The global thin-film encapsulation market revenue is expected to reach USD 310.4 million by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 15.3% during 2023–2030. This can be ascribed to the surging investments in display manufacturing, the increasing need for energy-efficient devices, technological advancements, and the rising usage of smartphones and wearable smart devices globally, which, in turn, will boost the demand for flexible displays. In order to protect and increase the lifespan of flexible displays, thin-film encapsulation is an indispensable process in the production of these displays.
Displays and flexible displays are manufactured using a technique called thin-film encapsulation (TFE) to protect them from oxygen and moisture. The addition of multiple layers of thin films on top of devices create a barrier to stop the entry of harmful substances ultimately protecting the devices' sensitive electronic components. Inorganic substances like metal oxides or nitrides make up the encapsulating layers. Many different procedures like physical vapor deposition (PVD) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) are used to deposit them. These methods enable exact control over the encapsulating layers' thickness and composition.
Moreover, TFE is mostly used in next-generation display technologies and organic light-emitting diodes. These displays' lifespan and performance deteriorate with time as a result of oxygen and moisture. Thus, TFE is used to enhance the toughness of displays and make wearable electronics flexible and strong enough to withstand daily use.
The demand for thin-film solar cells is rising as a result of the increasing need for clean electricity all over the world, specifically from off-grid areas, which, in turn, drives the market growth. These efficient, thin-film, and organic photovoltaics are made from a transparent substrate like glass or flexible plastic. These are prepared to serve as the base for the solar cell.
The thin film layers of the solar cell are deposited on the substrate. This includes semiconductor materials like amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, or copper indium gallium selenide. Then a protective encapsulation layer is deposited on top to shield from environmental factors. After the installation of an encapsulation layer, the solar cell is sealed to create a robust barrier. Electrical components like busbars are then attached to encapsulated solar cells to enable the flow of current.
Based on application, OLED lighting is the fastest-growing category, advancing at a CAGR of 12%, in the coming years. This can be due to the design flexibility and energy efficiency offered by OLED lighting. Also, OLEDs provide designers with superior flexibility in terms of shape and form. They are thin, lightweight, and can be molded according to situations permitting creative and innovative lighting designs in automobiles.
Moreover, these consume less power compared to traditional lighting technologies, which leads to enhanced fuel efficiency and longer battery life in electric vehicles. Further, high contrast, improved color quality, and fast response times are some factors adding to the surging demand for these lighting solutions. Also, these can be easily customized and personalized according to specific design requirements.
Globally, the European thin-film encapsulation market is projected to record significant growth during the forecast period. This can be due to the presence of the enormous automobile industry, the surging demand for OLED lighting in next-gen vehicles, and the increasing focus on sustainable development in the region.
Furthermore, design and aesthetics have always been the primary focus of automobile manufacturers like Audi and BMW. OLED lighting allows unique and innovative lighting designs. With their thin, lightweight, and flexible natures, OLEDs can be extensively installed into multiple vehicle components permitting visually appealing solutions that enhance the overall design and also improve visibility for drivers and enhance safety on the road.
Some of the key TFE companies are Samsung SDI Co., LG Chem, 3M, Toppan Inc., Ergis Group, Veeco Instruments Inc., Universal Display Corporation, Applied Material Inc., Ajinomoto Fine-Techno Co. Inc., and Toray Industries Inc.