The Surface Mountable Laser Direct Structuring Antenna (LDS) market is expected to register a CAGR of 13.54% over the forecast period from 2021 to 2026. Antenna design with Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) technology offers the designers huge flexibility. LDS technology is one of the most advanced and robust 3D antenna manufacturing technology available. According to Multiple Dimensions AG, over one billion LDS antennas have been produced in the past decade. With LDS technology, antenna designers can create compelling antenna designs with new degrees of freedom in three dimensions. Multi-band, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, CDMA, GSM, Cellular 3G, 4G LTE, and emerging 5G frequencies are served. LDS antennas cover the full spectrum of today's and tomorrow's mobile RF devices. Antennas manufactured using LDS are completely Surface Mount Technology (SMT) capable. Components on flat surfaces and the same level can be mounted using automatic assembly.
- LDS technology gives flexibility for geometric 3D design providing freedom in making antenna products beyond the previously often used flex circuit based antenna technologies. LDS is a better alternative to metal stamped or flexible adhesive antenna designs where the antenna's shape is too complicated or when the space allowed for placement is limited. Another one of the benefits of LDS is that the design frieze can be done much later. The users could till able to adjust the circuit artwork later on in the process, even if the parts are already molded or in the process of being molded. This flexibility and freedom enables to decide later on what type of structure one wants to put on. This is why cell phone antenna manufacturers prefer LDS so much as it allows them to fine-tune their antenna to get the best performance out of it before deciding on a design frieze.
- For the production of antennas in even the smallest electronic components, the 5G generation requirements can be a significant challenge. The aim is to achieve higher frequencies and higher data throughput. The Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) process key to this. It generates antennas for these high requirements quickly and easily on three-dimensional plastic components of any shape. There is no requirement for cost-intensive and loss prone connectors. The higher the frequency of an antenna, the finer its structures. Laser systems operate with high precision and can produce minimal structures with only 25 µm conductor path and insulation channel width. With antennas manufactured using the LDS method, the frequencies of 77 GHz required for 5G could be achieved.
- Modern automotive requires a wide array of sensors and assistive electronics, which increase the comfort and safety of the passengers in the vehicle. At the same time, the goal is to reduce the number of components used and significantly reduce manufacturing costs. Mechatronic Integrated Devices (MIDs), combined with the appropriate connection and assembly technology, is ideal for achieving these goals. It allows typical electromechanical functions such as buttons, plugs, and other connecting elements to be integrated into a single module, which serves as a molded interconnect device. Using the LDS process increases the available design options, accelerates modifications in electronic modules, and allows model variants to be produced cost-effectively, ultimately resulting in more profitable development and manufacturing.
- With the outbreak of COVID-19, various companies have been developing stamp-sized devices, comprising a suite of sensors, including ones that record body temperature and blood oxygen levels. This advance can be used to catch early signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and help monitor patients as the illness progresses. Small diagnosis and monitoring devices help to improve the lives of millions of patients. Combined with comprehensive wireless communication technology, this allows visits to the doctor to be reduced to a minimum. This development requires a more advanced manner of intelligently compressing more functions into a smaller space. With its precision and high reliability, the laser-based LDS process fulfills precisely these requirements.
Key Market Trends
Consumer Electronics is Expected to Hold Significant Share
- LDS technology is used in a wide variety of antenna applications, including Smart Watches Activity Trackers, Wearable Sensors, Headphones, Earbuds, Laptops and Notebooks, Gaming Consoles, and VR Headsets. Model diversity, design, miniaturization, and cost reductions characterize the development of electronic devices. End consumers expect an increasing number of functions in the very latest, compact housings. LDS technology possesses excellent potential for the miniaturization of components. At the same time, it offers outstanding flexibility where the modification and improvement of functionality are concerned when features for multiple products need to be modified variably. Millions of antennas for mobile telephones and laptops manufactured using LDS technology have proven this time and again.
- Smartphones also contain molded interconnect devices (MIDs) based on LDS technology. Millions of phones utilize these 3D-MIDs as space-saving integrated antennas. The fast processing of 3D-MIDs with LDS is very economical, especially in comparison with other methods. This could be significantly important in the mobile phone industry, which no longer uses aluminum housings in 5G generation smartphones due to the necessary frequencies. As a result, plastic became the focus of technological attention, coupled with the LDS process. Most antennas do not perform efficiently in an all-metal cover. Therefore, for better antenna performance, plastic is utilized to cover the antenna portion of the smartphone. However, a capacitive-feed antenna can be enclosed in an all-metal mobile-handset case.
- A SmartWatch design allowed Taoglas Limited to work with one of their customers to provide an innovative solution to the wearables industry. The challenge was integrating two high-performance and efficient antennas within the compact, low profile wearable device. Taoglas was able to give the customer with two highly integrated and active antennas on a single antenna carrier. The antennas performed well within this compact, low profile device. The LDS solution significantly outperformed traditional approaches because the antennas could be placed at locations furthest away from the active electronics. Due to space limitations, traditional antennas are complicated to use and impact on space and performance requirements. LDS made way for antenna patterns and associated performance to be optimized quickly.
