The soft magnetic materials market is expected to grow at a considerable CAGR on a global scale over the forecast period. Key drivers for this market are the rise in demand for soft magnetic materials from the automotive industry, disruptive innovations that have led to new product launches, prolific use of sintered soft magnetic materials for electrical motors, transformers, and alternators, and rapid upgradation of infrastructure. Burgeoning demand in developing countries will open new avenues for this market over the forecast horizon. Extensive R&D in this field is spurring market growth. On the other hand, volatile raw material prices are restraining market growth. Reducing eddy current losses in soft magnetic materials is the main challenge for this market.
The market ecosystem consists of manufacturers, vendors, end-user industries, and regulatory bodies. It is a horizontal market catering to various downstream industry verticals like automotive, electronics and telecommunications, and electrical. Although the market for soft magnetic materials is mature, disruptive innovation for harvesting renewable energy and renewed focus on increasing energy efficiency has led to a positive shift in the market dynamics.
Automotive applications for soft magnetic materials include induction coils, and fuel injectors in diesel engines. Electrical applications include stators of brushless DC motors, stepper motors, brushed DC motors, switch reluctance motors, claw pole motors, transformers, and alternators. Insulated iron is used to replace lamination in electric motors. Electronic applications of soft magnetic materials include relays, solenoids, magnetic, and electromagnets used in the circuitry for receiving radio signals and microwaves. They are also used in actuators for valve control, impact printer heads, and magnetic sensors.
Soft magnetic materials market is segmented on the basis of material type, application, end user industry, and the geographical region. The segments based on material type are soft ferrite, electrical steel, amorphous steel, cold-rolled lamination steel, cobalt, silicon steels, low carbon steel alloy, aluminium, phosphorus, chromium, and sintered iron powder. The applications of soft magnetic materials include alternators, motors transformers, electromagnets, solenoids, relays, choke coils, loudspeakers and earphones et al. The end user industries for this market are electrical, electronics and telecommunications, automotive, and others. The geographical regions for the soft magnetic materials market are Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.
Electrical steel has prolific applications in motors, generators, transformers, and alternators. It has superior properties like low coercivity, high electrical resistivity to iron, high permeability, acts as an electrical insulator and has less eddy current losses. It is hence accounted for the largest market share currently. This trend is expected to continue in the forecast period. Cold-rolled lamination steel and amorphous steel will follow suit. Motors have a chunk of the market share and are deemed to dominate in the forecast period.
Due to various applications of soft magnetic materials in anti-lock brake systems, fuel injectors, and compressors, the automotive industry has so far led the market and will reach the high water mark in terms of CAGR in the forecast period. Asia Pacific region aces the market for soft magnetic materials due to presence of established players, rapidly growing automotive and electronics industry, and rising industrialization in developing nations. The motors segment is projected to witness high demand in Asia Pacific in the forecast period. India and China will witness high demand over the forecast period, due to the use of grain-oriented steel for upgrading the current grid infrastructure.
Key players in the soft magnetic material market are SG Technologies Ltd, Vacuumschmelze GmBH & Co Ltd, Steward Advanced Materials, Mate Co Ltd, GKN Sinter Metals, Hitachi Metals Ltd, Sintex A/S, Toshiba Materials Co Ltd, AMES SA, Daido Steel Co Ltd, Fluxtrol Inc, FJ Industries, Arnold Magnetic Technologies, Powder Metal Group (PMG).
Amongst the M&A activities, Compass Diversified Holdings acquired Arnold Magnetic Technologies in 2012.
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