The lightweight ceramic balls act as an excellent substitute to steel balls in applications such as grinding media, valves, and agitators, which serves as a primary market growth factor.
The superior properties offered by ceramic balls have led to its increased usage in high-end applications such as the chemical, oil & gas, automotive, and aerospace industries, further propelling the growth of the market.
The manufacturing of ceramic balls involves the use of hazardous chemicals, with some of the components soluble in water, threatening the contamination of natural and groundwater reserves.
Such threats to the environment adversely affect market growth, as the curb on worldwide water pollution is one of the primary focus of various federal authorities. The production process of ceramic balls also involves high initial costs, further deterring overall sales revenue of the market.
The rise in demand for ceramic balls in emerging countries and the potential application of ceramic balls in medical implants, devices, and instrumentation is expected to present newer opportunities for business expansion to market players.
As ceramic balls continue to replace steel balls in ball mills and industrial machinery, new product launches will pave the path for continued development of the market. For instance, in July 2018, Schaeffler AG launched new high-speed spindle bearings in X-life quality, equipped with high-performance ceramic balls which allow the performance of motor spindles to be increased even further.
The global ceramic balls market is segmented by function into inert and active ceramic balls. The active ceramic ball segment leads by market share owing to its role as an adsorbent, desiccant, and catalyst carrier in petroleum, fertilizer, and gas separation industries, with improved strength-to-weight ratio and high thermal stability driving demand of end-products.
By material, the global ceramic balls market is categorized into alumina, silicon, zirconia, and others. The alumina ceramic ball is the leading segment by market share, as it provides better wear resistance and ability to withstand high temperatures. The silicon ceramic segment is expected to register the fastest growth rate during the owing to its superior abrasion-resistance and low-density properties, and industrial use as ceramic aerospace bearings.
The global ceramic balls market is categorized by the application into bearing, grinding, valve, and others. Ceramic balls are most widely used in ball mills as bearing materials, since the end-products are harder than metals, reducing frictional contact between the ceramic balls and bearing track.
Based on end-user, the market is segmented into automotive, oil & gas, chemical, and others. The demand for ceramic balls is most significant in the chemical industry, followed by oil & gas sector.
The utilization of ceramic balls to increase operational efficiency of ball mills and catalytic reactions are the primary factors growing demand for ceramic balls in the chemical industry. The application of ceramic balls in oil & gas sector is also expected to witness healthy rate owing to use of ceramic balls in the removal of mercury from natural gas and hydrocracking applications.
The global ceramic balls market is segmented by geography into North America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World (RoW).
Asia-Pacific region is the leading region by market share, owing to rapid growth in industrialization and manufacturing activities, with both chemical and automotive industry poised to grow at a stable pace, further increasing market growth.
China and India will be the key contributors to the overall growth rate, with an increase in foreign investment in the emerging economies propelling the technological development of ceramic balls market.
Europe is the second largest segment by market share, where the demand for ceramic balls is driven by its application as a grinding aid in ball mills and oil & gas industry for mercury removal. The companies based in this region focus on the technological excellence of their products to maintain their competitive edge over others.
For instance, in July 2018, Coorstek, Inc. announced the inauguration of a new ceramic research and development center in Uden, The Netherlands, aimed at expansion of production capabilities in the European market.
Key Players in the Market
The primary market players involved in the manufacturing and selling of ceramic balls include Coorstek, Inc., Honeywell International Inc., Axens SA, Toshiba Materials Co., Ltd., and Industrial Tectonics Inc.
The companies attempt to maintain their competitive advantage over others through strategic partnerships and continued investment in product development.
For instance, in July 2017, Toshiba Materials Co., Ltd. started a full-scale collaboration with Kyocera Corporation to develop and manufacture silicon nitride ceramic components, with the purpose of providing highly functional products and accelerate commercialization efforts.
1. Axens SA
2. Devon catalyst Pvt.Ltd.
3. Coorstek, Inc.
4. Fineway Inc.
5. Global Precision Ball & Roller
6. Honeywell International Inc.
7. Industrial Tectonics Inc.
8. Pingxiang Funeng Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.
9. Topack Ceramics Pvt. Ltd.
10. Toshiba Materials Co., Ltd.
Key Takeaways from this report
The active ceramic ball is the leading segment by function owing to its application in petroleum, fertilizer, and gas separation industries. The better abrasion-resistance and low-density properties of silicon ceramic balls have driven its market demand, with the chemical industries being the most significant segment for ceramic balls by the application.
Geographically, Asia-Pacific is the largest segment owing to rapid growth in industrialization and manufacturing activities, with claims of ceramic balls increasing in chemical and automotive sectors.
The companies are focused on expanding business reach through acquisitions and establishments of subsidiaries in emerging countries to meet the growing demand for ceramic balls market in the region. For instance, in November 2015, US-based Industrial Tectonics Inc. opened up a new company subsidiary in Japan to strengthen their regional market presence and expand global footprint.
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