Worldwide Smart Coatings Markets: 2013-2020 Chapter One
The report covers all the major markets for smart coatings including energy, automotive, medical, electronics, textiles and military. And it includes an assessment of the product/marketing strategies of key firms supplying smart coatings, as well as eight-year forecasts by applications sector and by type of coating. These forecasts are both in volume and in value terms. This report also assesses the latest technical developments in the smart coatings space; smart coatings are becoming smarter and more biological, for example Based on the latest R&D and university research, we also examines future directions for smart coatings including important developments in manufacturing. We believe that this report will provide guidance to coatings and other specialty chemical firms, as well as firms making production equipment, and others planning to make investments of all kinds in smart materials.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Worldwide Smart Coatings Markets: 2013-2020 Chapter One
Worldwide Smart Coatings Markets
2013 – 2020
Published November 2013
Worldwide Smart Coatings Markets 2013–2020
Smart coatings change in response to external stimuli and are finding a fast growing
number of applications in several industries including construction, automotive,
medical, consumer electronic goods and the military. NanoMarkets believes that these
materials present a strong business case because of their unique functionality and
their ability to be highly customized. We think smart coatings will do especially well
in medical, military and other applications, where quality and performance, rather
than price, shape purchasing decisions. Consumer markets where the customer is
willing to pay a premium for functionality such as scratch resistance or enhanced
energy efficiency will also be important.
NanoMarkets commenced coverage of smart coatings in 2011. As such, it has a solid
understanding of the dynamics of the smart coatings business and it brings this
experience to this report. The report covers all the major markets for smart coatings
including energy, automotive, medical, electronics, textiles and military. And it
includes an assessment of the product/marketing strategies of key firms supplying
smart coatings, as well as eight-year forecasts by applications sector and by type of
coating. These forecasts are both in volume and in value terms.
This report also assesses the latest technical developments in the smart coatings
space; smart coatings are becoming smarter and more biological, for example Based
on the latest R&D and university research, we also examines future directions for
smart coatings including important developments in manufacturing. We believe that
this report will provide guidance to coatings and other specialty chemical firms, as
well as firms making production equipment, and others planning to make investments
of all kinds in smart materials.
Table of Contents
E.1 A Generic Business Case for Smart Coatings
E.2 Summary of Key Commercial Opportunities for Smart Coatings
E.2.1 Building Materials and Energy Efficiency
E.2.2 Energy Generation
E.2.3 Automotive and Marine
E.2.4 Medical and Dental
E.2.5 Electronics and Displays
E.2.6 Textiles and Clothing
E.2.7 Military and Domestic Security
E.2.8 Other Applications
E.3 Firms to Watch in the Smart Coatings Sector
E.4 Summary of Eight-Year Smart Coatings Market Forecasts
E.5 Barriers to Growth in the Smart Coatings Market
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Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background to the Report
1.2 Objectives and Scope of this Report
1.3 Methodology of this Report
1.4 Plan of this Report
Chapter Two: Smart Coatings: Technical and Product Trends
2.1 Self-Assembling, Self-Organizing and Self-Stratifying Coatings
2.2 Self-Cleaning Coatings
2.3 Self-Repairing and Self-Healing Coatings
2.4 Corrosion-Resistant and Wear-Resistant Coatings
2.5 Antimicrobial Materials and Other Bioactive Coatings
2.6 Pressure Responsive Coatings
2.7 Smart Optical Coatings: Self-Dimming, Color Shifting and Others
2.8 Next-Generation Smart Coatings: New Functionality
2.9 Manufacturing Innovations Impacting the Smart Coatings Sector
2.10 Key Points from this Chapter
