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Flexible Glass Markets, 2014 and Beyond

Flexible glass as originally promoted seemed to be a miracle material; one that combined the virtues of glass and the virtues of plastic.  However, during 2013, flexible glass seems to have stumbled. Ambitious talk of millions of flexible mobile displays based on flexible glass substrates and cover glass have given way to more restrained projections in which initial uses for flexible glass are more niche-like; batteries, capacitors and sensors, for example. Corning’s recent announcement of shaped Gorilla Glass, seems a recognition that the cover glass requirements for next-generation displays may be more curved than flexible.

This report provides a market assessment and eight-year forecast of flexible glass, given the new business environment in which flexible glass providers find themselves.  The report examines (1) the traditional markets into which flexible glass was supposed to be sold and when they might become a reality and (2) the revenue potential for flexible glass in some of the newer applications for which it is now being proposed. 

In addition to the likely trends in applications, this report also discusses the product strategies of the leading glass companies offering flexible glass and also includes detailed eight-year forecasts of flexible glass with breakouts by applications.  The report is the third dedicated analysis from NanoMarkets and updates previously issued reports and forecasts.

Executive Summary    
E.1 Flexible Glass Loses its Shine    
E.1.1 Corning Deemphasizes “Willow”    
E.1.2 Other Strategies in the Flexible Glass Market    
E.2 Shifts in End Applications    
E.2.1 Apple Rumors Affect the Flexible Glass Market    
E.2.2 Heading Away from Displays: Emerging Applications for Flexible Glass    
E.2.3 When Will the Mainstream Cell Phone and Tablet Market Need Flexible Glass?    
E.3 Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts for Flexible Glass    

Chapter One: Introduction  
1.1 What’s New Since NanoMarkets' Previous Report on Flexible Glass?    
1.2 Objectives and Scope of this Report    
1.3 Methodology of this Report    
1.4 Plan of this Report  
Chapter Two:  Alternative Applications 
2.1 Displays No Longer Leading the Way    
2.1.1 Mobile Displays    
2.1.2 What’s Wrong with Flexible Glass    
2.1.3 The Future of Flexible Glass in the Display Sector    
2.2 Semiconductor Packaging – A Long Shot or a Good Idea?    
2.2.1 Interposers Today    
2.2.2 The Role of Glass in Interposers    
2.2.3 Groups Working with Thin Glass Interposers    
2.2.4 The Future of Thin Glass Interposers    
2.3 Smaller Glass: Batteries and Supercapacitors    
2.3.1 Target Markets for Flexible Glass    
2.3.2 What Good Is Flexible Glass in the Battery/Supercap Segment?    
2.3.3 The Future of Flexible Glass in the Battery/Supercap Segment    
2.4 Larger Glass: OLED Lighting and Solar Panels    
2.4.1 Prospects for Flexible Glass in OLED Lighting
2.4.2 Flexible Glass in PV:  Does It Stand A Chance?    
2.5 What Application Will be Just Right?    
2.6 Key Points from This Chapter  
Chapter Three:  Suppliers Adapt to the Changing Fortunes of Flexible Glass    
3.1 Challenges to the Adoption of Flexible Glass    
3.1.1 The High-Cost of Flexible Glass    
3.1.2 Flexible Glass:  Performance Today    
3.1.3 Manufacturing Infrastructure for Flexible Glass    
3.1.4 Materials Competition for Flexible Glass    
3.2 Corning Changes Its Tune    
3.2.1 History and Retreat    
3.2.2 Willow:  The Future    
3.3 Schott Looks to the Future    
3.3.1 Production Quantities Today    
3.3.2 Schott’s Thin Glass Applications Development    
3.3.3 Manufacturing Strategies for Thin Glass at Schott    
3.4 Asahi Glass Company (AGC) Takes a Different Approach    
3.4.1 Thin Glass Product Strategies at AGC    
3.4.2 Manufacturing and Applications Strategies:    
3.5 Nippon Electric Glass Focuses on Coatings    
3.5.1 NEG Flexible Glass Product Strategy    
3.5.2 Possible Applications for Ultrathin Glass    
3.6 Key Points from This Chapter 
Chapter Four:  Eight-Year Forecasts for Flexible Glass    
4.1 Forecasting Methodology    
4.1.1 Addressable Markets for Flexible Glass    
4.1.2 Penetration Rates for Flexible Glass    
4.1.3 Sources of Data    
4.1.4 Pricing Assumptions for Flexible Glass    
4.1.5 General Economic and Technology Assumptions    
4.1.6 Assumptions About Encapsulation    
4.2 Eight-Year Forecast of Flexible Glass In Displays    
4.2.1 Flexible Glass for Cell Phones    
4.2.2 Flexible Glass for Other Computer Displays–Including Tablets    
4.2.3 Flexible Glass for OLED versus LCD Displays    
4.3 Eight-Year Forecast of Flexible Glass In OLED Lighting    
4.4 Eight-Year Forecast of Flexible Glass In Solar Panels    
4.5 Eight-Year Forecast of Flexible Glass In Batteries and Capacitors    
4.6 Eight-Year Forecast of Flexible Glass In Semiconductor Interposers    
4.7 Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Flexible Glass    
Acronyms and Abbreviations Used In this Report    
About the Authors 
List of Exhibits

