Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) Market: Snapshot

Diamond-like Carbon or DLC consists of carbon atoms with sp3 bonding. It has high mechanical hardness, chemical inertness, and optical transparency. DLC coating has been garnering interest from the industry and research world since the last two decades. The unique properties of DLC make it a fascinating and commercially essential coating material for various industrial applications. Currently, it is used in various industrial applications including critical engine parts, mechanical face seals, scratch-resistant glasses, invasive and implantable medical devices, microelectromechanical systems, razor blades, and magnetic hard discs. Presence of certain elemental species such as hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, silicon, titanium, and fluorine plays a significant role in the properties of DLC.

diamond like carbon market

The notable tribological properties of DLC depend upon the micro-structures, amount of hydrogen present, and ratio of sp2 to sp3 carbon atoms. Ratio of sp2 to sp3 carbon atoms defines two types of DLC: pure (pure DLC) and mixed (mixed DLC). Concentration of sp3 carbon atoms is high in pure DLC. A blend of sp2 and sp3 bonded carbon atoms can be observed in mixed DLC with random intermixing of cubic and hexagonal lattices. Deposition methods of DLC include ion beam, sputtering, cathodic arc, pulsed laser deposition, and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition. In most technologies, ions are used to deposit elements on various material substrates.

Rise in demand for DLC coating in automotive engine components is projected to drive the global DLC market. DLC coatings are largely employed in diesel fuel injectors, automotive tappets, rocker arms, differential gears, valve lifters, wrist pins, and door hinges. DLC coatings help increase the shelf life of automotive engine components by decreasing the coefficient of friction. Reduction in friction lowers the need for lubrication. This improves efficiency in the supply chain, from raw materials to end-users. The high load bearing properties of DLC coatings make them an ideal choice for improving the performance of engineered components. Increase in demand for advanced coatings with high abrasion resistance acts as a major driver of the global DLC market.

Rise in demand for DLC coatings in the medical industry owing to the high biocompatibility is also a key factor boosting the DLC market. Demand for DLC based coatings with exceptionally hard, low friction, and bio-inert characteristics is high in biomedical components. DLC coatings possess these properties. They help prevent leaching of metallic ions to the automotive body parts. DLC is used in applications in orthopedics, cardiovascular components, guide wires, etc. in the medical industry owing to its biocompatible nature.

Manufacturers are focusing on the production of hydrogen-free DLC that can be employed in automotive and biomedical applications. Superior abrasion and wear resistance are the key factors driving the demand for hydrogen-free DLC. Hydrogen-free DLC coatings improve binding with engine oil and result in the formation of a firm ultra-low friction film when special oil additives are added. Usage of advanced technologies such as plasma enhanced CVD and pulsed laser deposition is anticipated to propel the applications of DLCs. Potential applications in the personal care sector, such as razor blades and skin wrinkling treatments, are estimated to offer attractive growth opportunities to the global DLC market. Similarly, electronics sector, with the advancements in MEMS technology, is expected to act as a potential end-user industry of the DLC market in the near future.

Emission of Carbon dioxide is the key factor intensifying the global warming effect. DLC is typically a coating which is a layer made up of carbon atoms. It may combine with oxygen and emit carbon dioxide. Regulations on the emission of carbon dioxide are getting stricter in developed regions such as Europe and North America. Thus, implementation of stringent regulations on the emission of carbon dioxide is likely to hamper the global DLC market. Poor adhesion of DLC coatings onto substrates is also expected to adversely affect the DLC market. However, advancement in ultrathin layer coating technologies is anticipated to help the market overcome the challenges mentioned above.

The DLC market in Europe is dominated by a few large manufacturers such as Oerlikon Group, Morgan Advanced Materials Plc., Miba AG, and Renishaw Advanced Materials Ltd. These companies have production bases in the U.K., Germany, Belgium, and Austria. Constant research activities in automotive, electronics, and medical industries is likely to create new opportunities for DLC manufacturers. According to the RoHS guidelines, medical device manufacturers are focusing on moving toward greener engineering technologies such as DLC coating materials, as these are biocompatible and can work in a wide range of temperatures. Manufacturers are striving to obtain competitive advantage in the DLC market by introducing highly advanced technologies such as plasma assisted chemical vapor deposition and pulsed laser deposition. Discovery of self-healing DLC, which produces ultra-thin film with high performance characteristics, is anticipated to provide an attractive growth platform for the DLC market in the near future. New product launches, brand promotions, and mergers & acquisitions are also estimated to boost the demand for DLC market in the near future.

Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) Market: Overview

Diamond-like carbon (DLC) is primarily employed in advanced coating applications due to its tribological properties such as high hardness, wear resistance, and abrasive power. Two major types of DLCs are available in the market: pure DLC and mixed DLC. DLCs are largely used in automotive and medical end-use industries. DLC based materials with special wettability have been successfully employed in the development of superhydrophilic and superhydrophobic surfaces. This has led to improved performance as well as durability. DLCs are used to coat auto parts in the automotive industry, while they are used to coat surgical devices in the medical industry.