Chapter Three: Smart Coatings: Opportunity Analysis by Market Segment
3.1 Building Materials and Energy Efficiency Products
3.1.1 Self-Healing Paints
3.1.2 Self-Dimming and Self-Cleaning Windows
3.1.3 Anti-Corrosion Coatings
3.2 Energy Generation
3.2.1 Photovoltaics: Cleaner Glass and Anti-Reflective Coatings
3.2.2 Fuel Cells, Batteries and Smart Coatings
3.2.3 Smart Coatings for Wind and Gas Turbines
3.2.4 Smart Coatings for Removal of Oil Slicks
3.3 Automotive, Marine and Other Transportation Markets
3.3.1 Corrosion Sensing and Corrosion Control
3.3.2 Self-Dimming, Self-Cleaning and Self-Deicing Windows and Mirrors
3.3.3 Fillers and Self-Repairing Body Coatings
3.3.4 Anti-Fouling Applications
3.3.5 Smart Coatings in Braking and Suspension Systems
3.3.6 Smart Coatings for Catalysts and Lubricants
3.3.7 Smart Tires
3.4 Medical and Dental Applications for Smart Coatings
3.4.1 Drug Delivery Coatings
3.4.2 Anti-Microbial and Anti-Inflammatory Coatings
3.4.3 Diagnostic Sensing and Smart Coatings
3.4.4 Medical Uniforms and Medical Monitoring Garments
3.5 Consumer Electronics and Computers
3.5.1 Anti-Scratch Materials
3.5.2 Touch Screens
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3.5.3 Pressure Sensing and Haptics
3.5.4 Self-Cleaning Displays
3.6 Smart Textiles and Clothing
3.6.1 Environmentally Responsive Textiles
3.6.2 Self-Cleaning Carpets and Fabrics
3.6.3 Fire Retardant Textiles and Garments
3.7 Military and Domestic Security Markets for Smart Coatings
3.7.2 Smart Coatings for Detection of Toxic Substances and Other Dangers
3.7.4 Naval Anti-Fouling
3.8 Other Applications
3.9 Key Points in this Chapter
Chapter Four: Eight-Year Forecasts of Smart Coatings Markets
4.1 Forecasting Methodology
4.1.1 Forecasting Philosophy
4.1.2 Sources of Data
4.1.3 Economic Assumptions
4.1.4 Alternative Scenarios
4.2 Building Materials and Energy Efficiency Products
4.2.1 Forecast by Application and Type of Material
4.3 Energy Generation
4.3.1 Forecast by Application and Type of Material
4.4 Automotive, Marine and Other Transportation Markets
4.4.1 Forecast by Application and Type of Material
4.5 Medical and Dental Applications for Smart Coatings
4.5.1 Forecast by Application and Type of Material
4.6 Consumer Electronics and Computers
4.6.1 Forecast by Application and Type of Material
4.7 Smart Coatings and Smart Textiles
4.7.1 Forecast by Application and Type of Material
4.8 Military Markets for Smart Coatings
4.8.1 Forecast by Application and Type of Material
4.9 Summary of Forecasts
4.9.1 Summary by Application
4.9.2 Summary by Type of Material
Smart Coatings Markets – 2011
Smart Coatings and Photovoltaics 2012
Worldwide Smart Windows Markets: 2013-2020
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Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background to the Report
1.1.1 Brief about Smart Coatings
Smart coatings are typically defined as a film composed of unique materials with pre-defined
properties that can change in response to an external stimulus, such as light, electric current,
pressure, etc. Ideally, a smart coating can be tailor-made to suit the needs of the consumer and
can thus act in very different ways for different applications.
There are no set criteria for smart coatings, and it is the end-use of the coating application that
defines the material choice and inherent characteristics of a smart coating. In this report, therefore,
we have also included coatings that are specifically intended to stand up to extreme conditions and
respond by not responding, which is the characteristic that makes them smart. While there is an
obvious paradox here, this type of coating has many of the same types of commercial and technical
characteristics as the responsive type of smart coating.
The term ‘Smart Coating’ broadly refers to a gamut of coating materials with varied chemical,
physical, mechanical, and electrical properties that find applications in a wide range of industries,
from the construction to the textile sectors. However, in terms of business attractiveness and
revenue generation, the scope of smart coatings is limited to a handful of key industrial and
commercial segments, including the construction, automotive, medical, consumer electronic goods,
and military sectors.
