Conformal Coatings Market: Shielding Printed Circuit Boards in Diverse Applications

The electronics industry is growing to be a multi-billion-dollar industry, with immense potential for innovation in the tiniest component of an electronic circuit. A printed circuit board (PCBs) is an essential element of an integrated circuit, and the need to protect PCBs from external factors such as temperature, moisture, and dust, has been driving revenue to the conformal coatings market.

As the electronics industry is accelerating towards converging with a wide range of other industrial verticals, the need for conformal coatings is likely to get magnified, which will propel the growth of the conformal coatings market. A recent study published by Transparency Market Research (TMR) offers a 360-degree overview of the recent developments in the conformal coatings market, and offers actionable insights for stakeholders to make value-based decisions.

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Conformal Coatings Market: From 'Environmentally-Friendly' to Suitable for 'Harsh Environments'

The global conformal coatings market has grown steadily in the past few years, with the increasing prevalence of electronic circuits in a mounting number of industrial applications. As the demand surged in various end-use industries, especially in consumer electronics, the conformal coatings market reached a valuation of ~ US$ 10 billion in 2018. However, growing concerns about the environmental impact of solvent-based protective coating materials and operating technologies have resulted in the imposition of environmental legislations on the use of conformal coatings.

In recent years, the conformal coatings market has evolved from solvent-based conformal coatings to their solvent-free and more efficient variants, to comply with strict environmental regulations. Challenges related to the use of solvent-based conformal coatings are triggering the demand for their solvent-free and water-based alternatives. The global conformal coatings market is expected to witness ~ 5.5% year-over-year growth in 2019 over 2018. Market players are likely to capitalize on the increasing penetration of electronic devices in various industrial segments, and foray into the ones with harsh operating environments, in the coming years

Though the consumer electronics industry accounts for over one-fourth revenue share of the conformal coatings market, stakeholders are tapping into the potential in end-use industries such as aerospace, defense, and marine. The constant hunt for conformal coating materials that can be suitable for extreme environments is attracting investors in these end-use industries. As the electronics industry is converging with nearly every other industrial segment, the demand for efficient conformal coatings is likely to be on an upward swing in the coming years.

On the other hand, the conformal coatings market will always be under the threat from its alternatives such as potting and encapsulation, especially in applications where extreme environment protection is required, notwithstanding conformal coatings’ ease of use. End users’ confidence in the protection provided by potting and encapsulation resins may negatively impact the growth of the conformal coatings market.

Demand to Shift from Acrylic to Silicone and Polyurethane in the Conformal Coatings Market

On account of their availability, reparability, and ease of use, acrylics account for nearly one-third share in the conformal coatings market. As acrylics combine good environmental protection with reasonable pricing, they will continue to be deployed widely among both, large companies as well as small businesses in the conformal coatings landscape. However, end users’ inclination towards water-based and solvent-free conformal coating materials is expected to boost the adoption of silicone and water-based polyurethane in the future.

Polyurethane offers excellent abrasion resistance and better protection against moisture, when compared to acrylics in conformal coatings. Further, silicone is also emerging as one of the most deployed conformal coating materials, as it covers a wide family of various materials with diverse properties and applications. Taking into consideration the increasing deployment of silicone and polyurethane, leading manufacturers in the conformal coatings market are likely to focus on offering silicone and polyurethane products in the years to come.

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Lucrative Opportunities in Asia Pacific Dictate the Success Strategies of Stakeholders

More than half the revenue share of the conformal coatings market is accounted for by Asia Pacific, and the strong presence of frontrunners in the region, such as Shin-Etsu Chemical Company Limited, is expected to improve the growth prospects of the conformal coatings market in the region. Shin-Etsu Chemical Company Limited is a leading manufacturer of conformal coatings, with a strong foothold in Japan and even across the world. The company accounts for nearly 14% revenue share of the global conformal coatings market, and its continual growth will influence the business strategies of its competitors in Asia Pacific.