- Many earphones are being implemented with Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) Antenna Technology. This enables enhanced penetration power and anti-interference ability, allowing the earphones' transmission distance to be significantly improved. This means for users better connectivity and lesser lag time, a common problem with Bluetooth earphones. In December 2019, FiiO introduced the new Jade Audio EW1 True Wireless Hi-Fi earphones incorporating LDS antennas in Singapore. In May 2020, Edifier International announced the availability of the new TWS6 in the United Kingdom. It comes with Bluetooth 5.0, Qualcomm aptX audio, and the LDS antenna to offer fast transmission with ultra-low latency and a range of up to 10m.
Asia Pacific is Expected to Witness Fastest Growth
- The Asia Pacific region is one of the significant markets for surface mountable laser direct structuring antenna owing to the high manufacturing of consumer electronics and IoT products such as smartphones, laptops, earphones, smartwatches, etc. Additionally, the region is increasingly investing in 5G market. Countries such as China, India, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and South Korea are increasingly investing in the development of the domestic 5G market, which is also expected to significantly boost the manufacturing of 5G compatible smartphones in the region and turn, could create a positive impact on the market due to the adoption of LDS for the antennas preset in smartphone supporting 5G.
- According to GSMA, China is about to become one of the world’s leading 5G markets over the next few years, with Chinese mobile operators expected to invest an additional USD 58 billion in 5G network rollouts over the next two years. Twenty-four Asia Pacific markets would likely have launched 5G by 2025. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report Nov-2019, 5G subscriptions have taken place in South Korea, with around 3 million subscribers recorded in just a few months. China has invested in a 5G national action plan to organize its industry R&D and deployment efforts through the support of the central government. As of October 2019, China already had over 80,000 5G macro base stations, specifically cellular towers with antennas and other hardware to beam wireless signals over broad areas.
- In January 2019, China-based Tongda Group Holdings Limited announced that the company had completed the research and development of the polarized base station antenna incorporating Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) and Plating on Plastic (POP) technology. The new antenna is applied to mainstream Massive Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) antennas used in fifth-generation wireless systems (5G). The company has conducted R&D on a plastic dipole antenna to be utilized in the polarized base station antenna, which can direct and enhance the power of electromagnetic waves so that antennas can receive more reliable electromagnetic signals, which significantly reduces the weight of the antenna with a higher level of integration due to increase in the number of 5G dipole antenna.
- In August 2020, Avient Corporation, Shanghai-based provider of specialized and sustainable material solutions and services, launched a new generation of Edgetek 3D/LDS solutions in Asia. These materials were developed to help manufacturers of 3D molded interconnect devices (MIDs) using LDS to meet vital requirements, such as high design flexibility, multi-function integration, miniaturization, and weight reduction. But the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has affected the service industries and manufacturing enterprises, including antennas manufactured with LDS. For instance, the 5G New Radio part of the supply chain has been particularly affected by this, as most 5G radio units and active antennas are being manufactured in China.
The Surface Mountable Laser Direct Structuring Antenna (LDS) market is quite consolidated with few players such as Molex LLC, Taoglas Limited, LPKF Laser & Electronics AG, Tongda Group Holdings Limited hold a significant share in the market. The players in the market are launching innovative solutions, forming partnerships, and mergers to increase their market share and expand their geographical presence.
- July 2020 - Taoglas Limited formed a collaboration with Arrow Electronics, which includes a distribution agreement focused on IoT products and services. Taoglas and Arrow's comprehensive distribution agreement provides customers streamlined access to Taoglas' extensive portfolio of the antenna and RF design offerings.
- June 2020 - Digi-Key Electronics announced that it had expanded its product portfolio by signing a U.S. distribution partnership with Amphenol Corporation, offering Digi-Key customers a broad offering of the RF combiner, antenna, and RF filter products. This collaboration further rounds out Digi-Key's offering of the entire Amphenol product line.
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Table of Contents
1.2 Scope of the Study
4.2 Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis?
4.2.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers
4.2.2 Bargaining Power of Consumers
4.2.3 Threat of New Entrants
4.2.4 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry
4.2.5 Threat of Substitutes
4.3 Industry Value Chain Analysis
5.1.1 Industries Targeting for Miniaturization, Weight Reduction and Reduction of Number of Parts Mounted
5.2 Market Challenges
5.2.1 Product Assembly Challenges in 3D Components
5.3 Analysis of Frequency Bands (RFID, WLAN/BLE, GNSS, etc.) and Their Applications
5.4 Impact of COVID-19 on the Antenna Industry
6.1.1 Consumer Electronics
6.1.3 Industrial Automation/IoT
6.1.5 Other End-user Applications
6.2.1 North America
6.2.4 Rest of the World
7.1.1 Molex LLC
7.1.2 Taoglas Limited
7.1.3 LPKF Laser & Electronics AG
7.1.4 Amphenol Corporation
7.1.5 Tongda Group Holdings Limited
7.1.6 TE Connectivity Ltd
7.1.7 Antenova Limited
7.1.8 Abracon LLC
7.1.9 Saelig Company Inc.
7.1.10 Pulse Electronics Corporation
7.1.11 Galtronics Corporation Ltd.
A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes:
- Molex LLC
- Taoglas Limited
- LPKF Laser & Electronics AG
- Amphenol Corporation
- Tongda Group Holdings Limited
- TE Connectivity Ltd
- Antenova Limited
- Abracon LLC
- Saelig Company Inc.
- Pulse Electronics Corporation
- Galtronics Corporation Ltd.