Thermal Interface Materials: Technologies, Applications and Global Markets
Wellesley, Mass. – BCC Research estimates that the global market for thermal interfacematerials (TIMs) was worth nearly $426 million in 2011 and $458 million in 2012. Themarket is expected to grow to $762 million in 2017 at a compound annual growth rate(CAGR) of 10.7% between 2012 and 2017.Computers made up the largest end-use segment for thermal interface materials in 2011, withglobal sales of $145.4 million. Medical and office equipment composed the second-largestsegment, followed by industrial and military equipment ,and telecommunications.Computers and especially medical and office equipment should gain market share over thenext five years, whereas telecoms and industrial and military equipment are expected to seedecreases in their shares.The Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) is the largest and fastest-growing TIM market,earning more than $251 million in 2011 and establishing a CAGR of 12.3% between 2012and 2017. The 2011 U.S., EU, and Japanese markets were roughly similar in size, and havecomparable projected annual growth rates (in the 7.5%-8.3% range) over the next five years.The non-Japanese Asia-Pacific markets should increase their shares from 59% in 2011 to63% in 2017. North America, the EU, and Japan are all expected to lose market shares.Manufacturers of high-performance and higher-frequency microprocessors are situated in thisend market. Increasing commoditization of high-performance microprocessors hasreportedly exerted a certain amount of downward pressure on thermal management revenues.BCC Research believes that, in the near to mid-term, this trend will be offset by the tendencyamong even low-cost PC manufacturers to incorporate more video, graphics, andcommunication functions into their products, boosting their thermal managementrequirements.The proliferation of low-power, battery-operated, handheld, mobile and portable platforms islikely to reduce manufacturers’ requirements for thermal management products.Manufacturers are looking at the portable platform differently, designing processing power tomanage more features such as music playing, voice input, and Internet connectivity, rather than run Microsoft Windows spreadsheets. The focus of thermal management in these platforms is in the design at the chip level, where inexpensive electronic packages and performance-enhancing substrates are developed with the processor or the system-on-a-chip(SoC).Power dissipation has been the major driver of thermal management technology, but someenvironmental and regulatory issues may have peripheral impacts on the thermalmanagement market. Until recently, there had been a seemingly inexorable trend towardchips with ever-larger numbers of gates on the silicon and ever-faster clock speeds, resultingin higher power dissipation. A portion of this power is dissipated as heat. The trend towardgreater power dissipation thus drove the development of thermal management devices andstrategies, as engineers sought to remove enough heat from their devices to ensure that circuitcomponents stayed below the levels needed to maintain system performance and reliability.