Because of their ability to offer customized benefits to suit the requirements of the end user, smart
coatings are likely to demand a premium price in comparison to conventional coatings. Hence, it is
important to ascertain the cost-benefit proposition so that the attractiveness of a particular type of
smart coating for a target consumer segment can be gauged.
Some application areas, such as military and medical, are likely to adopt unique smart coatings
with unmatched benefits despite their high prices, because these segments are typically more
sensitive to quality than price. At the same time, some relatively new consumer segments, such as
high-end consumer electronics, may adopt smart coatings because of their favorable scratchresistance or visual enhancement features. Others, such as commercial building owners, are likely
to be more interested in the temperature and privacy control features of smart coatings.
1.1.2 Improving Scope for Medical Applications
Smart coatings can be customized to create a toxic or non-toxic barrier for harmful microorganisms.
As a result, smart coatings are increasingly used in medical applications as antimicrobial agents.
In addition, the triggering mechanism in smart coatings to activate a specific functionality can be
harnessed to develop efficient drug-delivery systems; however, such systems are not likely to be
commercialized in the immediate future.
Antimicrobial coatings: The applicability of smart coatings as antimicrobial agents has extended
beyond medical uses to the food, textile, and residential segments, in which protection from
bacterial and fungal growth has gained significant importance in recent years.
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Some of the established material specialists in this space offer antimicrobial coatings based on
patented non-toxic silver technology for application in hygiene-sensitive areas such as hospitals
and food processing facilities. DuPont (U.S.), for example, has licensed industrial applicators (for
instance, Plas-Tech Coatings (U.S.) that apply its antimicrobial Teflon industrial coatings in the
healthcare, food processing, and pharmaceutical industries.
These coatings typically rely on the sustained release of silver ions (from a silver-based
antimicrobial compound dispersed in an inert matrix), ensuring extended antimicrobial functionality
throughout the lifetime of the coating.
Another innovative firm actively working in the antimicrobial coating space has been
Reactive Surfaces Ltd. (U.S.), which offers enzyme and peptide-based additives for
antimicrobial coatings. Some of the key applications of such useful additives in the
antimicrobial coating system include the development of biocidal surfaces, mold-inhibiting
surfaces, and catalytic column coatings for liquid and gaseous waste-stream
Other firms have developed antimicrobial coatings that work via physical mechanisms,
leading to the destruction of the thin cell walls of microbes. Such technology depends on
the ability of stabilized silane molecules (microbe defenders) to remain suspended in water,
forming a long-lasting antimicrobial barrier on top of the underlying surface. Some of the
commercial smart coating solutions in this domain can be safely applied on a range of
medical surfaces, including intravenous stands, instrument trays, beds, X-ray tables, lab
coats, towels and patient gowns, among others.
Typically, antimicrobial coating manufacturers claim to offer long-term protection against a range of
microorganisms, thus reducing the disinfecting and cleaning cycles in health-conscious
environments. There are, in fact, several players in the market that specialize in providing nonleaching and water-based antimicrobial coatings that can be applied on a host of surfaces and
Innovative drug delivery agents: The majority of smart coatings that are meant to trigger
automatic drug release based on an external stimuli (an electric current, for instance) are currently
in the research phase and there is uncertainty over the commercial release of such advanced drug
delivery systems in the immediate future.
Switzerland-based Debiotech SA is among the few companies that are experimenting with
nanoporous membrane-based refillable and single-use drug delivery systems (DDS) that are yet to
be commercialized. Others are in the process of attempting to utilize nanoparticle technology to
treat brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, via the transport of pharmaceutically active
compounds embedded in nanoparticles across the blood-brain barrier.
Several research initiatives are also underway in this space. A prominent program involves the
development of bioadhesive coatings by researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of
Engineering and Applied Science (U.S.). When such coatings are applied to nanoparticles capable
of carrying active biopharmaceutical compounds, the nanoparticles are able to stick to the mucosal
lining of the intestines, thereby allowing efficient absorption into the bloodstream.
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Another potential application of bioadhesive coatings is controlled drug release for the prevention
of drug overdoses in critical situations. Such systems usually rely on stimuli-responsive materials
that trigger drug release only when they are in the ‘on’ state.