Increasing growth of end-use industries such as automotive, consumer electronics, and industrial machinery & equipment industries in Asia Pacific is expected to create new sales opportunities for conformal coating companies. In addition, lower labor costs and less stringent regulatory frameworks in developing countries in the region are expected to boost the profitability of businesses present in the conformal coating market.

Europe’s automotive industry has imposed strict regulations and standards, putting pressure on manufacturers operating in the conformal coatings market with stringent quality demands. Not only in Europe, but also in North America, players of the conformal coating market are focusing on ensuring process quality to comply with the regulatory requirements in these regions.

Conformal Coatings Market: A Moderately Consolidated Competitive Landscape

With an over 45% revenue share in the conformal coatings market, companies such as Henkel AG & KGaA, Dow Corning, Shin-Etsu Chemical Company Limited, and HB Fuller, have consolidated their position in this landscape. Through strategic investments and product innovations, leading companies are strengthening their foothold in the conformal coatings market. For instance, in September 2018, Shin-Etsu Chemical announced that, anticipating an increase in the demand for silicone products, it will invest nearly ¥110 billion in its silicone business. With this investment, the company is focusing on expanding the production capacity of silicone monomers at its main bases in Japan and globally.

Other competitors in the conformal coatings market are concentrating their strategies on product innovation in a bid to create a strong position in this capital-intensive market. For example, in April 2019, Electrolube announced that it has developed a new range of UV-cured conformal coating products that can reduce production time and offer higher levels of performance for manufacturers in various end-use industries, including automotive and electronics.

In April 2019, Nordson ASYMTEK announced that it will launch its new conformal coating line and dispensing solutions, including Vantage™ Series Fluid Dispensing System and Helios™ SD-960 Large Volume Fluid Dispensing System, in Germany. The company aims to offer a conformal coating system that supports highly-abrasive thermal interface materials (TIMs), including epoxies, silicones, and grease.

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Analysts’ Viewpoint

Authors of this report on the conformal coatings market are optimistic about the growth of this landscape, as electronic circuits and PCBs are becoming ubiquitous in industrial spaces, apart from consumer electronics. While the threat from encapsulation and potting continues to impact businesses, manufacturers must focus on offering appropriate materials, such as silicone and polyurethane, to sustain the competition in the market. Though the market is capital-intensive, new players and small- & medium-sized businesses account for a substantial revenue share. Innovation in technology and coating materials will remain the key to gain an edge in the conformal coatings market.

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Significant Market Transformation in Global Electronics Industry to Provide New Growth Avenues for Conformal Coatings

  • The global electronics industry is set to witness significant challenges in the near future. Foldable smartphones, wearable electronics, autonomous driving, Internet of Things (IoT), connected vehicles, and 5G revolution are some of the trends that indicate strong demand for conformal coatings among electronics manufacturing service providers. Being key participants in the 5G technology value chain, printed circuit board manufacturers are likely to require highly reliable designs. This is expected to boost the demand for conformal coatings in the near future.
  • Common functions of conformal coatings include inhibition of leakage due to environmental contamination, resistance to corrosion, improvement of fatigue, inhibition to arcing, and corona discharge. Conformal coatings also offer resistance against vibration and humidity.
  • Printed circuit boards (PCBs) protected with conformal coatings reduce the incidences of the board’s premature failure. Rise in the demand for enhanced functionality and miniaturization is likely to necessitate the reliability of PCBs in the near future, thus propelling the conformal coatings industry.
  • Repeatability and reliability are the two essential qualities that medical PCB suppliers must achieve in addition to the compliance of stringent medical regulations. These PCBs need to be operated without any technical errors. In order to achieve that, they need to be protected from exposure to risky surroundings. Conformal coatings help avoid exposure to unwanted chemicals or other components.

