The global Conformal Coating Market is estimated to reach nearly USD 16 billion by 2024. It stood at USD 9.7 billion in 2015. Demand from industries, such as automotive and consumer electronics can drive the market from 2016 to 2024 (forecast period). Customization is the ongoing trend in the global market. Companies are developing 8-10 versions of a certain coating material to cater to the growing demands of various industries. Viscosity modifications starting from 20 cps (centipoise) are gaining popularity nowadays. Appearance of a coating or its fluorescence can be altered as per the specifications of end-users.
The global industry is hampered by fluctuating prices of raw materials. Concerns regarding volatile organic compound (VOC) content in conformal coatings can have a negative effect. Greater production periods of low VOC solvents as well as their increased costs of production are the main market challenges. However, the popularity of water-based coatings and strict governmental regulations regarding VOC emissions may facilitate industry demand. Most companies invest significantly in novel technologies that simplify the application procedure. Technologies, such as ultrasonic coatings, selective coatings, and selective needle dispensing could spur market demand over the forecast period.
Conformal coatings are thin polymeric films that protect electronic components from chemicals, dust, moisture, and other environmental conditions. These coatings are used mainly in printed circuit boards. They exhibit high thermal & abrasion resistance. Various methods of coating are dipping, spray application coating, and brush coating. Conformal coatings are applied on electric components to prevent the effects of heat, corrosion, and rust. But adhesion of the product is a major challenge.
Brush coating is best suited for low volume applications. This however depends on the material as well as on the skills of the operator. Spray application coating is ideal for low and medium volume processing. It is applied with a spray aerosol or a spray gun. Conformal coating dipping is usually applied to PCBs. Choosing the right material for conformal coating can ensure the reliability of circuit boards in the long run.
The global Conformal Coating Market is segmented according to products, end-users, and regions. The products are parylene, urethane, silicone, epoxy, acrylic, and others. ‘Others’ includes UV cure coatings. ‘Acrylic’ led the market with a revenue share surpassing 40% in 2015. Surface adhesion rate and superior moisture resistance exhibited by these coatings can fuel demand over the next eight years. They prevent fungal growth because of their superior physical & electrical properties. During the curing process, acrylic conformal coatings emit minimal heat and also mitigate the risks towards heat-sensitive components.
Silicone coatings are expected to expand at a CAGR below 6% during the forecast period. Demand from manufacturing & industrial sectors is expected to fuel their overall demand. Besides the expanding manufacturing sector, the need for automation may encourage industry growth.
End-users comprise industrial, marine, consumer electronics, medical, automotive & transportation, aerospace & defense, and others. ‘Others’ includes military and telecommunications. Consumer electronics accounted for over 40% of total volumes in 2015. Surging demand for computers, laptops, smartphones, TVs, washing machines, and refrigerators is expected to positively impact growth.
The automotive & transportation segment is projected to grow at a CAGR above 4% during the forecast period. ‘Automotives’ held over 20% of total shares in 2015. Automotives need conformal coatings for protecting circuits against salt spray, brake fluid, and gasoline vapor. They also find use in passenger compartment systems and under the hood systems. Technological advancements and the use of electronics for safety & entertainment may propel demand for automotive devices. This, in turn can drive the worldwide industry. Coated PCBs exhibit salt stability, hydrophobicity, and high corrosion resistance. All these properties have increased the popularity of PCBs in electronics and automotives.
The medical segment contributed to over 16% of global revenue shares in 2015. Demand for imaging and therapeutic devices can create a need for conformal coatings in the near future. Use of the product in medical electronics to mitigate the risks of heating & corrosion may impel market growth. Conformal coatings ensure the consistent performance of pacemakers. The marine industry is also proving a key end-user in this industry. Its application in marine fuel management, satellite television, fiber optic gyrocompass, marine radar, sonar, fishfinder, and GPS (Global Positioning System) may propel market demand from 2016 to 2024.
Regions in the global Conformal Coating Market are North America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), and Middle East & Africa (MEA). APAC led the global market with over 55% revenue shares in 2015. China may contribute to over 50% shares in the regional market. This can be attributed to low raw material & labor costs in the country. Rising discretionary incomes and changing lifestyles in APAC can drive industries, such as consumer electronics, aerospace, and healthcare. This is anticipated to favor the regional growth.
High healthcare & aerospace investments in North America would help the region stand second in the global industry. Greater governmental spending on the defense sector could encourage market growth over the next eight years.
Prominent players in the global Conformal Coating Market are H. B. Fuller, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Dymax Corporation, DOW Corning, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd., and Chase Corporation. Most companies procure raw materials directly from their local suppliers. This is done to reduce transportation costs. The worldwide industry is a highly competitive one with numerous industry players and low product differentiation. Competitors focus on product innovation and strategic partnerships to increase their market shares.
For instance, Apple recently developed a method to protect its devices from water. It applied a hydrophobic conformal coating to PCBs to increase their moisture resistance. It also uses EMI (electromagnetic interference) coating to protect most of the circuitry in the iPhone 7. This would help the company increase the battery size of the phone and also make the phone body thinner.
H. B. Fuller has recently expanded its product portfolio by acquiring TONSAN Adhesive, Co., Ltd. This will catapult the company to one of the topmost positions in the electronic adhesives industry. Dymax Corporation has launched a new conformal coating for PCBs and other electronic components. The product named ‘Multi-Cure 9-20557’ has been developed to stick on difficult-to-wet components made of silver or copper.
Research Support Specialist, USA