Global Shipment Volume of PI Films for FCCL to Attain 5,570 Tons
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the global market of electronics films employed for automotive decorations and display components, components or secondary materials of various types of displays and FPC (flexible printed circuits), and found out the trends by product segment and by market players, and future perspectives. This paper includes the information on global market size of PI films for FCCL, and the outlook of low-dielectric films for circuit boards.
Global market size of PI (polyimide) films for FCCL (flexible copper clad laminate) based on the shipment volume at manufacturers in 2020 is expected to attain 5,570 tons, 106.7% of that of the preceding year.
Although COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the downstream product market as a whole in the first half of 2020, the special demand for tablets and notebook laptops which use more FPC (flexible printed circuits) per terminal than smartphones, generated by increase of remote working, together with a series of new model releases by major smartphone manufacturers in the latter half of that year, led the market of PI films for FCCL to grow stably.
Aiming at 5G Support, Competition to Develop Low Dielectric Materials including PI, LCP, LCP, PPS Attracting Attention
Conventionally, it was mainly PI films that were often used as insulation films for FPC (flexible printed circuits,) TAB (Tape Automated Bonding,) or antennas, due to their mechanically, electrically and chemically superior characteristics even in ultra-low temperature (-269 degree Celsius) and super-high temperature (400 degree Celsius). For 5G circuit board material, however, PI films are difficult to be used in terms of dielectric loss tangent and water absorption rate. In the situation where many 5G related markets have been launched, manufacturers of integrated circuits have begun demanding for even more excellent materials especially in low moisture absorption and in electrical properties. They have started considering LCP (liquid crystal polymer) or fluorine for the material. There actually is a case where LCP has been adopted as the material for 5G smartphone antennas.
PI film manufacturers have strived to respond to such demand by modifying PI resins or by combining PI resins with other materials, which led them to generate MPI, modified PI, that suppress the moisture absorption rate as well as dielectric loss tangent to lower levels. In addition, pilot projects using new materials such as PPS (polyphenylene sulfide) and PEN (polyethylene naphthalate,) which can suppress dielectric loss tangent as well as the cost, have already been started, aiming at practical application to 5G materials.
PI/MPI (modified PI) and LCP have long been competed for being employed as low-dielectric film that supports 5G. FCCL manufacturers, on the user side of such films, have been increasingly demanding in prices in addition to the performance.
To respond to the demand for further cost reduction, the promotions of PPS (polyphenylene sulfide) films have begun, due to their soldering heat resistance achieved via polymer modification. PPS films have 0.002 dielectric loss tangents, the same level as LCP, while they also have similar price as MPI, making it price competitive a material for circuit boards that support millimeter waves. Furthermore, PPS films have gained heat resistance through polymer modification to prevent from deformation even at soldering temperature that is generally about 250 degrees Celsius. Also, orientation control of molecular chain within the film suppresses thermal expansion coefficient in thickness (i.e. z direction.) For these reasons, PPS films have become suggested as 5G circuit board film available for multi-layer lamination and minimization.
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