The Total Addressable Market (TAM) for LTCC and HTCC was valued at USD 2.9 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 3.85 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 3.2% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Co-fired ceramic devices are monolithic microelectronic devices in which any conductive, dielectric, and resistive materials are fired in a kiln along with the ceramic support structure. Examples of everyday devices include capacitors, resistors, inductors, transformers, and hybrid circuits. Cofired ceramic devices are also used for multi-layer packaging in the electronics sector, including for RF applications, MEMS, microprocessors, and military electronics.
Co-firing applications can be categorized into low-temperature (LTCC) and high-temperature (HTCC). The sintering temperature in LTCC is less than 900°C, which makes it possible to co-fire highly conductive materials (silver, copper, and gold). The sintering temperature for HTCC is higher, at roughly 1,600°C. HTCC components typically consist of layers of zirconia or alumina metalized with platinum, tungsten, and molybdenum. Passive components like resistors, capacitors, and inductors can be embedded into the ceramic package using LTCC, reducing the finished module’s size. High-performance processors frequently use HTCC because of its advantages, which include mechanical rigidity, higher resistance conductive layers, and thermal dissipation capability.
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Growing Interest in Automotive Electronics
The automotive sector currently holds the largest market share for LTCC and HTCC, and it is anticipated that it will continue to hold this position throughout the forecast period. The increasing use of electronic devices and sensors in automobiles is anticipated to open new opportunities for market expansion over the forecast period. For instance, HTCC technology can be used for next-generation automotive components like the packaging of LED headlights, LD headlights, and DCB circuit substrates. LTCC also offers superior performance in advanced automotive sensing. Electronic devices are used in confined car areas, frequently subjected to high stress and temperature. With LTCC, a multilayer ceramic system as a substrate, passive elements are packaged, interconnected, and embedded into a single structure using a cubic configuration. Engine and gearbox management contain it. LTCC adheres to mechanical and environmental protection standards while addressing the packaging need for high-bandwidth and high-speed networks.
Additionally, market players in the automotive industry are concentrating their investments in the same direction as the fast-moving transition to software-defined vehicles and EVs. For instance, Lumax Auto Technologies announced plans in January 2021 to concentrate all resources and investments on the electronics division to transition to electric vehicles. Additionally, LG's Vehicle Component Solutions (VS) division declared its intention to spend KRW 613.8 billion (roughly USD 0.52 billion) 2021 in March 2021. These investments in automotive electronics are anticipated to help the market for LTCC and HTCC grow over the forecast period.
Increased Use of Wireless Communication
Wireless communication transmits information over short and long distances without wires, cables, or any other electrical conductor. Wireless communication technology has expanded due to its benefits, which include affordability, adaptability, convenience, speed, accessibility, and constant connectivity. For wireless communication, radio, microwaves, and millimeter waves are used. For applications in microwave and millimeter wave frequency bands, such as Bluetooth modules, mobile phone front ends, and WLAN, LTCC technology is becoming more and more prevalent. LTCC is preferred in wireless communication because it has benefits like a high dielectric constant, low dielectric loss, high thermal conductivity, and a low thermal expansion coefficient.
Additionally, in September 2021, Fengate Asset Management purchased 42 excellent wireless communications towers from Municipal Communications II of Atlanta, which were situated in seven states throughout the Southeast and Midwest of the United States. The multi-year partnership between Fengate Asset Management and TowerCom LLC, established in September 2020, served as the foundation for this acquisition. Such wireless technology initiatives point to its advancement, which is anticipated to support the market's expansion over the forecast period.
Drawbacks of LTCC and HTCC
Despite having broad application scopes, LTCC and HTCC have some drawbacks that limit their penetration to some extent. Due to their superior qualities, ceramic-based printed circuit boards (PCBs) are widely used in power electronics, microelectronics, packaging, and multi-chip modules. The most popular manufacturing techniques for producing ceramic PCBs are DBC, DPC, LTCC, and HTCC. The LTCC has the fewest drawbacks out of all of them. They are used in accordance with the applications and limitations of the technologies. For instance, HTCC's manufacturing cost is increased by the ultra-high temperature required for sintering.