However, before commercialization of such advanced technologies is possible, much additional
development work is required, and they must also be subjected to clinical trial evaluations. As a Page | 6
result, NanoMarkets believes that, despite an established market for conventional DDS,
commercialization of smart-drug delivery systems based on smart coatings will not occur during the
period covered by this report.
However, due to the increased incidence of microbial infections in healthcare and other related
fields, NanoMarkets believes that consumers will embrace antimicrobial smart coatings more
readily than others, because hygiene and quality are of utmost importance for these consumer
As a result, NanoMarkets believes that smart coating manufacturers will be more profitable if they
develop innovative products specifically designed for the medical and allied segments.
NanoMarkets also expects that antimicrobial thin-film coatings will be the most desirable products
in this segment in the coming years, followed by smart coating-based DDS.
1.1.3 Growing Scope for Military Applications
The military sector, particularly the U.S. military, has shown continued interest in the adoption of
new materials to meet its requirements for anti-corrosive solutions to reduce repair and
maintenance work for various equipment and intelligent camouflaging techniques to mask
equipment and personnel.
Innovative firms have responded with the development of increasingly effective and environmentally
friendly coating solutions. For instance, AnCatt Inc. (U.S.) is preparing for the commercial
production of its proprietary polyaniline-based anti-corrosion coating for use on military aircraft.
NanoMarkets believes that the development of novel coatings that protect galvanized steel and
aluminum surfaces will increase the potential application range of innovative smart coatings.
The U.S. military is also working with some innovative coating manufacturers, such as Tesla
NanoCoatings (U.S.), to develop unique anti-corrosion coatings based on carbon nanotube/zinchybrid compounds, some of which have been demonstrated to match the corrosion protection levels
achieved by more conventional metallic zinc-rich primer systems.
At the same time, the ease of installation of such anti-corrosion coatings compared to conventional
metallic-zinc primer systems will enable the U.S. military to adopt a cost-effective approach for the
restoration of the outer metallic surfaces of military structures, such as fuel tanks.
NanoMarkets believes that the ability of such smart coatings to extend the service life, reduce
operational costs, and improve the chemical resistance of steel structures relevant to military
applications will lead to the adoption of these materials for other related military applications in the
Good potential in new application areas: Although military applications are already served by
smart coatings, innovative smart coatings, such as those capable of generating energy, have also
attracted the attention of the U.S. military and the scientific community. For example, the scope of
certain patent-pending transparent, electricity-generating coatings has been expanded in 2013 to
meet the requirements of commercial and military aircraft. There is potential for use of such coatings
on aircraft windows, fuselage surfaces, and related components, as well as pilot flight suits,
helmets, and visors.
NanoMarkets believes that such new developments are likely to gain prominence in the coming
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years, because energy-generating smart coatings have the potential to act as an emergency
electricity source that could enhance passenger and pilot safety in times of distress.
Overall, NanoMarkets believes that more traditional applications of smart coatings, such as
camouflaging and anti-corrosion protection, will continue to dominate the military segment in the
near to medium term, while energy-generating coatings will gain widespread acceptance in the
medium to long term.
1.1.4 Energy Applications to Receive a Boost
As energy producers continue to work in unconventional environments, such as at great depths,
pressures, and temperatures, and as refinery workers, manufacturing plant owners, and pipeline
operators continue to seek new ways to improve operational efficiency and reduce the threat of
corrosion, there is great need for advanced materials such as smart coatings.
Customized surface engineering-related coatings: These coatings are specifically meant to
tackle extreme chemical, physical, and mechanical environments. U.K.-based Monitor Coatings
(MC), now part of Switzerland-based Castolin Eutectic, is one company that has a wide range of
smart coatings designed for use in severe operating environments, and offers ultra-dense, highly
wear-resistant coatings to the oil and gas industry through patented thermal spray and densification
The coatings, typically comprised of sealants and applied via a high-velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) spray
technique, are meant to offer superior protection against corrosion and frictional wear and tear
compared to conventional coatings. In general, coatings for this segment primarily offer wear
resistance, thermal insulation, and electrical insulation and help retain the original magnetic,
electronic, and dimensional properties of the substrate. MC uses a different combination of raw
materials for the development of smart coatings to suit particular requirements.
