High growth for technical ceramics and increased investment

13th April 2018
Lanna Cooper


As much as Ceramics Expo 2018 will show what the very latest materials contribute, how novel technologies play a crucial role, and what the very many innovators bring to the party, it will necessarily reflect the economic dynamism of the ceramic industry’s constituent parts - and in many cases that means market growth set on a very exciting path indeed.

Technical ceramics, in particular, promise by any generally accepted yardstick to outperform manufacturing growth patterns. Their versatility, durability, efficiency and strength means that apart from the many other benefits they offer, they help user industries to reduce production costs - and where there’s real pressure from customers on price, then this is one effective way to keep profits up.

Let’s take medical ceramics, for instance. Technical ceramics are widely used in a variety of applications, including patient-specific implants, medical devices and surgical instruments. This can range from hip prosthetic femoral heads, dental screws and scaffolds, to microdispensing nozzles, x-ray tubes and pressure sensors, through to an array of complex components for valves, lasers, medical pumps, and electrosurgical assemblies.

A report published in February predicts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% from now until 2022, sending the market at that point to $18.45bn. The study said that the bioinert ceramics segment is expected to grow at the highest rate. Bioinert ceramics exhibit high fracture toughness, low thermal conductivity, resistance to wear and corrosion, and extremely high bending and tensile strength. Ceramics Expo have their fingers on the pulse; five of the global giants cited in this report are exhibitors at Ceramics Expo 2018.

Thermal management and optimised power performance are other areas where a broad range of ceramics has a part to play and high growth is now being forecast in the automotive sector, in particular. The company are already seeing the massive contribution being made by technical ceramics in improving battery technology (both for IC and EV), component lightweighting, brakes, bearings, sensors for electronic controls, advanced lighting systems, specialty glass parts, noise abatement, better valves and pumps and much more besides.

Recent industry research reported elsewhere on the Ceramics Expo wide-ranging website resource suggests that the global automotive ceramic market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.52% through to 2022 (added to which the automotive glass market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of nearly 6.7% through 2025).

The growth on this level in just a single sector is highly significant - we’re talking about an industry that globally is worth around $1 trillion and that spends $105bn annually on R&D. The supply chain is highly integrated and will be represented in depth at the show.

Finally, let’s consider a part of the industry that has used Ceramics Expo as an effective launchpad since its inception - the development, design and manufacture of Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs). Market researchers agree: this is high growth all the way. One recent study thinks we’re looking at a CAGR of 9% for the next few years; another marks it higher at 9.65%. Either way, it means a CMC market heading towards $7.5bn by 2026.

Space/aerospace, defence, energy, power, electronics and automotive are major user industries, relying on CMCs for stability and superior performance at ultra-high temperatures, their critical contribution in lightweighting, and production flexibility (ability to be 3D printed, for example).

These are just a few examples of sustained growth through smart product development - embodied by the Ceramics Expo ethos and its group of around 300 exhibitors.

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