However, despite having a low-temperature requirement for LTCC, the finished ceramic PCB has a low tolerance for the board, circuit size, and strength. Once fired in all three dimensions, the ceramic in LTCC's basic design shrinks. The size of the boards that can be processed is consequently limited. The processing of boards with cavities is more complex, and additional restrictions are placed on embedded passive components. The modules also need heat dissipation, and a heat spreader must be attached after firing.
Growing Investments in 5G Operations
As telecom operators make significant investments in 5G communication, LTCC is expected to observe new market opportunities. To create LTCC filters and related products that can be used in 5G communication, numerous technological companies have invested in research, new materials, testing capabilities, simulation, and manufacturing processes.
A communication technology called 5G allows for numerous instant connections and high-speed, low-latency, large-capacity communication. High frequencies, or millimeter waves, are between 28 and 40 GHz in 5G communication. Devices and parts that process signals (like filters and circuit boards) use a variety of LTCC substrates. More incredible loss tangents and high frequencies may result in higher signal attenuation for these devices and components. Therefore, minimizing signal attenuation and reducing signal loss is crucial to achieving effective and improved high-frequency communication. This is possible with LTCC substrates made from components with low-loss tangents.
The global LTCC and HTCC markets are segmented by product and applications.
Based on the product, the global market is bifurcated into LTCC and HTCC.
The LTCC segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.9% during the forecast period. LTCC is a multi-layer glass-ceramic substrate that uses low-resistance metal conductors and is co-fired at a temperature lower than 900°C. It offers several benefits, including high conductivity, excellent high-frequency performance temperature, low permittivity tolerance, a low dielectric constant, a low coefficient of thermal expansion, and low production costs. In order to lower the sintering temperature in LTCC, glass-based media materials are incorporated into the ceramic paste.
Compared to HTCC, the substrates' low thermal conductivity and reduced mechanical strength are caused by the addition of glass-based materials. The conductive metals used in LTCC are copper, palladium-silver, gold, and silver. Amorphous glass-based materials, glass and ceramic composite materials, and microcrystalline glass-based materials are some of the substrate media materials used in LTCC. Microwave and radio-frequency applications, automotive electronics, aerospace, high-frequency wireless communication, and components like sensors, drivers, and memory devices all use LTCC.
Aluminum oxide, mullite, and aluminum nitride are used as substrate materials in HTCC, a high-temperature co-fired ceramic. For HTCC, the co-firing temperature ranges from 1600°C to 1850°C. Chemical stability, lower material costs, a high heat dissipation coefficient, high mechanical strength, and a high wiring density are just a few benefits of HTCC. Low conductivity and a high production cost are HTCC's shortcomings. Molybdenum, tungsten, manganese, and molybdenum-manganese alloy are the conductive metal materials used in HTCC. Materials like copper, gold, and silver cannot be used in HTCC due to the high-temperature range. HTCC is not appropriate for high-frequency or high-speed micro-assembled boards in electric applications due to its low conductivity and potential for signal delay.
Based on applications, the global market is bifurcated into automotive, telecommunication, aerospace and defense, and consumer electronics.
The automotive segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.2% during the forecast period. In automotive applications, LTCC and HTCC are used to design the electronic control units (ECU) required for automatic transmissions. Along with various sensors, they are also utilized by automobile engines, fuel injection systems, electronic power steering, LED braking systems, airbag control modules, and entertainment and navigation systems. Vehicle-deployed ECU are exposed to acceleration stress, hot environments, and constrained space.
Automobile LTCC products support proper ECU operation. For drivers and passengers to have a relaxing and safe driving experience, automotive electronics are essential. Drive-by-wire technology is crucial to automotive electronics because it enables sensors to transform driver-initiated vehicle operations—car operations—into electric signals that can then be converted into mechanical movements. Small-sized modules are needed for these applications to secure large cabin spaces safely. Vehicle engine compartments are increasingly being equipped with small modules. LTCC modules are used in the ECU of engines and transmission systems due to their enhanced dependability and functionality.
