Inorganic metal finishing technology plays an important role in various industries. Components with inorganic metal finishing are widely used in a broad range of applications across the globe. Commercial applications of inorganic metal finishing include automotive, electrical and electronics, industrial and others (including hardware and defense).
With over 35% share, electroplating was the largest segment of the inorganic metal finishing market at the end of 2013. Electroplating is primarily used to deposit metal finishing on the substrates of automotive components; hence, increase in demand for automobiles across the globe is expected to provide further impetus to this process segment. Growth in the inorganic metal finishing market is likely to be restricted by regulations put forth by several regulatory bodies such as the EPA and REACH. Regulations regarding chromium emissions during electroplating and other metal finishing process are anticipated to hamper the growth of inorganic metal finishing technology. However, new environment-friendly technologies are projected to open up opportunities for market participants involved in inorganic metal finishing in the near future.
Automotive applications accounted for the largest share with over 50% of the inorganic metal finishing market in terms of revenue in 2013. Industrial applications was the second-largest application segment of the inorganic metal finishing market, followed by electrical and electronics, and others (including hardware and defense), in 2013. The inorganic metal finishing industry exhibits a low to medium degree of backward integration, as few producers of inorganic metal finishing products are engaged in upstream activities. This backward integration of some of the key market participants provides them with a distinct competitive advantage in terms of better product quality and market dominance.
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Demand for inorganic metal finishing is primarily led by growth in the automobile and steel industries globally. Rise in demand for automobiles, especially in Asia Pacific, has boosted demand for inorganic metal finishing technology in the region. The inorganic metal finishing process is used in large number of components in an automobile. This finishing technology offers high corrosion resistance and improves the durability of the substrates. Therefore, inorganic metal finishing plays a vital role in automotive applications. Growth in industrial activities pertaining to heavy industries and aerospace sectors is also anticipated to be one of the key drivers for the inorganic metal finishing market. Recovering automobile sector in developed economies is another important factor driving the global inorganic metal finishing market. The automotive industry in countries such as the U.S. has been witnessing growth of late. This has further boosted demand for inorganic metal finishing technology, especially for automotive applications, in the region.
Asia Pacific and North America were the major markets for inorganic metal finishing in 2013. With over 35% share in global consumption, Asia Pacific was the largest regional market for inorganic metal finishing in 2013. Leading manufacturers of inorganic metal finishing have recently increased their focus on capacity expansion in Asia Pacific due to rising demand in the region. Recent growth in the automotive industry is anticipated to be a major factor driving demand for inorganic metal finishing in the region. Growth in the automotive industry in emerging as well as developed economies is likely to be the major demand driver for inorganic metal finishing in the next few years. Furthermore, industries such as steel, aerospace and heavy machinery are estimated to be major application segments for the inorganic metal finishing market.
Of late, the usage of environment-friendly technologies in the inorganic metal finishing industry has increased. New market opportunities are available for inorganic metal finishing products, particularly in Asia Pacific and RoW. Several new entrants are keen to establish themselves in the market. Key players operating in the inorganic metal finishing market include Abakan Inc., Metal Finishing Technologies LLC, Sequa Corporation, TIB Chemicals AG, Elementis plc, Rockwood Holdings Inc., Vanchem Performance Chemicals, Atotech Deutschland GmbH, Honeywell International Inc. and Industrial Metal Finishing.
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