NanoMarkets Report Projects Rapid Rise in Demand for Flexible Substrates in the Coming Decade

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In its new report titled, Flexible Substrate Markets 2012, NanoMarkets projects that the total market for flexible substrates will grow to $1.2 billion by 2017.

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Industry analyst firm NanoMarkets is announcing the release of its latest report on flexible substrates that estimates that the total market for flexible substrates will grow to $1.2 billion by 2017. Demand for these materials is being driven by a wave of interest of adding flexibility in displays, solar panels, sensors as a way to expand markets in difficult times. Additional details about the report, Flexible Substrates Markets – 2012 are available at

This report is the latest in the firm’s ongoing coverage of flexible electronics and photovoltaics markets. It analyzes the opportunities for flexible substrates in a wide range of applications including displays, photovoltaics, sensors, and in a variety of roll-to-roll fabrication applications. Materials discussed in this report include metal sheets and foils, polyimide and PET, flexible glass, textiles and paper.

The report also discusses the strategies of some of the leading suppliers and users of these materials including include Ascent Solar, Corning, Dow Chemical, DuPont, DuPont Teijin, Dyesol, Kaneka, Nokia, Pilkington Glass, Samsung Schott and Tata Steel. It also includes detailed forecasts for the flexible plastic, metal and glass substrate materials in both volume and value terms, with breakouts by application, by material type, and by printing method.

From the report:

Despite the considerable hype about flexible displays, much larger revenues for flexible substrate makers will come from the building-integrated PV (BIPV) sector. Substrates for flexible solar panels will account for $536 million in 2017. BIPV introduces a new architectural aesthetic and enables the costs of PV to be shared with the building fabric costs; flexible substrates will be a key enabling technology for these trends. Flexible solar panels will also be easier to transport and install.

The earliest flexible substrates revenues will come from roll-to-roll (R2R) fabrication. R2R promises low-cost displays, lighting, RFID, etc. But there are still major challenges to be overcome in R2R since such processes often produce lower performance devices. NanoMarkets believes that these problems will be resolved and the market for R2R flexible substrates will then explode.

Meanwhile, the materials used for flexible substrates will change. The report predicts a major trend towards low-cost polymer substrates such as PET, as dramatic reductions in processing temperatures occur. This will also require more use of organic semiconductors. In addition, NanoMarkets sees flexible glass becoming a substantial market, if this material can support the same process technologies used for rigid glass displays. There will also be niche market for such novel flexible substrates as paper and textiles.

Nonetheless, it is expected that the flexible substrates that are used to today will continue to take a significant share of the market. Metal substrates are already in widespread use (notably in the PV industry). Where strong, inert, cheap substrates are desired, stainless steel will remain a popular choice. Polyimide films are most likely to succeed in the long run where processing conditions are gentlest; printed PV would be an example here

About NanoMarkets:

NanoMarkets tracks and analyzes emerging market opportunities in energy, electronics and other markets created by developments in advanced materials. The firm is a recognized leader in industry analysis and forecasts for display and solar panel materials and has been covering these markets for more than five years.

Visit for a full listing of NanoMarkets' reports and other services.

Robert Nolan
NanoMarkets LC
(804) 270-4370


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