Transparent Ceramics Market: Sapphire to Remain Popular in Electrical and Electronic Applications

Transparent ceramics present significant advantages in terms of practicality, exceptional hardness, resistance to heat, functionality, and economics in diverse fields such as optics, electronics, laser technology, and communication. The applicability of transparent ceramics is profound in areas where a high degree of transparent media is required. This is evident in electrical and electronics, such as lamps, bulbs, reflectors, and plasma, where transparent ceramics are being widely used. This has bolstered the demand for transparent ceramics in consumer electronics, which accounts for ~80% of the revenue share of the market, and as such, the global market for transparent ceramics is expected to witness staggering growth in the coming years.

Hublot, an iconic Swiss watch brand, has pioneered trend-setting innovations with the use of sapphire as a transparent ceramics material. This has helped it engineer a new era of watchmaking technology. In Jan 2019, it gave its watches a sunny, yellow hue, by fusing copper with aluminum oxide. Such path-breaking innovations have allowed sapphire as a transparent ceramic to covet the global spotlight, and it continues to be a rapidly-growing sector of the transparent ceramics market, said to capture a market share of more than 50% by the year 2027.

transparent ceramics market infographic

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Transparent Ceramics Sales Gain Traction in Defense Applications through Superior Ballistic Protection

Transparent ceramics are widely used in defense components and the security industry. Their resistance to heat and stiffness, and extreme durability, make them ideal for usage in helicopter windows, optical domes, and transparent armors. Transparent ceramics will continue their dominance in the defense sector during the forecast period, due to their environmental durability and blast protection qualities.

There has been a growing requirement for transparent armor for personnel protection as well as infrared windows for reconnaissance. Transparent ceramic armor provides high-end and superior ballistic protection over erstwhile glass laminates, which is likely to influence the development of innovative transparent ceramics that can be used in applications in the defense industry.

For instance, ALON, or aluminum oxynitride, is a transparent ceramic material made up of aluminum, oxygen, and nitrogen. By applying pressure and heat, it can be transformed from a powder to a large window. ALON’s use as a transparent armor is being seen on U.S. Army Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters. Its excellent impact-resistance will fuel the growth of transparent ceramics in aerospace and defense industries.

Winning Imperatives: New-age Laser Ceramics to Fuel Growth

Transparent polycrystalline ceramics have played a huge role in various laser applications. For optical technologies to propel ahead, it is vital that the current limitations with traditional transparent ceramics are overcome successfully. New-age ceramics with superior magneto-optic properties, illumination, and infrared lasing need to be pursued to bolster the demand for transparent ceramics.

A new type of laser ceramic material is the Nd-doped fluorapatite (Nd:FAP), which has a hexagonal crystal structure that allows high-powered laser fusion. FAP has lots of potential for laser fusion, due to its ability to increase in size, and its composite features and uniformity. It can also be used as a biomaterial for osteogenic applications. This will lead to significant growth and development of the transparent ceramics market in the optical field.

Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (YAG) is one of the most sought-after laser transparent ceramic material. It is used for varied end-use applications such as scintillation, cathode ray tubes, electro-luminescence, and efficient laser applications. Its low creep rate, low electrical conductivity, and high melting temperature makes it an ideal transparent ceramic material for myriad structural applications. This will fuel the growth of YAG in the transparent ceramics market. With a CAGR of ~20% over the forecast period, the sales of this material are likely to reach a valuation of ~US$ 300 million by the year 2027.

transparent ceramics market segmentation

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Players at the Forefront of Acquisitions Will Dominate Market Landscape

The competition landscape for the transparent ceramics market shows a fair amount of consolidation, as there are a limited number of key players in this market space. Leading market players are thriving due to their active involvement in acquisitions, research & development, and focus on newer technologies. Leading players, due to their product penetration strategies, hold ~40% of the global market share for transparent ceramics.

II-VI Optical Systems and Ceram Tec have resolutely established their stronghold in the market, owing to their acquisition strategies, specialized product portfolios, and use of transparent ceramic products in fast-growing sectors such as optics and optoelectronics.

CeramTec is one of the leading suppliers of high-performance ceramics that are high on mechanical, electrical, thermal, and biochemical properties. For instance, at Aluminum 2018, a world trade fair for the aluminum industry, CeramTec presented ceramic components for pyrometric applications. These are especially suited for challenging applications in foundry engineering.

II-VI Optical Systems is all set to acquire photonic component maker Finisar, this year. Once the company completes this acquisition, it will see a massive jump in its revenue and personnel, which will aid its expansion in the global market.

3M is an emerging key player in the competitive landscape of transparent ceramics. It is a technology company serving diversified end users. In 2018, it alone captured 7% of the market. In May 2019, 3M acquired Acelity Inc. – a provider for advanced wound care technologies and myriad surgical applications – for a total value of ~US$ 7 billion. The acquisition will enable 3M to expand and grow in the field of medicine and wound care. It will bolster 3M’s medical solutions business, and enable it to diversify its transparent ceramics product portfolio in advanced medical applications.

