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The Market Aspect of Ito


Submitted By arthurHN
Words 1831
Pages 8
Hardy Neel
Webster University


Summary :

* Introduction * Advantages/disadvantages * Where can we found those materials? * How is the market of ITO? * Indium supply/Demand * Common uses * Who are the companies? * Prices * Alternatives * Conclusion * Sources

Indium tin oxide is one of the most widely used transparent conducting oxides because of its two chief properties, its electrical conductivity and optical transparency, as well as the ease with which it can be deposited as a thin film. There’re multiplies utilization of ITO in our world. Probably without knowing, everyone uses this technology every day. In this essay i will focus more on the market of ITO. In this essay, my research will be based on: Who are the producers, what are their prices, Where ITO is used and for other Alternatives.

Let’s start mainly by seeing what ITO is and what are the advantages and disadvantages of this material.

Advantages of ITO Physical properties | Melting point | 1800–2200 K (1526-1926 °C) (2800–3500 °F) | Density | 7120–7160 kg/m3 at 293 K | Color (in powder form) | Pale yellow to greenish yellow, depending on SnO2 concentration | * Consistency and reproducibility * Ability to produce large displays * Mature technology * Optically Transparent * Electrically conductive * Can be chemically etched

Disadvantages of ITO * Expensive and time-consuming multi-stage process * Short supply: Indium is a by product of other mining operations, e.g. zinc and lead * Wasteful of expensive ITO - 15 to 30% efficient * Indium price around US$800 per kg * Inflexibility - large scale production * Environmentally unfriendly acid etch process

Where can we found this material?
The indium compound that is widely recognized today is indium tin oxide (ITO), a transparent conductor that is essential for building flat panel displays and touch sensors. TVs, computer monitors, tablets and smart phones all use ITO to enable the switching of pixels and to register touch events. In fact, ITO applications dominate the use of all indium across the world today.
Indium (symbol In) is a rare, very soft, silvery-white malleable metal with a bright luster. It is number 49 on the Periodic Table of Elements with an atomic weight of 114.81. Indium is chemically similar to aluminum and gallium, but more closely resembles zinc. Indium is a rare element and ranks 61 st in abundance in the Earth's crust at an estimated 240 parts per billion by weight. This makes it about three times more abundant than silver or mercury. Indium occurs predominantly in the zinc-sulfide ore mineral, sphalerite. Indium is produced mainly from residues generated during zinc ore processing but is also found in iron, lead, and copper ores. The average indium content of zinc deposits from which it is recovered, ranges from less than 1 part per million to 100 parts per million. Its occurrence in nature with other base metal ores is sub-economic for indium recovery. Pure indium in metal form is considered non-toxic by most sources.
Indium is 61st most abundant element in the Earth's crust at approximately 49 ppb, making indium approximately as abundant as mercury. Fewer than 10 indium minerals are known, such as dzhalindite (In(OH)3) and indite (FeIn2S4), but none of these occurs in significant deposits.
Based on content of indium in zinc ore stocks, there is a worldwide reserve of approximately 6,000 tones of economically viable indium. However, the Indium Corporation, the largest processor of indium, claims that, on the basis of increasing recovery yields during extraction, recovery from a wider range of base metals (including tin, copper and other polymetallic deposits) and new mining investments, the long-term supply of indium is sustainable, reliable and sufficient to meet increasing future demands
This conclusion may be reasonable considering that silver, which is one-third as abundant as indium in the Earth's crust, is currently mined at approximately 18,300 tons per year, which is 40 times greater than current indium mining rates.

How is the market of ITO?
According to the USGS, China controls over 50% of the world’s refined indium production. There are a number of major producers in China, but also numerous smaller producers, relying on purchasing the concentrates from the larger base-metal refiners. China produces approximately 300 to 350 metric tons of indium per year. The Chinese government restricts indium’s export with taxes. In December 2009, China announced it would reduce export taxes on unwrought indium, indium scrap and indium powder from the 10.0% to 15.0% level in 2009 to 5.0% in 2010. In December 2009, The Ministry of Commerce issued a quota allowing China to export 139.8 tons of indium in the first half of 2010, the same level as 2009. In October 2010, Bloomberg LP reported that the Ministry of Commerce in China announced the full year 2011 exports quota for indium would remain unchanged from 2010 levels at 330 metric tons.