Exhibit E-1: Potential Value of Flexible Glass in Cell Phones and Tablets    
Exhibit E-2: Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Flexible Glass ($Millions)    
Exhibit 2-1: Comparison of Silicon and Glass as Interposers    
Exhibit 2-2: Moisture Sensitivity of Various PV Technologies    
Exhibit 2-3: Analysis of Market Opportunities for Flexible Glass    
Exhibit 4-1: Market for Flexible Glass in Cell Phones:  2014-2021    
Exhibit 4-2: Market for Flexible Glass in Computer Displays:  2014-2021 (Tablets, Laptops, Notebooks, Monitors)    
Exhibit 4-3: Market for Flexible Glass in Displays:  Summary ($ Millions)    
Exhibit 4-4: Market for Flexible Glass in OLED Lighting: 2014-2021    
Exhibit 4-5: Market for Flexible Glass in PV: 2014-2021    
Exhibit 4-6: Market for Flexible Glass for Battery and Capacitor Applications: 2014-2021    
Exhibit 4-7: Market for Flexible Glass as Interposers: 2014-2021
Exhibit 4-8: Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Flexible Glass ($Millions)

New NanoMarkets Report Predicts Flexible Glass Market to Reach $348 Million by 2019

Glen Allen, VA:  NanoMarkets today announced the release of its report titled “Flexible Glass Markets, 2014 and Beyond.”  NanoMarkets believes that despite recent setbacks for flexible glass in the display market, this interesting material still has the potential to reach revenues of $348 million (USD) in 2019. Although glass makers are currently “desperately seeking” new applications for flexible glass, just two product categories – computer/tablet displays and solar panels – will account for more than 80 percent of the market for flexible glass in 2019.
Additional details about the report are available at:
About the Report:
In this report NanoMarkets identifies the future opportunities in the flexible glass sector.  The report contains detailed, eight-year forecasts, in both area (millions of square meters) and value ($US millions) terms for flexible glass used for cover glass, encapsulation and substrates in several applications including: LCDs, OLED displays, OLED lighting, e-paper displays, photovoltaic panels, 2.5D chip interposers, and batteries/capacitors.
In addition, this report profiles and analyzes the product development and marketing strategies of the major players in flexible glass sector; Corning, Nippon Electric Glass (NEG), Schott and Asahi Glass Company (AGC).  The report also contains discussions of prototypes of various devices and systems that have already built and which flexible glass in some way.
From the Report:
The newly resurgent solar panel industry offers large addressable markets for flexible glass since this industry inherently consumes a considerable amount of both substrate and encapsulation material.  In this market, flexible glass can potentially compete strongly both on its strong barrier properties and because its flexibility and low weight are well suited to BIPV installations.  There have already been CdTe and DSC demonstrators built using flexible glass and some consider flexible glass to be a perfect cover for CdTe solar shingles.  As a result, NanoMarkets expects flexible glass to generate over $150 million in sales to the solar panel sector in 2019. 
NanoMarkets also expects that flexible glass will reenter the display market in a few years as a more durable – and possibly lower cost – material.  It will be marketed against plastic substrates and covers based on better encapsulation and the fact that it is relatively scratch proof. The likelihood is that much of the revenues for flexible glass in the display sector will come from LCD-based tablets, laptop and notebooks.  NanoMarkets expects such revenues to reach almost $125 million by 2019.  By contrast cell phone use of flexible glass is expected to reach only $40 million in 2019.
NanoMarkets remains skeptical of some of the newer applications that have recently been invented up for flexible glass, which are often technically interesting, but highly speculative.  These include substrates for thin-film batteries and high-performance capacitors/supercapacitors and interposers for 2.5 D semiconductor chips.  However, these technologies – like flexible glass itself-- are immature and for now represent small and uncertain addressable markets for flexible glass.  As a result, in both cases, it will take quite a few years for flexible glass to establish itself as a viable material.  NanoMarkets does not believe such new applications will be significant revenue generators for flexible glass in the next eight years.
About NanoMarkets:
NanoMarkets tracks and analyzes emerging market opportunities in solid-state lighting, energy, electronics and other markets created by developments in advanced materials. The firm is a recognized leader in industry analysis and forecasts of display materials and solar panel materials such as flexible glass.
Visit for a full listing of NanoMarkets' reports and other services.
Robert Nolan
NanoMarkets LC
(804) 938-0030

posted Mar 17, 2014

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