While carbide-coated and ceramic-sealed mud motor rotors have been shown to operate efficiently
in chloride concentrations exceeding 350,000 ppm (parts per million), tungsten-based high-velocity
thermal spray coatings have been developed to make rock drill bit components more resistant to
wear and impact.
NanoMarkets believes that the energy industry will rely heavily on advanced smart coatings with
extended wear and tear resistance that cannot be achieved with the use of conventional coatings,
to reach optimal levels of operational efficiency.
Hard coatings: These very specialized coatings are typically used on valves deployed in the oil
and gas industry. Hardide Coatings Ltd. (U.K.) is one company that offers such coatings
commercially under the brand name Hardide. The nanostructured coating of tungsten-carbide
particles can be conveniently applied using a low-temperature chemical vapor deposition process
to achieve a nearly pore-free film.
The uniqueness of the uniform pore-free film, which is difficult to achieve with conventional coating
systems, is of prime importance for the safe operation of gas valves, preventing gas leakage and
subsequent threats of explosion.
NanoMarkets believes that there is great potential in the energy space for such highly specialized
smart coatings that can be applied on directional drilling tools with mud-driven hydraulic parts, thus
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extending the drilling time and reducing part replacement frequency.
NanoMarkets believes that the recent collaboration between British Petroleum and the University
of Manchester (U.K.) to develop energy-efficient materials, including smart coatings, will be
considered a significant move by smart coating manufacturers seeking to serve the energy
segment. NanoMarkets further believes that the energy segment will be best served by specialized
coating manufacturers that can tap into more opportunities spanning across the downstream and
upstream segments of the oil and gas industry in the near to medium term.
1.1.5 Demand from the Transportation Sector Likely to Revive
Despite the slow recovery of the European automotive market, the global automotive industry will
experience moderate growth due to increasing demand in North America and the Asia-Pacific
region (particularly from China). As a result, smart coating manufacturers targeting automobile
applications will witness a moderate growth phase in the coming years. There are, in fact, several
existing smart coatings with established applications or strong potential in the automotive sector.
Self-stratifying coatings: Traditionally, a clear coat is used over a pigmented base paint to provide
satisfactory external durability. However, the labor and material costs involved in the application of
a second coating on automobiles has been an issue in the industry for some time. As a result, selfstratifying coatings that are able to form multilayer films from a single coating system have started
to gain prominence in the automobile industry, which is looking to cut operating expenses.
This segment has drawn the interest of a few globally reputed paint and materials firms, such as
Netherlands-based AkzoNobel. In addition, the North American counterpart of Toyota (Japan)
recently received a joint patent with Eastern Michigan University (U.S.) for three unique selfstratifying coatings that have the potential to streamline the overall coating process and reduce
NanoMarkets believes that a one-step coating process that leads to the separation of two different
functional layers can offer a sustainable and economical next-generation automobile painting
process. Given the potential of self-stratifying coatings to offer multiple advantages, such as
enhanced mechanical strength, wear resistance, and adhesion performance with minimal
operational hassles and reasonable costs, NanoMarkets believes that such coatings will garner
higher demand in the near to mid-term.
Self-healing coatings: These coatings are mostly designed to offer scratch resistance benefits,
but some have been demonstrated to exhibit self-repairing capabilities when exposed to heat and
sunlight. There are, in fact, commercial self-cleaning coating systems from reputed firms that
incorporate a dedicated hardener and softener.
In addition, companies are actively pursuing the development of self-healing clearcoats that can
repair scratches upon activation by heat. NanoMarkets believes that the emergence of the
participation of reputable coating manufacturers in this domain will expand the possible application
range of energy-saving smart coatings in the automobile segment.
Energy-saving smart coatings: One of the potential benefits of smart coatings for automobile
applications is to reduce energy consumption, which not only reduces fuel consumption and carbondioxide emissions, but also creates a comfortable interior environment for the passengers.
