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Development of Biomimetics Presents Promising Opportunity for Smart Material Producers, says TMR

Chemicals And Materials |

The global smart materials market is dominated by companies such as APC International, Ltd., Advanced Cerametrics Inc., Kyocera Corporation, TDK Corporation, Channel Technologies Group, LLC, CeramTec GmbH, CTS Corporation, Wright Medical Group, Inc., and Noliac A/S. According to Transparency Market Research, the established players in the smart materials market are likely to enjoy unobstructed progress in the coming years due to their presence in multiple components of the market’s supply chain. 

In addition to this, the chances of new companies making a mark in the smart materials market remain low due to the high investment costs required to enter the industry. The commercial as well as technical difficulties in commercializing research into smart materials are another factor expected to restrain the entry of new players in the smart materials market. However, the versatility of applications of smart materials means new players stand to make up a lot of ground by focusing on unexplored application sectors.

Consistent Demand for Piezoelectric, Biomimetic Materials Favorable for Smart Materials Market

The quick response time and high precision offered by piezoelectric smart materials have led to their dominance in the global market. “Due to these advantages, many players are focusing on piezoelectric materials as a promising starting point for extensive development of smart materials,” a TMR analyst stated. Thus, piezoelectric materials, which include actuators and motors, sensors, resonators, transformers, and transducers, are likely to remain the dominant product type in the global smart materials market in the coming years.

Piezoelectric actuators, in particular, are already widely used in the automotive, optics and photonics, telecommunications, and semiconductor industries. The demand for small-scale piezoelectric components in the healthcare industry is also growing due to their use in noninvasive equipment. This is a key driver for the global smart materials market.

Another key driver for the global smart materials market is the promising performance of the bionics and artificial organs industries in recent years. Biomimetic materials, which are used in products and technologies that mimic a natural phenomenon, are thus witnessing a rising demand and are expected to become a significant force in the global smart materials market in the coming years. Artificial organs, which need to take into account the use of electricity in the human neural network as well as the way the organ naturally reacts to temperature and pressure, are another emerging application sector for smart materials.

High Cost, Elite Technological Requirements Restrain Smart Materials Market

The prime restraint on smart materials is the extreme difficulty in commercializing prototypes due to the required technical sophistication. “Since smart materials are still an emerging market, supporting technologies to ease their use have yet to be developed. This has held the market back in recent years, as a number of smart-material-based prototypes have failed to take off commercially,” the author of the study stated.

However, even for market players that have successfully commercialized smart devices, the revenue is still dependent on high per-unit costs rather than high-volume sales. This is a significant restraint on the smart materials market at present, though the smooth growth in demand and expanding application range of smart materials is likely to bring the costs down in the coming years.

Rapid Growth of Asia Pacific Market Insufficient to Topple Dominance of North America, Europe

Geographically, North America is the leading revenue generator, with the regional market’s annual revenue expected to reach US$15 bn by the end of 2016 and further rise to US$24.2 bn by 2020. The market is expected to account for more than a third of the global market by 2020.

Meanwhile, Asia Pacific has become a key technological hub in the last few decades thanks to the steady development of countries such as China, India, and Japan. This is a key reason behind the market’s expected 15.3% CAGR from 2014 to 2020 – the highest of all regional segments of the global smart materials market. The annual revenue of the APAC market for smart materials is expected to reach more than US$16 bn by the end of 2020.

The information presented in this review is based on a Transparency Market Research report, titled, ‘Smart Materials Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014-2020.’

The global smart materials market is segmented as follows:

Smart Materials Market - Product Segment Analysis

  • Biomimetic materials
  • Piezo-electric materials
  • Thermally responsive materials
  • Others (including smart fluids, smart hydrogels etc.)

Smart Materials Market - Application Analysis

  • Actuators & motors
  • Sensors
  • Transducers
  • Structural materials
  • Others (including sports & leisure, energy harvesting devices, mechanical structures etc.)

Smart Materials Market - Regional Analysis

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • Rest of the World (RoW)

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