuper SR1205L, and SumikaSuper SZ6911EM. These LCPs are specifically designed for high-speed connectors such as backplanes and automotive connectors for infotainment. SumikaSuper SZ6911EM is specifically designed to provide high-speed digital and wireless devices, where electromagnetic interference (EMI) is a worry.
Major players operating in the global liquid crystal polymer market include Celanese Corporation, Polyplastics Co Ltd., Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd., Toray Industries Inc., Solvay S.A., Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry, Ltd., and Shanghai PRET Composites Co., Ltd.
Liquid crystal polymers (LCP) exhibit a highly ordered structure in both liquid and solid states. LCP can replace materials such as ceramics, metals, composites, and other plastics, owing to properties such as outstanding strength at extreme temperatures and resistance to virtually all chemicals. Processing of LCPs include various operations such as fiber spinning, extrusion, film casting, thermoforming, injection, compression, and blow molding. Injection molding and extrusion are two dominant processing operations. Global demand for liquid crystal polymer is expected to increase over the forecast period, owing to their application in various industries such as automotive, electrical & electronics, industrial, consumer appliances, medical, aerospace, and bakeware.
Among applications, electrical & electronics industry segment is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period. For instance, according to LARK Technology (U.S.), LCP technology is the future of circuit design and manufacturing of high-performance electronic products. Furthermore, in recent years, LCP finds applications in electronics market such as fifth generation cellular network technology (5G), Radio frequency (RF), and high frequency.
Among regions, Asia Pacific is expected to hold dominant position in the market during the forecast period, owing to presence of majority of liquid crystal polymer manufacturers in the region. The major manufacturers of LCP in Asia Pacific region include Sumitomo Chemicals, Toray International Inc., Polyplastics Co. Ltd., Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry, Ltd., and Shanghai PRET Composites Co. Ltd. Moreover, rapid growth of electronics industry in the Asia Pacific region is expected to drive growth of the global liquid crystal polymer market over the forecast period. For instance, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation, Indian appliance & consumer electronics market was valued at US$ 31.48 billion in 2017, and is expected to increase at a CAGR of 9% to reach US$ 48.37 billion by 2022.
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