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Anti-reflective and selective absorption are some of the key coating properties that can be utilized
in the energy-saving applications. Research Frontiers, Inc. (RFI) is probably the only company that
holds multiple patents in the active electrochromic smart coatings space. RFI typically licenses its
technology to multiple original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) belonging to the automobile,
aerospace, and marine industries.
By applying an electric current through a variety of underlying substrates (including glass,
polycarbonate, and acrylic) embedded with suspended particles, RFI is able to quickly switch the
surface from transparent to opaque.
NanoMarkets believes that the growing interest of leading players in the automotive and aerospace
industries in potential energy-savings will generate reasonable demand for smart coatings in this
Customized aerospace coatings: Growing concerns over passenger safety and the wear and
tear of critical aircraft components have attracted the industry’s attention to smart coatings.
Companies that offer smart coatings to the aerospace and defense industries have benefited as a
The demand for certain types of industry-specific smart coatings for aircraft bodies and critical
aircraft components has been elevated by the requirement for high levels of protection, particularly
against corrosion, under extreme environmental conditions. To date, conventional coating systems
have failed to meet such expectations for the airline industry.
As a result, an important material strategy in this space has arisen that involves the use of organic
coating materials, such as epoxies, silicones, polyurethanes, and polyimides, as well as resin
blends and metallic-ceramic blends, in smart coatings capable of demonstrating high resistance to
corrosion, chemicals, and UV radiation at elevated temperatures.
NanoMarkets believes that the active involvement of several reputable aerospace players in this
space will elevate the prospects for advanced smart coatings that can meet the customized and
high-quality requirements of the aerospace industry.
Although the majority of currently available smart coatings for automobile applications has been
limited to a few important functionalities, such as enhancing durability and ensuring color uniformity,
NanoMarkets believes that advances in material science have enabled the development of smart
coatings with a wider array of capabilities, such as self-healing and energy-efficiency properties. As
a result, we expect that companies focusing their research efforts on these emerging aspects will
benefit in the long run.
1.1.6 Electronic Industry Represents a New and Potential Application Area
The electronics industry, including touch-screen displays, is one of the largest potential consumers
of smart coatings. Smart coatings developed for such applications can be formulated to offer
multiple functionalities, with screen protection and intelligent response to external stimuli garnering
the greatest attention recently. In addition, there are two key factors that can substantially boost the
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adoption rate of smart coatings by the electronic industry.
Entry of reputed raw material suppliers: Bayer MaterialScience (Germany) is an established
materials science company that has shown an active interest in developing smart coatings for
electronic applications, as evident from its involvement in 2012 in the development of ‘temporary
functional coatings’ based on Bayhydrol, one of the company’s proprietary polyurethane
Bayhydrol can be conveniently incorporated into the mass production lines in the electronics
industry, ensuring that sensitive displays are protected from damage during the milling process.
These temporary coatings, which can be peeled off once they serve their purpose, are meant to
protect touch screens against damage from dust and other chemical and mechanical agents.
Self-healing coatings can also be explored by coating manufacturers. For instance, specially
formulated waterborne polyurethane dispersions have been shown to conveniently realign
themselves to fill in scratches, primarily due to the elastically reversible hydrogen bonds formed
between the polymer chains in the coating binder.
Favorable investment climate: NanoMarkets expects that ongoing research efforts in this area
will result in the launch of commercial solutions in the coming years. Innovative coatings, such as
those with a super-amphiphobic nature (demonstrating both hydrophobic and hydrophilic
characteristics) are being developed that may be capable of repelling water and dirt-based deposits
from a variety of surfaces, including glass, metal, wood, ceramic, textiles, and paper.
NanoMarkets believes that the potential applications of such smart coatings across different
industries will attract investment, particularly in the consumer electronics segment, where constant
innovation is a prerequisite to continued success .
NanoMarkets also believes that protective smart coatings will be of prime importance to smartphone
users in the near to immediate future as high-end electronic display device users seek to protect
their devices from hydrolytic, yellowing, and chemical effects. Furthermore, we expect that the
presence of established smart coating manufacturers in this market will brighten up the prospects
for others because global growth in demand for high-end consumer electronic display devices will
remain steady in the coming years.
