Anisotropic conductive films (ACF) is a type of adhesive products. These are eco-friendly, cost effective, recyclable, and lead-free adhesive products. They are used for vertical and horizontal interconnect systems, particularly for liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Interconnections are required for different minute mechanical and electrical connections for glass substrates, organic boards, circuits, etc. ACFs are commonly used in mobile phones, laptops, cameras, MP3 players, etc.
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The ACF market can be segmented based on end-use industry, technology, and product. In terms of end-use industry, the ACF market can divided into displays, automotive, aerospace, and electronic components. Based on technology, the ACF market can be classified into physical state of the adhesive and manufacturing material used. Anisotropic conductive adhesives (ACAs) are prepared in two forms: films and pastes. In the film form, ACAs are called ACFs, while they are known as anisotropic conductive pests (ACPs) in the paste form. ACFs can be either acrylic based or epoxy resin based. They are also differentiated based on condition into manufacturing and application temperature, cure time, pot life, manufacturing pressure, and shelf life. Conditions depend upon the type of assembly and manufacturing materials used. Based on product, ACAs are applied for assemblies such as chip-on-flex (COF), chip-on-glass (COG), flex-on-glass (FOG), flex-on-board (FOB), flex-on-flex (FOF), chip-on-flex (COF), and chip-on-board (COB) interconnections. Since ACFs can adhere in very small space, reduction in material count and quantity makes ACFs cost effective. ACFs are used in COG, FOG, COB, and FOF and in high- density applications. On the other hand, ACPs are used in COF and low end applications. ACFs have the capability to work in a broad range of temperature. Their adhesive thickness ranges from 20 microns to 75 microns.
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More than 50% of ACFs were used for LCD displays, followed by non-display uses and OLED displays, in 2015. ACFs are estimated to be used majorly for electrical purpose followed by thermal, UV curving and others. ACFs are estimated to account for higher market share compared to that of ACPs due to the ease of application, low cost, chemical and mechanical stability, phase change temperature, viscosity, and tensile strength. Market growth for ACFs will dominate display industry along with other industries like surface mount technologies. Production of adhesives is projected to increase due to the rise in production processes across the globe. Asia Pacific is estimated to hold major share of the ACFs market in the near future. Taiwan, Korea, and Japan are anticipated to lead the market for ACFs. These countries coupled with other countries such as China, Singapore, and Malaysia are estimated to make Asia a prominent player in the ACF market. The market is projected to expand at a rapid pace in economically developing countries such as China, Brazil, and Russia. Key players operating in the market include Hitachi Chemicals, Dexerials Corporation (formerly Sony Chemicals Corporation), Pixel Interconnect, DELO Adhesives, SunRay Scientific, and Loctite (a part of Henkel).