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In-Mold Electronics: Material Development Opportunities

09 July 2020: In-Mold Electronics (IME) is a process that combines printed electronics with 3D forming and molding to create 3D objects with embedded electronics. The electronics can include interconnects, sensors, rigid IC or LEDs, optical waveguides, and so on.

The team at IDTechEx Research has been researching the market developments around In-Mold Electronics. The results of this research are captured in this comprehensive market report “In-Mold Electronics 2020-2030: Technology, Market Forecasts, Players”. The IDTechEx market forecasts are also shown below, suggesting that we expect an inflection point around 2023 and that the market can reasonably be expected to reach $700M by 2027 from only a few million today. To get there, the market will grow in small steps, starting with small-volume items before graduating to larger-volume products with challenging reliability requirements.

This technology is not very young. It has a developing history older than nearly a decade. One reason it has taken this long to reach significant commercial success is that its production demands a steep learning curve. The process flow is shown below. One can see that many challenges are involved in taking a flat sheet, printing multiple layers on it, mounting rigid ICs, 3D forming it, and then over molding it. To understand the challenge please see a previous article published by IDTechEx – “In-Mold Electronics: challenges in every step?”.

Importantly, many material innovations and developments have been necessary to enable In-Mold Electronics. In this article, we outline some key developments and trends, seeking to show how the required materials have evolved and to highlight interesting innovation opportunities.

This report offers a detailed assessment of the materials, processes, products and prototypes, applications and markets for IME and multiple rival technologies such as molded interconnect devices (MID) or aerosol deposition. Furthermore, this report provides application-segmented ten-year market forecasts and overviews of the key companies across this emerging value chain. /

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