1.1.7 Construction Applications Continue to be Affected by Premium
Pricing and Current Economic Conditions
In this segment, smart coatings are mostly applied to window surfaces. Demand largely originated
from the new residential and commercial construction segments, rather than from retrofitting
arrangements, because the latter Isa more costly venture. Smart window coatings are primarily
based on two different technologies.
Electrochromic coatings: By virtue of this technology, windows can be made to deliver specific
benefits, such as privacy or heat insulation via the application of a low amount of electric current.
Although the end user is able to receive on-demand benefits at the flip of a mechanical switch, the
continuous requirement of electric energy can impact overall energy costs. On the other hand, cost
savings resulting from the elimination of air-conditioning and window curtains can justify the
premium cost of windows containing smart coatings.
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It should also be noted that there are several companies offering active electrochromic glass with
embedded smart coating technology. Of particular interest are products based on SPD (Suspended
Particle Device) technology, which are suited for construction and automotive applications. There
are also other potential technologies of interest in this space, such as electricity–generating glass
that can deliver multiple benefits.
In recent years, several U.S. start-ups have been successful at raising funding for the development
of electrochromic window coating solutions for high-end residential and commercial buildings. With
the startup of large-scale electrochromic window coating production facilities, NanoMarkets
believes that sizable Asian and North American markets will develop in the medium term. In
addition, the cost of electrochromic coatings is expected to decline in the coming years, making
these products more appealing to a wider audience.
However, NanoMarkets believes that it will be several more years before electrochromic coatings
reach a reasonable price point at which consumers will be willing to adopt such smart coating
embedded solutions on a regular basis. In addition, the future potential of electrochromic window
coatings will largely hinge on the overall economic situation prevalent in the construction industry.
Photochromic coatings: Coatings based on this type of technology ideally rely on natural stimuli
(heat, light, etc.) to perform a specific function, such as providing privacy or protection from
ultraviolet rays by changing from transparent to opaque. Although these types of coatings are
relatively less costly and cumbersome to own than electrochromic systems, the end user does not
have the option to receive instant benefits. Nearly all of the major glass manufacturers have some
form of photochromic coating for glass designed for use in construction applications.
NanoMarkets believes that the prospects for photochromic coatings will be better than that for
electrochromic coatings. However, the level of market penetration will primarily depend on the ability
of new building developers to adopt such high-quality building materials with a premium price tag.
Potential of energy-generating smart coatings and intelligent walls: Although these types of
smart coatings are relatively new, NanoMarkets believes that a market for such coatings can
materialize in the long run as building owners seek newer ways to reduce energy consumption.
For instance, patents have already been granted for see-through energy-generating smart coating
solutions in the U.S., opening up the possibility for commercial production in the near to medium
In addition, technology has been developed that enables the spraying of very small, functional
organic solar cells on the top of transparent glass at room temperature (unlike the high temperatures
required for high-vacuum production techniques). The cells can generate electricity not only from
natural sunlight, but also from artificial light sources such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and
light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
The ability to fabricate such coatings with reliable electrical and optical absorption properties from
environmentally friendly hydrocarbons and apply them on a range of substrates (glass, plastic, and
paper) using a variety of wet chemistry techniques, such as screen printing, inkjet printing, and
spraying are critical factors that can enhance the scope of commercial adoption of such films in the
However, NanoMarkets believes that consumer acceptance will depend largely on the pricing and
perceived cost-benefit proposition of such value-added coating materials.
Other patented coating solutions for the residential segment include waterborne coatings capable
of reducing heat transfer and providing insulation. Typically, these coatings can be applied over
pre-painted surfaces just like a regular water-based paint.
One such patented product currently sold in the United States has been developed by Industrial
Nanotech Inc. (U.S.), which offers ‘Nansulate’ smart coatings. The ability to obtain points towards
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by using these coatings for
both new and pre-existing buildings give the company an advantage in the marketplace.