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Analysts’ Viewpoint

Analysts of the transparent ceramics market report anticipate a steady rise in the growth of the market in terms of revenue and market share of emerging & key market players. The transparent ceramics market is estimated to continuously gain momentum in the Asia Pacific region, and continue to dominate this region in the coming decade. The use of sapphire and advanced ceramic materials in various end-use industries, such as electronics and optics, is fuelling the demand for industry-specific transparent ceramics.

However, stakeholders must tackle the problem of rising costs of raw materials that are restricting the growth of the transparent ceramics market. Key focus should be on advanced technological solutions, to improve production efficiency by increasing research & development efforts, and well-timed acquisitions to expand into regional markets and bolster growth.

Global Transparent Ceramics Market: Description

  • Transparent ceramics are used as optically transparent materials in different forms. They are derived from silica-based glass through crystallization. Transparent ceramics are widely used as substitutes for the conventional glass.
  • The global transparent ceramics market is expected to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period, due to increase in the use of these ceramics in different sectors, particularly optoelectronics, sensors & instrumentation, and energy; healthy growth of certain industry verticals, such as LED lighting and solar cells, wherein, transparent ceramics are being introduced; the availability of advanced raw materials and processing methods that facilitate the manufacture of products with improved properties; and rise in research and development activities.

Key Growth Drivers of Global Transparent Ceramics Market

  • The demand for electric and electronic equipment is expected to increase at a significant pace in the next few years, due to the rise in the demand for smartphones, laptops, tablets, and portable electric appliances. The use of transparent ceramics has been increasing in the electronics industry over the last few years, due to their excellent transparency that facilitates their use in light-emitting diodes (LEDs), indicators, lamps, bulbs, reflectors, light guides, LCDs, OLEDs, plasma displays, and opto-couplers. The demand for transparent ceramics in the consumer electronics industry is anticipated to rise steadily during the forecast period.
  • Transparent ceramics are used in infrared radiation sensors, humidity sensors, thermal sensors, and various optical and laser instrumentation systems in the field of sensors & instrumentation. Recently, transparent ceramics were used for electromagnetic waves transparency. Transparent ceramics are employed in sensor and laser applications to transmit light in defense laser systems, without any obstruction.

Major Challenges for Global Transparent Ceramics Market

  • The global transparent ceramics market faces certain challenges such as sluggish adoption of transparent ceramics in new applications. Furthermore, recyclability and reparability issues related to transparent ceramics are estimated to hamper the market in the near future. These materials are costlier than metals and alloys. This factor is also anticipated to adversely affect the global transparent ceramics market during the forecast period.
  • The high cost of transparent ceramics is likely to restrain the market in the near future. Furthermore, the high prices of raw materials increase the cost of these ceramics, thereby raising the prices of end products. Thus, end-use industries are forced to search for low-cost substitutes for these raw materials.

Lucrative Opportunities for Global Transparent Ceramics Market

  • The global transparent ceramics market is driven by factors such as rise in the demand for these ceramics in various applications, increase in the usage of transparent ceramics as alternatives for metals and plastics, and eco-friendliness and reliability of these ceramics.
  • Transparent ceramics are widely used in aerospace components such as advanced optical domes, conformal optical domes, and advanced antennas, as they offer high strength, stiffness, and resistance to chemicals and heat.

Asia Pacific to Dominate Global Transparent Ceramics Market

  • Asia Pacific dominated the global transparent ceramics market in 2018. The region is expected to remain a highly lucrative market for transparent ceramics during the forecast period, due to rapid industrialization and rise in the demand for transparent ceramics in electronics and aerospace industries in the region.
  • China is a key country of the transparent ceramics market in Asia Pacific, owing to the growth of industries such as electronics and energy in the country. China is a major hub for electronic products that employ transparent ceramics due to the superior properties of these ceramics over metals and alloys.
  • The Government in China supports advances in the country's technological production capabilities. China’s National Development & Reform Commission is in process of supervising a multi-trillion-dollar nationwide project to industrialize the underdeveloped western provinces of the country. This project would support the continuation of high growth rates of automotive and electronics industries in the country. This, in turn, is projected to drive the transparent ceramics market in China during the forecast period.

North America Offers Growth Opportunities to Transparent Ceramics Market

  • The transparent ceramics market in North America is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 20.72% during the forecast period, due to technological advancements and rapid industrialization in the region. The market in the region is anticipated to expand at a considerable pace during the forecast period, due to the sluggish growth of industries after the recession and increase in consumer spending in the region, especially in the U.S.
  • The U.S. is anticipated to be a highly attractive market for transparent ceramics in North America during the forecast period. The aerospace and energy sectors in the U.S. are projected to expand in the next few years. The demand for transparent ceramics in the U.S. is projected to rise in the near future, owing to the innovation of new products by key manufacturers of transparent ceramics in the country.