Global Conformal Coatings Market Highlights

  • In terms of value, the global conformal coatings market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of ~ 5.5%, to surpass US$ 16.0 Bn by 2027.
  • Asia Pacific was the leading region of the global conformal coatings market in 2018. The conformal coatings market in the region is expected to expand at a strong CAGR between 2019 and 2027.
  • According to a publication by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global sales of electric cars stood at around 1.1 million units in 2017, leading to a global stock of more than 3 million units. Electric vehicles are the future of the global automotive industry, led by a rise in the efforts to meet the global climate goals and other sustainability targets. Strong indicators depicted by the electric vehicles industry are estimated to present significant opportunities for the conformal coatings market in the near future.
  • The global automotive industry has been facing disruptive changes resulting from the legal requirements to reduce CO2 emissions and increase fuel efficiency. In order to meet these requirements, the regular optimization of conventional combustion engines is necessary. A high performance printed circuit board (PCB) plays a vital role in enhancing the engine’s overall performance. The demand for efficient PCBs, is, in turn, expected to present significant potential for the conformal coatings market during forecast period.

Polyurethane to Exhibit Rapid Growth in the Conformal Coatings Market

  • Based on product, the polyurethane segment of the conformal coatings market is estimated to expand substantially during the forecast period, owing to its unique characteristics such as good moisture resistance, good dielectric properties, and good solvent resistance and abrasion resistance.
  • The demand for silicone conformal coatings is projected to be high in the near future. The distinctive feature of silicone coatings lies in their operational stability over a wide temperature range (-40°C to 200°C). Furthermore, they provide good UV/sunlight resistance, vibration dampening, and high dielectric strength.

Solvent-based Technology to Lead the Conformal Coatings Market

  • Based on technology, the solvent-based segment led the global conformal coatings market in 2018. Solvent-based conformal coatings are used for coating applications, owing to their cost effectiveness and ease of availability. Solvent-based technology can use resins such as acrylic, polyurethane, epoxy, silicone, or parylene. A solvent is a petrochemical derivative, and emissions of VOCs are high in this technology.
  • The water-based segment is expected to expand significantly in the near future. This technology features environmentally-friendly characteristics and reduces the emissions of volatile organic compounds. Stringent regulations in North America regarding the emissions of VOCs are likely to fuel the demand for water-based coatings in the near future.

Spray Coating Method to Exhibit the Most Promising Trends in the Conformal Coatings Market

  • Based on operation method, the spray coating segment was an attractive segment of the conformal coatings market in 2018. Ease of application is a key factor that propels the demand for spray coating. It offers benefits such as uniformity, high throughput, material savings, and low capital investment.
  • Dip coating offers comparatively uniform thickness to conformal coatings used to protect PCBs. Usually, a machine assembly is immersed in the coating solution. This helps the coating spread uniformly. However, the aerosol spraying method is more beneficial owing to its ease of application.

Demand for Conformal Coatings to Increase in Consumer Electronics and Automotive End-use Industries

  • Based on application, the consumer electronics and automotive segments were highly lucrative segments of the global conformal coatings market in 2018.
  • Increase in the consumption of consumer electronics devices such as mobile phones, computers, and other electronic gadgets is likely to fuel the consumer electronics segment in the conformal coatings market.
  • Significant opportunities for the automotive segment can be ascribed to the high demand for conformal coatings in components such as surrounding monitors, control systems, and navigation devices. The automotive segment in the conformal coatings market is projected to expand at a CAGR of ~ 5.0% during the forecast period.

Asia Pacific Expected to be a Highly Lucrative Region

  • In terms of value and volume, Asia Pacific constituted a prominent share of the global conformal coatings market in 2018. This large share of the market can be ascribed to the increase in the population, rise in disposable income, and expansion in consumer electronics and automotive industries.
  • Ongoing initiatives such as 'Make in India', 'Smart Cities', and 'Digital India' by the Government of India are likely to present immense opportunities for the conformal coatings market in Asia Pacific during the forecast period.
  • Recovery of the economy, increase in government spending, rise in consumer inclination toward personal conveyance, and strong potential for self-driving and electric vehicles are expected to boost the conformal coatings market in North America during forecast period.