Indium supply VS demand:

As we can see, there is a much higher demand for indium than there is a supply. This is problematic for ITO production because as we know indium is the main element. However, when we analyze this graph we can see that with years the supply is growing as well as the demand. This means that there is an important evolution even though the supply doesn’t reach the demand.

Common uses:
ITO is often used to make transparent conductive coatings for displays such as liquid crystal displays, flat panel displays, plasma displays, touch panels (Apple products), and electronic ink applications.
TO films deposited on windshields are used for defrosting aircraft windshields. The heat is generated by applying a voltage on the film. ITO thin film strain gauges can operate at temperatures up to 1400 °C and can be used in harsh environments, gas turbines, jet engines, and rocket engines.

Who are those companies?
Keeling and Walker is the world leading company for ITO production. Founded in the early 1900’s, Keeling & Walker became a Limited Company in 1916, by which time it was a leading supplier of all types of ceramic materials, consumables, plant and equipment. Today the Company produces many grades of tin oxide, hydrated tin oxide, antimony tin oxide, and other specialty materials used in the ceramics, automotive and aerospace industries, glass manufacture, electrical contacts and infrared functional applications, to name but a few.

Quality Assurance of keeling and walker:
Our state of the art manufacturing and top quality products are renowned worldwide. All Keeling & Walker materials are subject to rigorous production control and quality assurance to ensure that every delivery is consistent and reliable in performance.
All our products are manufactured to the ISO 9001 Quality Assurance Standard.

Environmental Responsibility of keeling and walker:
Energy efficiency, environmental integrity and sustainable development are key issues for the future. Keeling & Walker accepts and embraces its global responsibility to ensure that our business is conducted in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.
All our products are manufactured to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard.
As we can see this company is very strict about their policy. They want to assure the clients that they can trust them. They’re doing this by making their policy public on the website. This company also insists on the environmental responsibility. This is also a nice ways to brings clients or to conclude offers because, environmental is very important.


What is a standard?
A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. We publish over 19 500 International Standards that can be purchased from the ISO store or from our members.
What are the benefits of ISO International Standards?
ISO International Standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. For business, they are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors, and increasing productivity. They help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade.

What are their prices?
The price is already rocketing and IDTechEx understands that, in one blip last year, it hit $1000/kg. Keeling and Walker reported:
After looking at this chart we can deduce that the price will continue to grow. We can see a high augmentation since 2004 where the price was only around 150 dollar/kg. Indium is a very rare material, but widely used. It reached at his high 1.100$. We can see that nowadays the price of indium went down again to 600$. We can deduce that because of rareness and because of its cost customers have found an alternative to indium to produce ITO.

Alternatives to ITO:
ITO is expensive, fragile, and is complicated to fabricate. Thus, the need for low-cost alternative materials to ITO is pressing.
Among promising candidates, graphene is unique due to its exceptional optical, mechanical, and electrical properties. Graphene is a single-atomic-layer-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal structure. Because it is a single-atomic-layer membrane, graphene is highly transparent (97.7% light transmission) over a wide range of wavelengths from the visible to the near-infrared. Owing to its covalent carbon-carbon bonding, graphene is one of the strongest known materials, with a remarkably high elastic modulus. The combination of its high transparency, tunability across a wide range of optical wavelengths, and excellent mechanical flexibility make graphene a very promising candidate for flexible transparent conductors.

To conclude we can say that ITO is a material used in a lot of domains. IT’s used for his consistency and reproducibility, ability to produce large displays, mature technology, for his optically transparency, and for his electrically conductivity. Ito is very expensive to produce. The main components to produce ITO are Indium thin and oxide. The resources of Indium the main element to produce ITO, is ilimited. However, his price is very high as for the demand. The main producers are China which controls over 50% of the market. The companies in China are very strict about their products because of the complexity and the quality requirements. So the companies make pass the products through a lot of test. Those requirements are called standards such as ISO 9001 for the quality and ISO 14001 for the environmental management of the product. By seeing this, the producers want to find a way to develop new alternative for ITO called Graphene.


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