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Piezoelectric market to grow by 7.5 per cent

Posted: 20 Aug 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:piezoelectric crystal market  crystal units  filters  piezoelectric quartz crystals 

According to Innovative Research and Products (iRAP), the global piezoelectric crystal market hit Rs.20,572.06 crore ($4.8 billion) last year and will climb to Rs.29,615.20 crore ($6.91 billion) by 2012, for an annual average growth rate of 7.5 per cent.

The first commercially exploited piezoelectric material was the quartz crystal, which has a precisely defined natural frequency.

According to iRap, more than 450 manufacturers and suppliers participate in the market. Crystal units (resonators) and filters dominate the product mix and will do so throughout the forecast period, the firm predicts.

Demand drivers
The emergence of wireless communications and the increased need for wireline-based data transmissions have swelled demand for piezoelectric quartz crystals and crystal devices. Emerging industrial and consumer applications are steering the industry—once overly dependent on military demand—to a more balanced mix of apps.

Data transfer must be synchronised in high-bandwidth systems, a requirement that has boosted demand for timing products. Crystal devices provide the precise timing signals needed to ensure reliable data transfer at high speeds in applications ranging from notebook computers to network switches, the study observes.

Among the seven major market segments for piezoelectric crystal frequency control devices, telecommunications has the largest market share—as much as 30 per cent. It is followed by consumer applications including video games, A/V and amusement, computing, military and government; automotive, industrial; and medical.

The iRap study notes that in the 1980s, Japan was the world leader in mass-produced piezoelectric crystals and crystal devices. In the later part of the 1990s, however, the balance shifted, with China and South Korea taking over the low-end products. Japan still supplies the high end.

At present, Japan and South Korea are supplying quartz devices for microprocessor-based and extended-temperature products. China is supplying large quantities of low-end products for applications such as toys and games.

Major product groupings
Beyond piezoelectric crystals, the piezoelectric device sector is rather broad, with four major product groupings. The first group comprises resonators, acoustic devices, gas igniters, ultrasonic motors and actuators for auto-focusing feature in digital cameras. The second group includes transducers, sensors, accelerators, piezo transformers, Langevin actuators, piezo printing heads, diesel injectors etc. The third group consists of multi-layer bimorph actuators and piezo generators. The fourth product group is sonars for military and civilian use. The global market has grown across all four groups, with most growth taking place in the third group.

Global market sizes for piezoelectric devices by product type are compared.

Emerging applications include sensor arrays for structural health monitoring, transformers and micro-energy harvesting devices, high-resolution ultrasonic medical imaging, computer disc drives and accelerometers.

The global market of these devices has reached Rs.45,429.97 crore ($10.6 billion) and is expected to hit Rs.83,574.00 crore ($19.5 billion) by 2012, according to iRap. Piezoelectric generators will see the highest growth rate, estimated at 51.5 per cent annually, followed by ceramic resonators at 27.5 per cent. Ultrasonic motors will see 14.6 per cent growth over five years.

- Nicolas Mokhoff
EE Times

- Additional reporting by EE Times-Asia

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