In the past few years, novel encapsulation technologies have become a hot topic in the thin-film, printed and electronics communities. Many of the latest materials platforms for displays, lighting and solar panels appear to require higher performance encapsulation technologies. And in response to this apparent need, new alternatives have appeared in the marketplace; notably multilayer barrier films and conformally deposited coatings.
While all this sounds like the makings of a good business case, recent history seems to be saying otherwise. Encapsulation plays such as Symmorphix and (quite recently) Cambridge Nanotech have gone out of business while Vitex was swallowed up by Samsung. And other startups are confessing that they are no longer sure how they are ever going to make big money out of their clever encapsulation ideas. So the industry finds itself facing a paradox. Some of the most exciting new thin film-printed-organic technologies need new kinds of encapsulation. Yet there is good empirical evidence that firms cannot make money providing these novel species of encapsulation.
This white paper addresses what is missing from the picture and details the strategic options facing the business.