Despite the high potential of smart coatings to offer unique benefits for residential and commercial
building owners, their market penetration has been low, primarily due to the premium pricing
NanoMarkets believes that expansion of the market for smart coatings in the construction segment
will primarily depend on the health of the new construction market. In addition, the current pricing
structure must be rationalized in the coming years to one that will provide builders a reasonable
payback period for their investments in windows with smart coating technology.
In addition, the greatest potential for construction-specific smart coatings will be in emerging
economies such as China, where the government push towards energy-efficient buildings will drive
near-term demand for highly functional windows containing smart coatings.
1.2 Objectives and Scope of this Report
NanoMarkets has been providing industry analysis of the smart coatings market for over three years
and is a leading supplier of analysis in this space. This report is the latest NanoMarkets report on
opportunities in the smart coatings market with respect to material choices and applications. The
goal of this report is to analyze and forecast the prospects for smart coating applications and
materials choices in the coming eight years.
This report identifies and quantifies the opportunities, challenges, and prospects for growth in the
smart windows market. Specifically, it covers smart coating technologies, emerging markets and
applications, supply chain dynamics and leading firms, and other growth drivers, and presents our
eight-year forecasts for the smart coatings market.
Because smart coatings are used in such a wide variety of applications, the scope of the report has
been limited to applications with the greatest market potential over the forecasting period
considered here. In addition, the report is written with a focus on existing and emerging technologies
that are close to commercialization. Less space and effort is devoted to coatings that exist only on
laboratory benches. However, exceptions are made when the opportunity is exceptionally large.
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NanoMarkets believes that smart coatings will continue to proliferate as prices come down and
functionality improves. The key growth drivers are the lower cost of ownership in price-sensitive
markets and novel functionality in price-insensitive segments. There are opportunities for growth in
all market segments reviewed in the report—medical, military, energy, transportation, electronics,
By reviewing emerging technologies across a variety of applications, we show where new business
revenues can be created and existing smart coatings can find new markets in the next eight years,
and present our forecasts by application and material or functionality.
1.3 Methodology of this Report
This report is based on NanoMarkets’ ongoing industry research in the area of smart coatings and
related materials. Keeping pace with the dynamically changing technological environment,
NanoMarkets has not only considered the mainstream applications of diverse types of smart
coatings, but also investigated niche and upcoming application areas that have promising growth
potential for smart coatings.
The information in this report comes from a variety of sources, but principally comes from primary
interviews with insiders in the field of smart coatings commercialization, including entrepreneurs,
business owners, business development and marketing managers, and technologists.
Secondary research was based on a variety of sources, such as information available on the World
Wide Web, technical journals, press releases, trade press articles, government databases,
company literature, and SEC filings and used to further elucidate major trends in the smart coatings
The forecasting approach taken and the assumptions made when preparing the forecasts in this
report are explained in more detail in Chapter Three, but the basic approach taken here was to
identify and quantify the underlying addressable markets, the penetration of various smart coating
technologies in those markets, and how other market elements may impact the growth in demand
for smart coatings.
In addition, some of the data for this report comes from the previous NanoMarkets report “Smart
Coatings Markets – 2011” (February 2011). Whenever information has been used from an earlier
report, we have reinvestigated, reanalyzed, and reconsidered it in light of the current market status.
This report is entirely international in scope. The forecasts are worldwide forecasts and we have
not been geographically selective in the firms that we have covered in the report or interviewed in
order to collect information. However, a certain degree of emphasis has been placed on the
developed world, because most of the research around smart coatings is pursued in the developed
world. The firms and research discussed in this report were selected by importance, not by location.
1.4 Plan of this Report
Chapter Two presents an overview of the emerging materials and research trends across the
various smart coating applications highlighted in this report. It covers both work done in the private
sector at large and small companies and military research. Where applicable to commercialization,
university research is also discussed. A special focus is placed on the value proposition of the
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Chapter Three broadly discusses the state of the smart-coatings end-use markets and where they
are heading. This chapter is segmented by application, and the emphasis is on the largest
opportunities, which are not necessarily the largest markets. Simultaneously, this chapter also
provides our eight-year forecasts for the smart coating technologies and applications that are
discussed in the report.
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