Tantalum capacitors are an electrolytic capacitor subtype formed of tantalum metal, which serves as an anode. It is surrounded by a conductive cathode and coated with a layer of oxide, which serves as a dielectric. Tantalum allows for the formation of an extremely thin dielectric layer. Consequently, the capacitance value per volume is larger, the frequency characteristics are superior to many other types of capacitors, and the stability over time is outstanding. Tantalum capacitors are often polarized, which means these can only be connected to a DC source if the terminal polarity is correct.
The global tantalum capacitors market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.27% during the forecast period (2019–2030).
Over the last several years, the consumer electronics sector has experienced significant expansion. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the personal computer (PC) market grew exponentially, accounting for roughly 11% more than in the fourth quarter of 2019. The shipping of PCs recorded a robust growth by the end of 2020, with a solid year-on-year increase for the third consecutive quarter, driven by surging consumer demand. The work-from-home scenario resulting from the coronavirus pandemic drove this surging consumer demand. In locations where the government maintained stay-at-home orders, demand remained robust.
Furthermore, due to supply chain disruptions, the strong demand resulted in supply shortages for a short time. The smartphone sector saw a modest growth rate from 2016–2019. However, the industry saw an outstanding growth rate after 2019. Due to the pandemic, schools, colleges, and universities started online lessons to control the spread of the virus and comply with government regulations. Since the online programs required students to have a smartphone, the items were in high demand.
Component producers are facing a scarcity of tantalum capacitors due to several issues such as lack of raw materials and laws and regulations banning tantalum mining. Manufacturers are shifting to alternatives such as high-capacitance ceramic and aluminum electrolytic capacitors to cover the demand-supply gap produced by the scarcity of tantalum capacitors. Furthermore, alternative materials such as niobium are thought to be suitable substitutes for tantalum capacitors. Recent breakthroughs in polymer-cathode technology and improvements in the tantalum supply chain enable designers to choose polymer tantalum capacitors as an alternative to classic solid tantalum capacitors.
Another motivation for manufacturers to resort to tantalum capacitor replacements is the necessity for mining businesses to adhere to the laws and regulations imposed by government bodies and associated agencies regarding rare metal mining. These limitations have resulted in a drop in tantalum ores and mining activities, forcing manufacturers to move to alternatives and stifling the tantalum capacitor market growth.
Tantalum capacitors were discovered due to the need for downsizing electrical and electronic equipment. The demand for tantalum is growing as the manufacturing of tantalum capacitors expands. Tantalum recycling is one of the industry's hottest concerns, owing to increasing awareness of the need for rare metal conservation and environmental preservation. The use of recycled tantalum in the manufacture of tantalum capacitors gives significant chances for industry players to differentiate themselves and offer a solid competitive edge over rivals.
Sustainable manufacturing, a major issue throughout the manufacturing sector, and government backing boost the likelihood of employing recycled tantalum, attracting an extensive client base. Furthermore, tantalum capacitor manufacturers might invest in the tantalum recycling sector, which would benefit both them and their consumers. Since only a few tantalum capacitor manufacturers have their scrap recycling operations, tantalum capacitor recycling represents a profitable economic potential for industry players.
After a lengthy period of market stagnation, demand for tantalum capacitors began to rise in 2018, owing to their overlap with MLCC (multilayer ceramic capacitor), which was in short supply. Due to supply difficulties, firms began to cover all bases as the global capacity for MLCC became tight. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, there was a considerable market demand for ultra-small, case-size tantalum chip capacitors. As the demand for industrial automation, electric cars, and other uses grew, many manufacturers increased tantalum capacitor output to meet expected demand during 2019–2020.
COVID-19 has stymied the growth of several metal markets globally. The majority of the components were sourced from Asian vendors, mainly in China. However, since China was the virus's epicenter, shortages arose, severely hurting global manufacturers before the virus spread to the rest of the globe. Tantalum production and distribution were hampered by global constraints and a halt in mining activity. As a result, manufacturers were subjected to ongoing inflationary pressure on demand and sales.
The COVID-19 pandemic sent the industries into a tailspin. However, due to supply chain issues and material shortages, electronics took the brunt of the damage. As a result, several industries globally have ceased operations. According to industry sources, the price of passive components, particularly tantalum capacitors, has risen dramatically since the second quarter of 2020, as demand and production costs have risen. The price increase results from rising expenses for ceramic substrates, shipping, copper pricing, and manpower.
Tantalum supply changes are expected to significantly impact the market dynamics and prices of the tantalum capacitor during the next decade. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the consumer electronics and automotive industries are anticipated to postpone their orders for tantalum capacitors due to a manufacturing standstill. The rising demand for tantalum capacitors in electric cars and the rapid adoption of EVs is expected to create profitable prospects over the next decade.
Furthermore, increasing applications of tantalum capacitors in consumer electronics such as smart wearables, computers, smartphones, and so on are anticipated to drive the tantalum capacitor market growth during the forecast period.
Some of the issues that market participants may encounter in the future years are as follows:
Based on type, the tantalum foil electrolytic capacitor segment has acquired the highest market share in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.49% by 2030. Tantalum foil electrolytic capacitors, tantalum capacitors with porous anode and liquid electrolytes, and tantalum capacitors with porous anode and solid electrolytes are the three types of tantalum capacitors in the global market.
Tantalum foil electrolytic capacitors are utilized for high-voltage applications and may operate at up to 450 volts. In these capacitors, an etched or straightforward foil is employed. The surface area of etched foil is increased, resulting in a larger capacitance per unit volume. Tantalum foil electrolytic capacitors, which account for more than half of the passive components on an IC board due to their remarkable stability and capacitance, are critical components in high-end equipment.
Based on application, the global tantalum capacitors market is divided into power supply filtering, audio amplifiers, medical devices, military applications, sample and hold circuits, electronic gadgets, and telecommunications infrastructure, among others. The electronic gadgets segment acquired OVER 30% of the market share in 2021, and it is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 6.56% by 2030.
Capacitors are employed in all electrical devices and are essential to every electronic equipment. Capacitors are widely employed in various applications, including power circuits, power supply units, and electronic circuits. Tantalum and related alloys are commonly used in the electronics sector, owing to their excellent thermal conductivity, corrosion resistance, good thermal properties, and being free of radioactive materials. Tantalum capacitors and passive devices are the most often utilized applications in electronic gadgets across the electrical industry.
The Asia-Pacific tantalum capacitor market was worth USD 2,268.6 million in 2020 and is predicted to expand at a CAGR of 6.5% over the forecast period. In 2020, Asia-Pacific held the highest market share, with a strong growth rate over the projection period. Asia-Pacific is a prominent site for manufacturing, attracting numerous players globally to invest in these countries. India and China are leading in the region, with governments emphasizing local manufacturing through programs such as 'Make in India' and 'Make in China,' respectively.
The North American tantalum capacitor market was worth USD 1,485.8 million in 2020 and is predicted to expand at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period. Due to its big automobile firms, well-developed IT and telecommunication infrastructure, and excess military expenditure, the United States dominated the tantalum capacitor industry in North America. Since these industries are the primary end-users of tantalum capacitors, the United States offers new business opportunities for tantalum capacitor manufacturers. As the United States possesses low-grade tantalum resources, firms manufacture tantalum capacitors and other tantalum goods from imported and local tantalum trash.
Some key players in the global tantalum capacitors market are Kyocera Corporation (AVX), Vishay Intertechnology, Inc., KEMET Corporation, ROHM CO., LTD., Panasonic Corporation, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Sunloard Electronics Co. Ltd., Exxelia Group, NIC Components Corp., Abracon, among others.