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January 29, 2014

Traditional applications of piezoelectric devices are ultrasonic medical imaging, ultrasonic non-destructive testing, ultrasonic sensors, vehicle knock sensors, acoustic devices such as speakers, beepers, ceramic resonators, ultrasonic welding, ultrasonic cleaning, vibration cancellation, and sonars for military and civil usage.

New applications are emerging for piezoelectric devices, which include actuators, ultrasonic motors, sensor arrays for structural health monitoring, transformers and micro energy harvesting devices which are an alternative to batteries in microwatt devices. Other new applications include high resolution ultrasonic medical imaging, computer disk drives, and accelerometers in mobile phones and notebooks.

Unlike other piezo devices, commercialization of piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors is likely to proceed in those markets where the specific advantages of high torque, high precision and lack of magnetic interference are particularly useful. When the costs can be lowered to competitive levels, and remaining technical problems such as frictional wear can be solved, piezoelectric motors may also become candidates in areas such as automotive accessories, where very high volume markets are possible.

According to a new market research study from Innovative Research and Products (iRAP) titled “Piezoelectric Ceramic, Polymer, and Ceramic/polymer composite Devices - Types, Materials, Applications, New Developments, Industry structure and Global Markets”, the global market for traditional piezoelectric devices is quite mature in applications. However, the global market for new piezoelectric devices will see a robust two-digit growth rate in next five years.

Major findings of this report are:

• The global market for the existing eleven generic types of piezoelectric devices now equals US $10.6 billion and is expected to reach $19.5 billion by 2012.
• Among the nine markets, information technology/robots (31.7%), is the clear leader, followed by semiconductor manufacturing and precision machines, sonar, and bio/medical. Other sectors that complete the total market are ecology and energy harvesting, accelerators and sensors, non-destructive testing and miscellaneous (gas igniters, piezo printing heads, telecommunication devices), acoustic devices and resonators.
• New devices such as piezoelectric generators will see the highest growth rate, estimated to be 51.5 % annually. This category is followed by ceramic resonators (27.5%); miscellaneous applications (high voltage devices-gas igniters, piezoelectric elements in laser mirror alignments, acousto-optic modulators, piezoelectric drivers and piezoelectric amplifiers; accelerators and sensors; ultrasonic motors; and transformers. Ultrasonic motors will see 14.6% growth over five years.
• In 2007, Japan has the highest market share of 26%, followed by Europe, China, North America, and Korea. By 2012, China will occupy second position ahead of Europe, with a 22% share of the global market.

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