An electroactive polymer (EAP) refers to a polymer which exhibits various mechanical responses such as contracting, stretching and even bending, for example, in response to a mechanical stress and an electric field. EAP materials have a short response time, compactness, customizability (shape and performance characteristics), high energy density and easy controllability. It also leads to low power consumption, naturally stiff, high force output and deflections/amount of motion, possessed effective actuation and combined sensing functions.
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These properties are suitable to be used in various end-user industries such as semiconductors, electronics, automotive and medical. The major application of EAP is in actuators and sensors. Electroactive polymer technology has the potential to replace usual motion-generating mechanisms in valve control, pump and sensor and positioning applications where designers are looking for power efficient, quieter devices in order to swap traditional drive trains and electric motors. The electroactive polymer (EAP) is a distinctive material which comes with various advantages such as reasonable prices, easy manufacturing, high efficiency and soft in texture.
Growing demand for consumer electronic industry is majorly driving the market of the electroactive polymer in the forecast period
In the electronics sector, the major applications include antistatic and electrical discharge/electromagnetic interference protection. The electroactive polymers are majorly incorporated in actuators and sensors owing to their piezoelectric and conductive properties. Also, due to widespread application in actuators and sensors, electroactive polymers finds applications in consumer electronics industry. The demand for various consumer electronics is significantly high in countries such as Japan, India and China. These growing economies in Asia-Pacific along with the growing demand for consumer electronics would increase the demand for electroactive polymers.
The growing electronic industry across the world is anticipated to majorly drive the market of electroactive polymers as it is anticipated to increase the demand of EAP for making the electronic products. As per the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association, in 2016, it was estimated to increase 2% year on year, to $2,610 billion, and is expected to rise 3% year on year in 2017 to $2,680 billion. The electronic industry in Asia Pacific has shown a significant growth which is expected to positively impact the electroactive polymer growth in the forecast period.
For instance, as per the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, the consumer durable market accounts for $9.7 billion in 2015 which increased to $12.5 billion in 2016 and it is growing at a CAGR of 13% during financial year 2005 to 2020. India’s economic growth and high purchasing power leads to increase in consumer spending and it is projected to be $3.6 trillion by the year 2020. As per the India Brand Equity Foundation, consumer spending mostly occurs in housing, food, consumer durables, transport and communication industry and its share in global consumption is likely to grow at 5.8% by 2020. Similarly, the Japanese electronics industry is also growing at a significant pace. As per the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association, the production of electronics across the world by Japanese electronics and IT companies was anticipated to rise by 2% year on year in 2017 to $33.5 trillion, which declined by 9% year on year in 2016 to $33.0 trillion.
The major market players of the market are:
- AGFA-Gevaert (Belgium),
- Lubrizol Corporation (United States),
- E. I. DU Pont De Nemours and Company (United States),
- Parker Hannifin Corporation (United States),
- Kenner Material & System Co., Ltd. (Taiwan),
- Piezotech SA. (France) and others.
These companies use various strategies such as merger & acquisition, collaboration, partnership and product launch. Partnership is the key strategy adopted by the companies in the market. For example: In 2016, Solvay S.A (Belgium) acquired the Ryton PPS (Polyphenylene Sulphide) business from Chevron Phillips Chemical Limited (United States). Solvay has acquired the two manufacturing units of Ryton PPS resin in Texas, Borger. The strategic decision of acquisition leads to a more specialized solution provider.
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