Overview And Development Trend Of The Copper Foil Industry

Copper foil industry overview

The copper foil in a broad sense refers to a pure copper and copper alloy processed product having a thickness of not more than 0.15 mm. Conductors for printed circuit boards are generally made of thin foil-like refined copper, that is, copper foil in a narrow sense. According to the different production methods of copper foil, it can be generally divided into two types: electrolytic copper foil and rolled copper foil. Calendered copper foil is more used as building decoration material; more than 95% of electrolytic copper foil is used for the manufacture of printed circuit board substrates.

The history of industrial development of copper foil

In terms of copper foil, the world’s main authoritative standards are:

1. American ANSI/IPC Standard (IPC Standard for short)

2. International Electrotechnical Commission IEC Standard

3. Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS)

Copper foil is divided into rolled copper foil and electrolytic copper foil according to different production processes.

The rolled copper foil is produced by repeatedly rolling a copper plate. The general process for producing rolled copper foil is: copper ingot → hot pressing → tempering toughening → planing and descaling → cold rolling → continuous toughening → pickling → calendering → degreasing and drying, so that the rolled copper foil can be obtained. Foil. The wool foil is then subjected to a roughening treatment, a heat-resistant layer treatment, and an oxidation-proof passivation treatment as required. Due to the limitations of the rolled copper foil process, the width of the rolled copper foil is difficult to meet the production requirements of rigid copper clad laminates (used to manufacture rigid printed circuits), so the rolled copper foil is rarely used on rigid printed circuit boards. . However, since the rolled copper foil is a sheet-like crystal structure, it is superior in flexibility to the electrolytic copper foil, so that the rolled copper foil is more used for a flexible printed circuit board. In addition, the purity of the rolled copper foil is higher, and the surface is smoother, which facilitates the rapid transmission of electrical signals after the printed circuit board is manufactured. Therefore, in recent years, high-frequency high-speed transmission and fine-circuit printed circuit boards also use some rolled copper foil. Produced copper clad laminate.

Electrolytic copper foil is deposited on a circular cathode drum by electrolytic action on a circular cathode roll (generally a bright stainless steel drum electrode) by electrolysis to cause copper ions in a copper sulfate (CuSO4) electrolytic cell to be deposited on a circular cathode drum. Forming, its initial product is also known as wool foil. The wool foil that is in close contact with the surface of the cathode drum is the smooth surface of the foil (commonly referred to as the S surface); the other surface of the wool foil has a crystal structure of a concave-convex shape and is a matte surface of the foil (commonly referred to as an M-face). The matte surface needs to continue the processing such as roughening. Since the electrolytic copper foil has a columnar crystal structure, it is often used for the production of rigid printed circuit boards.

2016 China’s copper foil industry operation

In 2016, the production capacity of China’s electrolytic copper foil reached 328,982 tons, an increase of 15.8% from 284,000 tons in 2015, and the capacity utilization rate increased to 88.6%. In 2016, the output reached 259,599 tons, an annual increase of 22.3%; 290,289 tons; sales revenue reached 19.719 billion yuan, an annual increase of 33.5%.

In 2016, China’s FPC’s top 4 production capacity of rolled copper foil reached 7,070 tons, with a production capacity of 3,579 tons (excluding copper foil for other application fields), and the sales volume reached 3,490 tons (excluding copper foil for other application fields). For the first time, it broke through the market scale of thousands of tons.

In the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017, the demand for rolled copper foil in the world has increased significantly, especially in the global shipments of major suppliers of rolled copper foil. Despite this, the share of China’s production and sales of rolled copper foil in the global market for similar products is still greatly improved. It is estimated that the electronic grade calendered copper foil (mainly referred to as FPC rolled copper foil) of the top 4 rolled copper foil manufacturers in China has accounted for 25.7% of the global sales of such rolled copper foil in 2016.

In 2016, China’s electronic copper foil export volume was 15,874,000 tons, a decrease of 2.5% over the same period of 2015. The export value was US$110.09 million, with a growth rate of -9.7% over the same period. The export volume of electronic copper foil declined for three consecutive years, and the export price was 7439. USD/ton, down 7.3% year-on-year. In 2016, the import volume of copper foil was 114,000 tons, an increase of 8.0% over 2015, and the situation in 2014 was basically the same. The import value of copper foil was 1.1473 billion US dollars, an increase of 5.3% over 2015. The increase in imports of copper foil also contributed to a year-on-year increase of 7.3% in the import and export trade deficit.

New characteristics and new trends in the development of China’s copper foil industry

Since 2016, the electronic copper foil industry has seen a situation that has never been seen before. On the one hand, the lithium battery copper foil market, where the supply side can obtain more profit, is expanding rapidly, and the lithium battery copper foil market is in short supply. On the other hand, many companies inside and outside the industry have begun to invest and expand lithium battery copper foil products. . This caused the supply of copper foil in electronic circuits to be tense in 2016, when the demand for copper foil in the CCL and PCB industry itself increased steadily.

The supply of copper foil in domestic electronic circuits was once tense. In addition to the partial conversion of lithium foil products by global copper foil manufacturers, there are still some downstream CCL and PCB companies facing the obvious price increase of copper foil since August 2016. The quantity and inventory exceeded the conventional quantity in the past, and a small number of suppliers and distributors stocked.