Conformal Coatings Market: Competitive Landscape

  • The report comprises detailed profiles of the major players operating in conformal coatings market. It also consists of a matrix comparison of the top four players operating in the conformal coatings market, along with their market share analysis and product mapping for 2018.
  • Key players operating in the global conformal coatings market are
    • Europlasma N.V.
    • Henkel AG & KGaA,
    • H.B. Fuller Company
    • Chase Corporation
    • Shin Etsu Chemical Company Limited 
    • Electrolube.

The global conformal coatings market is likely to remain highly fragmented during the forecast period. Manufacturers have been investing significantly for enhancing the proficiency of conformal coatings, making them highly effective in end-use industries such as consumer electronics, automotive, industrial machinery & equipment, aerospace, defense, and marine.

Transparency Market Research (TMR) recently published a study that assesses the growth parameters of the global market for conformal coatings. This is a market intelligence report that offers comprehensive information about how the growth avenues for the conformal coatings market will unveil during the period of 2019-2027. In this study, detailed analysis on various factors influencing the developments in the conformal coatings market is included, along with qualitative as well as quantitative insights on the future growth of the market.

The study offers key indicator assessment to explain the key growth prospects of the conformal coatings market, and forecast statistics about the expansion of the market in terms of value (US$ million). This information can help readers gauge the dynamics of the conformal coatings market, along with actionable insights that can help manufacturers, suppliers, and other investors make important business-related decisions in the coming future.

Key Questions that TMR’s Conformal Coatings Market Study Answers

The report offers unique and accurate information about the conformal coatings market, based on thorough research on the macro and microeconomic market dynamics that are instrumental in the development of the market. The information featured in the report can answer salient questions for companies in the conformal coatings market, in order to make important business-related decisions.

Some of these questions include:

  • How will the historical growth prospects of the conformal coatings market impact its future?
  • What are leading manufacturers’ winning strategies that are helping them strengthen their foothold in the conformal coatings market?
  • Why is the demand for conformal coatings higher in Asia Pacific?
  • What are the trends in the conformal coatings market that are influencing manufacturers’ business strategies?
  • Why is spray coating gaining more popularity in the conformal coatings market?

Conformal Coatings Market: Research Methodology

The research methodology followed for acquiring detailed information about developments in the conformal coatings landscape involves conducting a thorough market research. With the help of industry-validated data verified by several primary and secondary resources, analysts could come up with exclusive insights on how the conformal coatings market will grow and expand through the course of the forecast period.

Secondary resources that have contributed to the production of this report include various white papers, regulations, and research papers that highlight the sales potential for conformal coatings. Secondary resources have been referred to by analysts to confirm the accuracy of the forecast on the future trends and opportunities in the conformal coatings market.

Analysts have interviewed C-level executives and brand managers of companies in the supply chain of the conformal coatings market, as well as investors and industry experts, who contributed in the development of this report as a primary resource. 70% of the primary resources were conformal coating manufacturers, 15% of the primary information was acquired from PCB (printed circuit board) manufacturers, and the rest of the 15% primary resources included distributors and other participants in the conformal coatings market.

The exclusive information provided by the primary resources and secondary resources acts as a validation from conformal coatings market players, and makes TMR’s estimates on the future prospects of the conformal coatings market more accurate and reliable.

Segmentation of the Conformal Coatings Market

TMR’s report on the conformal coatings market divides information into five broader categories - product, operation method, technology, end-use industry, and region. Readers can find detailed information about how growth of the conformal coatings market is influenced by the dynamics and changing trends associated with these segments, in this TMR study.

TMR’s report offers comprehensive data about the segment-wise trends in the conformal coatings market. Information includes Y-o-Y growth analysis, pricing analysis, value chain analysis, and supply chain assessment for the agents used in conformal coatings, and end users in developing as well as developed regions.

Product

Acrylics

Silicone

Polyurethane

Epoxy

Parylene

Fluoropolymers

Operation Method

Dip Coating

Spray Coating

Brush Coating

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

Technology

Solvent-based

Water-based

UV-cured

End-use Industry

Consumer Electronics

Automotive

Industrial Machinery & Equipment

Medical

Aerospace

Defense

Marine

Others

Region

North America

Europe

Asia Pacific

Latin America

Middle East & Africa