Ultra-thin glass, as the name suggests, is a glass of very low thickness, ranging from micrometers to a few millimeters. Ultra-thin glass is thinner than a human hair. It is used in numerous applications such as a carrier for semiconductor processing, tablets, PCs, and CCTV camera devices, semiconductor processing for MEMS, CMOS image sensors, IR cut-off filters for mobile, advanced packaging and LEDs, flat panel digital x-ray detectors, electrochromatic windows and mirrors, substrates for active matrix flat panel displays, etc., in end-user industries such as electronics & semiconductors, automotive, biotech etc. Currently, ultra-thin glass is commonly used as a thin film transistor display or liquid crystal display,
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in the electronics industry, for devices such as computers, televisions, mobile phones, etc. It is also employed as a substrate in solar and automotive applications. Ultra-thin is widely utilized due to its properties such as uniform surface flatness, weather resistance, electrical insulation, thermal & chemical stability, flexibility, etc. Moreover, usage of ultra-thin glass provides the user with advantages such it can be employed for flexible & non-flat formats, supports low weight designs, adds an anti-reflection or electromagnetic interference shielding to the final product assembly, etc. Ultra-thin glass is also used in the building & construction industry. However, it is at a very preliminary stage, and its viability in the building and construction industry is being explored. Ultra-thin glass is obtained as a thin sheet from molten glass, which requires extremely precise temperature control. Float and fusion are the two processes that are widely employed for the production of ultra-thin glass.
In terms of process, the ultra-thin glass market can be segmented into float and fusion. The float process is majorly employed to manufacture commodity flat panel glass for architectural applications as well as for automotive windscreens. The fusion process produces a highly clean, fresh, and spotless glass, without any effect of the molten tin bath. Both processes are conducted by precise power and temperature control, thus providing a conducive environment to produce flawless molten glass. Currently, the market is dominated by the fusion process, and is anticipated to continue its dominance during the forecast period.
In terms of application, the market can be segmented into electronics, semiconductor, automotive, and biotech. The electronics segment can be further sub-segmented into opto-electronics, and consumer electronics. Ultra-thin glass is widely utilized for the manufacture of flat panel displays in electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, televisions, etc. The latest flat screen mobile phone displays with Gorilla Glass screens are made of ultra-thin glass. Currently, the market is dominated by the electronics industry and is anticipated to continue the same during the forecast period. The electronics segment is anticipated to expand at a significant growth rate during the forecast period.
Geographically, the global ultra-thin glass market is dominated by Asia Pacific, owing to the increasing demand for consumer electronics in the region. Rising standard of living and disposable income of people of developing countries such as China & India, due to rapid economic & industrial development, is driving the demand for consumer electronics. This, in turn, is boosting the ultra-thin glass market in the region. The ultra-thin glass market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at steady growth rate during the forecast period.
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Key players operating in the global ultra-thin glass market include SCHOTT, Corning, Central Glass, Asahi Glass, Nippon Electric Glass, CSG Holding, and Nippon Sheet Glass.
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