From the end of last year to April to May this year, the Copper Foil Association will calculate the current capacity of the copper foil industry and the new expansion capacity in 2017. The results show that from 2016 to the first half of 2017, a number of investors investing in and expanding copper foil have recognized the huge risks of blind investment in China. For this reason, the scale of investment and the adjustment of variety plans have been made. Some enterprises turned to cast and expand electronic circuit copper foil projects. Therefore, in the coming year, it is expected that the supply balance of electronic circuit copper foil will be restored, and the investment and expansion plan for lithium battery copper foil will also be adjusted with the development of new energy vehicles and energy storage industry.  There are about 20,000 to 30,000 tons of electronic circuit copper foil production capacity in China, which can be converted into lithium battery copper foil production at any time. In the second quarter of 2017, due to changes in market demand, inventory release and the same price, electronic circuit copper foils experienced a large price drop, prompting some manufacturers to convert some of the original electronic circuit copper foil production to produce lithium battery copper. Foil. In May, due to the implementation of the new energy vehicle policy, the lithium battery copper foil market situation has improved and the price has increased. In July, due to the end of stock release and the rise of raw material prices, the electronic circuit copper foil market situation turned better, and the price also increased. Some lithium battery copper foil manufacturers turned back to produce electronic circuit copper foil.

In the past year or two, overseas electronic copper foil enterprises (including some foreign-invested enterprises invested and built in China) are used in high-frequency high-speed copper foil, ultra-thin copper foil, copper foil for HDI board, copper foil for automobile panels, and flexible board. High-performance electrolytic copper foil and other varieties have developed rapidly. The pace of upgrading their new varieties is accelerating, and the market advantage is more obvious. If China’s copper foil enterprises do not accelerate the pace of advancement of electronic circuit copper foil technology in the new copper foil market situation, there will be a greater technological gap.

With the implementation of China’s new energy vehicle policy and the rapid expansion of new energy vehicle production, copper foil used as a negative electrode carrier for lithium-ion batteries has shown a huge increase in demand in the past year. In 2016, the annual production capacity of China’s lithium battery copper foil increased to 70.226 million tons, and the output reached 5.8837 million tons, accounting for 20.2% of the total domestic electrolytic copper foil production.

The development of new energy vehicles requires that the power battery pack be smaller and more powerful. Therefore, in order to increase the energy density of lithium batteries, the development of high quality and thinner lithium battery copper foil has become a new trend. The demand for copper foil of 6μm thick and even 5μm thick lithium battery is increasing. At present, there are only a few copper foil companies in China that can produce and supply them in small quantities, with a total volume of less than 10,000 tons per year. It can be said that the development and stable production of high-strength, high-quality copper foil of 5μm~6μm thick lithium battery has become an important issue in front of our copper foil industry.

Global supply of copper foil

Industrial copper foil is commonly divided into two types: rolled copper foil (RA copper foil) and copper copper foil (ED copper foil). Among them, rolled copper foil has good ductility and is a copper used in early soft board manufacturing. Foil, while electrolytic copper foil has the advantage of lower production costs than calendered copper foil. Since the rolled copper foil is an important raw material of the soft board, the improvement of the characteristics and the price change of the rolled copper foil have a certain influence on the soft board industry.

Since there are fewer manufacturers of rolled copper foil and technically in the hands of some manufacturers, the customer has low mastery of price and supply, so instead of calendering with electrolytic copper foil without affecting product performance. Copper foil is a viable solution. However, in the next few years, because the physical properties of the structure of the copper foil will affect the etching factor, in the thin-lined or thin-formed products, the importance of the high-frequency products to the copper foil will be increased again due to telecommunications considerations.

There are two major obstacles to the production of rolled copper foil, resource barriers and technical barriers. The obstacle of resources means that the production of rolled copper foil needs to be supported by copper raw materials, and it is very important to occupy resources. On the other hand, technical barriers have discouraged more new entrants. In addition to calendering techniques, the techniques of surface treatment or oxidation treatment are also. Most of the world’s largest manufacturers have many technology patents and key technologies, Know How, to increase barriers to entry. If the new entrants post-harvest production and are subject to the cost of the big factory, it is not easy to successfully join the market, so the global rolled copper foil is still a strong and exclusive market.

Development of copper foil

Copper foil is electrodepositedcopperfoil, which is an important material for copper clad laminates (CCL) and printed circuit boards (PCB). In the rapid development of today’s electronic information industry, electrolytic copper foil is called: “neural network” of electronic product signal and power transmission and communication. Since 2002, the production value of printed circuit boards in China has entered the third place in the world. As the substrate material for PCBs, copper clad laminates have become the world’s third largest producer. This has also led to the rapid development of China’s electrolytic copper foil industry in recent years. In order to understand and understand the past, present and future of the development of the world and China’s electrolytic copper foil industry, experts from China Epoxy Resin Industry Association reviewed its development.

From the perspective of the production department of the electrolytic copper foil industry and the development of the market, it can be divided into three major development periods: the United States created the first world copper foil enterprise and the period of the electrolytic copper foil industry; Japanese copper foil The period in which enterprises monopolize the world market in an all-round way; the period in which the world multi-polarization competes for the market.

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