The rapid popularization of 5G has not only steadily increased the construction of base stations, but the entire material industry chain related to it has also ushered in new growth opportunities. The demand for high-performance materials such as PTFE, LCP, PPS, and PPO is expected to usher in rapid growth. Among them, the LCP material, which has the reputation of “super engineering plastic”, can be said to be one of the hottest materials in the 5G era.
1. Liquid crystal polymer LCP
LCP is a liquid crystal polymer, which is composed of rigid molecular chains. Under certain physical conditions, it can appear both liquid fluidity and crystal anisotropic state of physical properties.
According to different formation conditions, liquid crystals can be divided into thermotropic LCP which is melted by heat and Lyotropic LCP which is dissolved by solvent. According to the different molecular structure, LCP can be divided into type Ⅰ, Ⅱ and Ⅲ
Regardless of the type of LCP, its molecular backbone has a large number of rigid benzene ring structures. This is a liquid crystal, which determines its special physical and chemical characteristics and processing properties.
Compared with other organic polymer materials, LCP has a unique molecular structure and thermal behavior. In the molten state, the molecular arrangement of LCP is as straight as a rod. When forming, under the action of shear stress, this arrangement orientation is further improved. , Showing excellent anisotropy, this special structure with orderly orientation makes it have self-reinforcing effect, excellent mechanical properties, high strength, dimensional stability, optical properties, electrical properties, chemical resistance, self-resistance Good flammability, processability and other properties, good heat resistance and low thermal expansion coefficient.
It’s a liquid crystal polymer LCP, this is my resume
2. Benefiting from the popularization of 5G and sophisticated electronic equipment, the demand for LCP is growing rapidly
In recent years, with the continuous development of electronic information and electronic communication industries, electronic communication equipment has increasingly pursued multi-functionality, integration, miniaturization, and thin-walled. Corresponding requirements have been put forward for the materials used to manufacture electronic components, such as high flow High heat distortion temperature.
LCP material has good fluidity, making it easier to form thin-walled and miniaturized connectors; at the same time, LCP has good heat resistance, low thermal expansion coefficient, and high thermal deformation temperature, so that surface mount electronic components can withstand high temperatures in the lead-free soldering process. No deformation, suitable for precision electronic production.
The 5G technology is accelerating popularization. In order to ensure the reliability of high-frequency and high-speed transmission, higher requirements are put forward on the performance and stability of high-frequency connectors, which are mainly reflected in the need for materials to have better dielectric properties, especially low Dielectric loss. LCP material has low water absorption, dielectric stability, ultra-low warpage, high fluidity, and dimensional stability, and is suitable for processing 5G high-speed connectors.
In addition to thin-walled, miniaturized electronic components and 5G high-frequency high-speed connectors, LCP materials are also used in base station antenna oscillators, mobile phone antennas, high-frequency high-speed circuit boards and other fields with their excellent performance.
Benefiting from the popularization of 5G and the thinning of precision electronic components, the demand for LCP is growing rapidly. It is predicted that the global liquid crystal polymer market will maintain a compound annual growth rate of over 4.5% from 2020 to 2025. According to Zion Market Research, the global LCP market will reach US$1.45 billion in 2023.
From the perspective of the supply side, the threshold for LCP synthesis is high. There are not many companies producing LCP resin in the world, and the production capacity is mainly concentrated in the United States, Japan, and China. Among them, Celanese, Polyplastics and Sumitomo Chemical own 63% of the world’s LCP production capacity, master the vertical integration capabilities of the LCP industry chain, and occupy a monopoly position.
Relatively speaking, domestic companies entered the LCP field late, and their products have long been dependent on imports from the United States and Japan. With the acceleration of the 5G process, the market demand for LCP materials has grown rapidly, and the demand for localization has become more urgent. In recent years, domestic companies have continued to carry out research and development of technical reserves, LCP resin production technology has become increasingly mature, and LCP resins such as Water Co., Ltd., Fafa Technology, and Plite have been put into production one after another. Domestic LCP production capacity has grown rapidly, and the localization process has accelerated.
3. Brief introduction of 8 domestic LCP manufacturers 1. Kingfa Technology
The 1,000-ton LCP polymerization plant of Zhuhai Wantong Special Engineering Plastics Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kingfa Technology, was put into operation in early 2014. In addition, the expansion project of an LCP polymerization plant with an annual output of 3,000 tons, which has been under construction since January 2016, is progressing smoothly, and has been put into production and achieved sales.
According to the 2019 annual report of Kingfa Technology, Kingfa Technology currently has the capacity to mass produce LCP film-specific resins, and plans to deploy LCP film industrialization projects. Ultra-low dielectric loss LCP materials have also been used in 5G base station terminal equipment manufacturers composite antenna oscillators Carrying out small batch full-process verification, and progress is good.
In 2019, Kingfa Technology’s LCP products achieved sales of 1,531.24 tons. In order to meet the growing demand of the market, the new 3,000 tons/year LCP device has completed civil construction during the reporting period and is scheduled to be put into production in August 2020. By then, the total production capacity of Kingfa Technology’s LCP will reach 6,000 Ton.
2. Water New Materials
Water acquired the LCP business of Samsung Fine Chemicals in 2014, accepted all technology transfers developed by Samsung, and owns more than 150 patents including the SELCION® trademark, and restarted the commercial production of LCP from the end of 2015.
Water has the continuous production of Type I, Type II, and Type III LCP resin and its composite material preparation technology, and currently has a production capacity of 3,000 tons/year. In addition to the traditional injection molding grade LCP, Water also has a number of patents that can be used to prepare fiber grade and film grade LCP.
Shanghai Pulit has completely independent intellectual property rights for TLCP technology, as well as US PCT patents. It has built a complete technology and production system for TLCP materials from resin polymerization to composite modification. It has successfully developed LCP resin materials, mainly injection-grade resins and films. The three major directions of grade resin and spinning grade resin. At present, the annual production capacity of Pllit LCP is 3,000 tons.
4. Jiangmen Dezhongtai
Jiangmen Dezhongtai Engineering Plastic Technology Co., Ltd. was established in 2010, specializing in the research and development and production of special engineering plastics. LCP was successfully developed and mass-produced in 2011. It is used for specifications such as high toughness, low warpage, and high heat resistance. The production capacity is about 1,500 tons.
5. Nantong Haidi
Nantong Haidi New Material Co., Ltd. was founded in 2010. It is one of the few domestic manufacturers capable of independent R&D and production of LCP. It has a liquid crystal polymer R&D center, two production bases, and two fully imported liquid crystal polymers. The resin polymerization production line can produce LCP of various specifications at the same time, with an annual production capacity of 2,000 tons.
6. Nanjing Qingyan
Nanjing Qingyan Polymer New Material Co., Ltd. is a special engineering plastics research and development and production company led by Nanjing Qingyan New Materials Research Institute Co., Ltd. According to reports, Nanjing Qingyan has the ability to polymerize LCP resins, and film-level LCP products are mature. At present, the annual production capacity of LCP resin can reach 3000-4000 tons.
7. Ningbo Jujia
Ningbo Jujia New Material Technology Co., Ltd. was established in 2017. It has completely independent intellectual property rights in the monomer synthesis, purification, polymerization and other technologies of LCP materials. At present, it has made significant achievements in injection molding grade LCP, membrane grade LCP and fiber grade LCP. Breakthrough, now has an annual production capacity of 150 tons of LCP.
8. Huaying New Materials
Shenzhen Huaying New Material Co., Ltd. also possesses LCP material polymerization and modification technology.