Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP) are aromatic polyesters by composition that exist in liquid crystal state. They exhibit a partially crystalline structure and their molecules are largely aligned. They have remarkable physical properties and chemical inertness by the virtue of which are capable of replacing metals, ceramics and several other engineering plastics in high-end applications. LCPs finds use in electronic components like printed circuit boards and surface mounted devices to name a few. Electrical & Electronics and Consumer Electronics are so far the largest consumers of LCP and will continue being the major consumers in the long term forecast. Other applications for LCPs include: Automotives (power trains of hybrid cars), Industrial, Medical and other applications like Aerospace and Bakeware.
Global Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP) Demand Analysis (Kilo Tons)(2015 - 2030)
LCPs were first commercialized in 1980 s. Currently, the major players into manufacturing of neat LCP resins are: Polyplastics, Ticona, Toray, Solvay, Sumitomo and Ueno. Polyplastics is identified to be the largest producer with a manufacturing facility in Fuji, Japan. LCP resins manufacturing facilities are largely restricted to Japan, China and USA. The global demand is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.0 - 5.2% in the next 5-6 years.
Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP) Application - 2020( Kilo Tons)
In 2019, Asia-Pacific was estimated to be the largest consumer of LCPs accounting for over 75% of the global demand. China accounted for the major demand with strong demand from its electrical & electronics industry. Other Asian countries including Taiwan, Japan, India, Singapore and South Korea account for a decent share of global demand.
Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP) Regional Demand (Sample)
The demand of Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP) is driven by development of electrical & electronics infrastructure requirements. Miniaturization of electronic parts owing to the need of ultra-thin components and lead free soldering techniques are the major growth driving factor for LCPs in the electronics industry. Upsurge in LCP demand especially from Automotive Electrification, Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G are supporting the demand growth of Liquid Crystal Polymers. Global LCP manufacturers are expanding their manufacturing capabilities to cater the growing demand from Electrical & Electronics industry.
In January 2021, Celanese Corporation announced a new greenfield Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP) manufacturing facility to cater the fast growing LCP demand in China. The first phase of the project is anticipated to be completed by 2024 with installed capacity of 20 kilo tons/year.
Furthermore, Polyplastics Co., Ltd has also committed to construct a new Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP) polymerization unit at its facility in Kaohsiung, Taiwan with production capacity of 5 kilo tons/year, making it an integrated LCP compounds manufacturing facility. The new capacity is expected to start commercial operations by H1-2024. The company also plans to double the polymerization capacity in the long term forecast, taking the overall capacity of Polyplastics Group to 25 kilo tons per annum.
Sumitomo Chemicals has announced capacity additions in Japan where the company plans to add 30% new capacity. The company has two LCP resin manufacturing facilities, one at Ehime Plant and the other one in Osaka. Operations are expected to start by Q3-2023 which would take the company’s global LCP polymer capacity to around 11,500 tons as per Prismane Consulting’s LCP resin capacity database.
Growing population, increasing disposable income, and per capita consumption of plastics are some of the key factors supporting the growth in demand of plastics in the electronics industry. Its high prices compared to other commodity plastics put it to some disadvantage. However, its outstanding properties outweigh this and the market for LCP is likely to expand over the years.
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