Optics & Optoelectronics to Account for a Prominent Share

  • The optics & optoelectronics segment accounted for a prominent share of the global transparent ceramics market in 2018. The segment is anticipated to continue its dominance throughout the forecast period, due to the high demand for optics products, such as spinel lenses and windows for use in electronics applications.
  • Transparent ceramics are widely used in the optics & optoelectronics industry, due to their excellent properties such as high ultraviolet and infrared optical characteristics.
  • Optic and optoelectronic products manufactured from transparent ceramics include lamps, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) batteries, image sensors, laser pickups, charge-coupled devices (CCDs), displays, couplers, and infrared and laser transmitters.

Leading Players Actively Engage in Mergers & Acquisitions and R&D Activities

  • Key players operating in the global transparent ceramics market are
    • 3M, CeramTec
    • II-VI Optical Systems
    • Kyocera Corporation
    • Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials
    • SCHOTT AG 
    • Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd
    • Surmet Corporation
    • Rauschert GmbH
    • McDanel Advanced Ceramic Technologie
    • CoorsTek Inc.
    • CeraNova. 
  • These companies are engaged in expansions, mergers & acquisitions, and joint ventures in order maintain their share in the global transparent ceramics market.
  • In August 2017, II-VI Optical Systems acquired Kaiam Laser Limited, Inc., a privately-held company based in Newton Aycliffe, the U.K. The latter currently operates as II-VI Compound Semiconductor Ltd. within the former’s II-VI Laser Solutions operating segment.

Transparent Ceramics Market - Scope of the Report

[187 Pages Report] Transparency Market Research (TMR) recently published a market study on the global market for transparent ceramics. The study provides detailed assessment on the key market dynamics, including the drivers, trends, opportunities restraints, and detailed information about the transparent ceramics market structure. The market study presents exclusive information about how the transparent ceramics market will grow during the forecast period of 2019-2027.

Key indicators of market growth, which include Year-on-Year (Y-o-Y) growth of the market, value chain, supply chain analysis, and Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) are explained in TMR’s study in a comprehensive manner. This information can help readers understand the quantitative growth prospects of the transparent ceramics market during the forecast period.

The study is relevant for stakeholders in the transparent ceramics market, including transparent ceramic manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and investors, and can help them in developing appropriate strategies to grow in the market. Stakeholders in the transparent ceramics market, investors, industry experts, researchers, and journalists, as well as business researchers can leverage the information and data presented in TMR’s study.

The study also includes statistics as well as facts related to the macro as well as microeconomic factors that are impacting developments in the market. It also offers actionable insights based on the future trends in the transparent ceramics market. Furthermore, small businesses and new entrants in the transparent ceramics market too can make use of the information presented in this study, based on which, they can make appropriate business decisions in order to gain momentum in the transparent ceramics market.

Key Questions Answered in TMR’s Transparent Ceramics Market Report

  • Which regions will continue to remain the most profitable regional markets for transparent ceramics market players?
  • Which factors will induce a change in the demand for transparent ceramics during the assessment period?
  • How will changing trends impact the transparent ceramics market?
  • How can market players capture the low-hanging opportunities in the transparent ceramics market in developed regions?
  • Which companies are leading the transparent ceramics market?
  • What are the winning strategies of stakeholders in the transparent ceramics market to upscale their position in this landscape?

Transparent Ceramics Market: Research Methodology

In TMR’s study, a unique research methodology is utilized to conduct extensive research on the growth of the transparent ceramics market, and reach conclusions on the future growth parameters of the market. This research methodology is a combination of primary and secondary research, which helps analysts ensure accuracy and reliability of the conclusions.

Secondary resources referred to by analysts during the production of the transparent ceramics market study include statistics from governmental organizations, trade journals, white papers, and internal and external proprietary databases. Analysts have interviewed senior managers, product portfolio managers, CEOs, VPs, marketing/product managers, and market intelligence managers, who contributed to the development of this report as a primary resource.

Comprehensive information acquired from primary resources and secondary resources acts as a validation from companies in the transparent ceramics market, and makes TMR’s projection on the growth prospects of the transparent ceramics market more accurate and reliable.

Key Segments of the Transparent Ceramics Market

TMR’s study on the transparent ceramics market offers information divided into three important segments-material, application, and region. This report offers comprehensive data and information about the important market dynamics and growth parameters associated with these categories.

Material

Sapphire

Yttrium Aluminium Garnet

Aluminium Oxynitride

Spinel

Others (including Yttria, Zirconia, Barium Oxide, and Perovskites )

Application

Optics and Optoelectronics

Aerospace, Defence, and Security

Sensors and Instrumentation

Others (including Healthcare, Consumer Goods, and Energy)

Region

North America

Europe

Asia Pacific

Middle East and Africa

Latin America

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Transparent Ceramics Market

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