The global coated glass market is anticipated to exhibit substantial growth over the coming years owing to growth of end-use industries, stringent regulations due to environmental concerns, and favorable government schemes. According to Glass Association of North America (GANA), a glass is coated in order to meet the specific requirements, such as improvement in visibility and solar and thermal performance, and to change its surface characteristics without altering its composition.
The product offers enhanced energy efficiency and helps in improving insulation, solar control, anti-reflection, and hydrophobic properties. It is used for both functional and decorative purposes. Rise in population, rapid urbanization, growing demand for affordable housing, and robust growth of the services sector including IT & ITES are anticipated to drive the market in the coming years.
For example, the finance minister of India proposed to remove the custom duty on solar tempered glass used for manufacturing solar panels. This was an attempt towards setting up a mechanism for buying surplus solar power from rural regions/common people.
Reflective/solar control, low-emissivity (low-E), pyrolytic (hard coat), and sputter (soft coat) are the major product types in the market. Low-E is widely used in construction and automotive sectors as it obstructs the outside heat by reflecting it back. This helps in keeping the house and office cooler. In addition, it protects against UV fading and doesn’t scratch off easily as it is applied in the interior.
On the basis of process, the market can be segmented as pyrolysis and sputtering. In pyrolysis, a thin film coating is applied on the surface at extremely high temperatures during float glass manufacturing, whereas in sputtering, atoms are deposited on glass in a vacuum using momentum exchange process. Sputtering coatings offer a better solar and thermal performance than pyrolytic.
Key applications of the product include consumer electronics, construction, solar, automotive, and others, such as furnishings, medical, telecommunication, military and defense. Coated glass is prominent in high-resolution displays, which are used in consumer electronics. Growing population, increasing disposable income, and increased production of consumer electronics are likely to augment the product demand in coming years.
The coated glass market can be segmented based on geography as North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central and South America, and Middle East and Africa. Asia Pacific has emerged as a leading manufacturer and consumer in the market. According to a database of the World of Glass, there are 307 float lines in Asia out of 448 total in the world, as of 2018. China is the major float glass producing country with 224 float lines, followed by U.S. with 30 float lines.
Asia Pacific holds a prominent share in the market owing to increasing demand for the product, renovation of existing buildings, and presence of key electronics producing countries, such as China, Japan, and India. For instance, in India, Lenovo is expected to increase its smartphone production capacity to 1 million units per month by 2019.
North America is witnessing a sluggish growth owing to tight supply. In 2017, leading manufacturers including Pilkington, Vitro, and Guardian Glass faced unplanned accidents in their plants causing capital damage and issues related to labor and logistics, which ultimately affected production and supply. However, the plants are expected to be operational again, which will balance the demand and supply of the product. Europe is also likely to exhibit momentous growth in the coming years owing to strict regulations by the authorities on the usage of ecofriendly products.
For example, JSC "Salavatsteklo", a prominent Russian manufacturer, increased its capacity line for production by 25% in December 2016, owing to increasing demand for the product. In May 2018, NSG Group announced its plan to invest USD 348.3 million in expanding production capacity of transparent conductive oxide (TCO) coated glass for solar energy market growth.
Manufacturers are striving hard to establish, maintain, and expand their industry share. For example, in 2017, Axalta acquired Spencer Coatings Group and North American industrial wood coatings business of The Valspar Corporation.
Key players in the coated glass market include AGC Solar, BOROSIL, Corning Incorporated, Guardian Glass, Hecker Glastechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Interfloat Corporation, Saint-Gobain, Şişecam Group, and Vitro. The key manufacturers are adopting strategies, such as mergers & acquisitions, expansion of production capacities, and investment in R&D to implement advanced technologies in their product.
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