High-performance electronic and telecommunication devices employ HTCC packages as hermetic enclosures to shield integrated circuits from the outside world. This protects against thermal shock, expansion, heat, moisture, and corrosion. The telecommunications segment of the LTCC and HTCC market is expected to grow significantly due to the use of small packaging products with improved electrical performance and reliability. The global demand for integrated multifunctional wireless communication devices is driven by the convergence of computing, biomedical, consumer, and communication electronics. Due to its excellent high-frequency properties, improved dimensional stability, good thermal conductivity, and simple design and fabrication features, multilayer LTCC is a mature and widely used technology in multifunctional wireless communication devices. LTCC is used in high-frequency applications like laminated waveguides, integrated radio frequency (RF) modules, integrated mm-wave antenna arrays, satellite antenna arrays, transmission lines, and miniaturized RF filters.
By region, the global LTCC and HTCC market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market
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Asia-Pacific is the most significant shareholder in the global LTCC and HTCC market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.1% during the forecast period. Due to the rapidly expanding automotive, consumer, and industrial electronics industries in nations like India, China, South Korea, and Japan, Asia-Pacific held the most significant global LTCC and HTCC market in 2021 at 42.0%. Manufacturers of automotive electronics are expected to move to the region due to ongoing incentive programs for EVs offered by governments of various nations. It is anticipated that this will help the LTCC and HTCC markets in the Asia-Pacific grow over the forecast period.
North America is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.9%, generating USD 1,213.07 million during the forecast period. In 2021, North America accounted for 28.5% of the market for LTCC and HTCC. The rising demand for LTCC printed circuit boards (PCB) and the booming wireless communication sector are both responsible for the market's expansion. In North America, LTCC PCBs are utilized in various applications, including industrial and automotive controls, medical diagnostic systems, avionics systems, aerospace systems, life support systems, and military systems. The market players in this region can expect new growth opportunities due to the increased demand for power electronic products in North America. Power electronic products are becoming increasingly popular in various end-use industries, including telecommunication and energy, due to their small size and lightweight.
Europe is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period. The expansion of the LTCC and HTCC markets in Europe can be attributed to the region's rising demand for automotive electronics due to the increased use of EVs. Foreign businesses have begun investing in Europe due to the region's expanding EV market. The European automotive electronics market is thriving in the production and execution of value-added activities (R&D and engineering). With a market share of about 27% in 2021, Europe will be the second-largest regional market in the world for automotive electronics. In 2021, the region made up 20% of the global market for industrial electronics. Thus, it is anticipated that the LTCC and HTCC markets in Europe will grow during the forecast period due to the surge in demand from the automotive and consumer electronics sectors.
The energy industry's growth in Central and South America is advantageous for using power electronics and, indirectly, LTCC and HTCC goods. Power electronic converters are used in renewable energy to optimize energy for operational activities. The region's electricity sector is expected to benefit financially from investments, opening lucrative opportunities for the power electronics industry. It is anticipated that Argentina's manufacturing sector will expand market vendors' opportunities. Since 2003, the nation has experienced rapid growth due to the adoption of sound policies and a positive state of the world economy. Argentina's government has passed several laws to encourage new manufacturing sector investments. In terms of transparency, laws like the Public-Private Partnerships Law and the Law on Access to Public Information are likely to help start a business, which is anticipated to increase new investments. Governments in the area recently changed their tax laws to lower import taxes and duties on high-value goods like electronics and exports.
Due to the diversification program for other sectors implemented by various regional governments, major countries are anticipated to experience high economic growth over the coming years. Several Middle Eastern and African governments support domestic manufacturing, likely increasing regional production levels and decreasing reliance on imports, creating lucrative opportunities for market vendors. The demand for multilayered ceramics like LTCC and HTCC is anticipated to increase due to the rapid proliferation of consumer electronics, including smartphones, laptops, televisions, and other digital devices. However, the region's electronics production is deficient and largely reliant on imports. In the upcoming years, it is anticipated that the region will offer a wide range of opportunities due to the growth of the electronic manufacturing sector.
The global LTCC and HTCC market’s major key players are Hitachi Metals Ltd., Koa Corporation, Kyocera Corporation, Maruwa Co., Ltd, Micro Systems Technologies, Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd, NGK Spark Plug Co. Ltd, Nikko Company, TDK Corporation, and Yokowo Co. Ltd.