Different types of DLC coatings are used to provide a wide range of mechanical properties. Tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C) is the hardest, thin, and glossy form of DLC. Coatings based on DLC can be extremely hard and give low coefficients of friction. Properties of DLC can be evaluated by the nano-indentation method, scratch and wear, and friction testing. Advanced microscopic technologies such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) can be employed for the evaluation of the mechanism of deformation. DLC coating can be produced through advanced deposition technologies such as PVD (Pulsed Vapor Deposition) and CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition). These advanced technologies include sputtering, cathodic arc deposition, pulsed laser deposition, ion beam deposition, and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition.

In terms of type, the global DLC market can be classified into pure DLC and mixed DLC. In terms of the commonly employed application, the global DLC market can be segmented into drill bits & milling cutters, saws & blades, dies & molds, inserts, and others (including hobs and broaches). Based on end-user, the global DLC market can be divided into automotive, packaging, medical, electronics, cosmetics, and others (including aerospace and industrial).

Rise in demand for DLC coating in automotive engine components is a key factor driving the global DLC market. DLC coatings help increase the shelf life of automotive engine components by decreasing the coefficient of friction. Increase in demand for DLC coatings in the medical Industry is also a major factor boosting the DLC market due to the emerging demand in orthopedic, cardiovascular, and dental applications. DLC coatings are employed in orthopedic applications to reduce wear, corrosion, and debris formation. DLC coatings are primarily employed in the medical industry to coat biomedical devices, which are used in cardiovascular and orthopedic applications.

Constant research activities in automotive, electronics, and medical industries is likely to create new opportunities for DLC manufacturers. According to the RoHS guidelines, medical device manufacturers are focusing on moving toward greener engineering technologies such as DLC coating materials, as these are biocompatible and can work in a wide range of temperatures.

The report analyzes and forecasts the market for DLC at the global and regional level. The market has been forecast based on revenue (US$ Mn) from 2017 to 2025. The study includes drivers and restraints of the global DLC market. It also covers the impact of these drivers and restraints on demand for DLC during the forecast period. The report also highlights opportunities in the DLC market at the global and regional level.

The report comprises a detailed value chain analysis, which provides a comprehensive view of the global DLC market. Porter’s Five Forces model for the DLC market has also been included to help understand the competitive landscape. The study encompasses market attractiveness analysis, wherein end-users are benchmarked based on their market size, growth rate, and general attractiveness.

The study provides a decisive view of the global DLC market by segmenting it in terms of type, application, end-user, and region. These segments have been analyzed based on the present and future trends. Regional segmentation includes the current and forecast demand for DLC in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The report also covers demand for individual end-user segments in all the regions.

The study includes profiles of major companies operating in the global DLC market. Key players profiled in the global DLC market include Oerlikon Group, Morgan Advanced Materials Plc, Miba AG, Renishaw Advanced Materials Ltd, Acree Technologies Inc, and IBC Coatings Technologies, Inc. Market players have been profiled in terms of attributes such as company overview, business strategies, recent developments, and SWOT analysis.

The report provides the estimated market size of DLC for 2016 and forecast for the next nine years. The global size of the DLC market has been provided in terms of revenue. Market numbers have been estimated based on type, application, end-user, and region. Market size and forecast for each major type, application, and end-user have been provided in terms of global and regional markets.

DLC Market – Type Analysis

  • Pure DLC
  • Mixed DLC

DLC Market – Application Analysis

  • Drill Bits & Milling Cutters
  • Saws & Blades
  • Dies & Molds
  • Inserts
  • Others

DLC Market – End-user Analysis

  • Automotive
  • Medical
  • Packaging
  • Electronics
  • Cosmetics
  • Others

DLC Market – Regional Analysis

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Rest of Latin America
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • France
    • U.K.
    • Spain
    • Italy
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • Japan
    • India
    • ASEAN
    • Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa
    • GCC
    • South Africa
    • Rest of Middle East & Africa

Key Takeaways

  • The report provides extensive analysis of market trends and shares from 2017 to 2025 in order to identify opportunities and industry developments
  • It provides comparative analysis of properties of various amorphous carbon films in comparison with diamond and graphite
  • It offers analysis of structures and characteristics of DLC production processes
  • The report also includes major production sites of DLC in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, along with the list of manufacturers
  • It Identifies key factors responsible to build the upcoming opportunistic roadmap for the DLC market at global, regional, and country levels
  • The report offers comprehensive analysis with respect to investments and regulatory scenario that subsequently impact the outlook and forecast of the global DLC market between 2016 and 2025
  • The report provides insights in terms of opportunities for various stakeholders in the value chain and detailed competition landscape for key players dominating the industry to understand competition level
  • Porters’ Five Forces and SWOT analysis highlight the potency of buyers and suppliers to enable stakeholders to make profit oriented business decisions and analyze the strength and weakness to gain strategic position in the market