The global specialty carbon black market size was USD 1.64 billion in 2015. Increasing consumption across end-use industries such as packaging, automotive, paints & coatings and textile is expected to drive growth.
Increasing demand from plastics industry for various products such as pipes, extruded profiles, hoses, and belts is anticipated to drive demand. The growth of polymer industry in emerging economies of Asia Pacific and Latin America is expected to remain a key driving factor for market growth over the next eight years.
U.S. specialty carbon black market revenue by grade, 2014 - 2024 (USD Million)
Specialty grades such as conductive, fiber and food cater to end-use industries such as conductive polymers, paints & coatings, battery electrodes, printing inks, polyester fiber, PP masterbatches, specialty packaging, film & sheets and consumer molded parts.
They possess superior conductive properties, low ash, sulfur & metal content and provide protection from UV radiations. In addition, Specialty carbon blacks provide pigmentation, UV protection, and conductivity to various coating applications including automotive (primer basecoats and clearcoats), marine, aerospace, wood, and industrial coatings.
Specialty carbon black is majorly obtained through high-end refining process by scorching of hydrocarbons with four major processes such as lampblack, furnace black, acetylene black and thermal black. It is the unadulterated form with a minimum content of ash and other metals.
It finds vast utilization in the non-rubber automotive application and plays a vital to produce lightweight and fuel-efficient passenger’s cars. Due to its extensive usage in non-rubber applications, it remains unaffected from cyclical nature of rubber & tire industry.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set regulations that mandate GHG reporting in the U.S. These regulations provided the impetus for the development of a new ASTM International standard, ASTM D7633, which is the only test method for assessing carbon content.
Opportunities for specialty blacks in paints & coatings include electrically conductive coatings which can be used in nanotubes. They can be further used to increase the speed of thermosetting resins.
Conductive emerged as the dominant grade segment owing to increasing demand conductive polymers in various end-use industries such as automotive and consumer goods. They further find wide application scope in organic transistors, sensors, antistatic packaging, textiles and solar cells. Technological developments in paint & coatings industry to widen application scope is expected to fuel conductive carbon black consumption over the forecast period.
Fiber grade is expected to witness significant growth owing to increasing demand from textile industry for applications such as polyester fiber, PP masterbatches, and other synthetic fibers. The segment is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of over 5% from 2016 to 2024.
It is extensively used in the textile industry owing to high reproducible characteristics, low environment impact, strong light fastness and minimal colorant migration. They can be used for polyester, nylon, polypropylene and other synthetic fibers.
Food contact grade is expected to witness prolific growth over the next eight years owing to increasing convenience food consumption in emerging economies of Asia Pacific and Latin America such as India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil, and Argentina. Packaging is expected to emerge as the leading application for food-grade segment.
Asia Pacific market accounted for over 40% of the global volume share in 2015. Increasing automotive sales along with rising polymer demand from consumer goods industry is anticipated to drive regional market growth over the next eight years.
The region has been successful in manufacturing low-cost carbon black which has compelled manufacturers in Europe and North America to shut down their production lines. Major manufacturers have shifted their production base towards Asia Pacific to cut on their manufacturing cost and gain competitive advantage.
Economic recovery in the U.S. and expanding automotive and commercial building activities are likely to foster product demand in wires & cables, molded plastics and paints & coatings. There is significant demand for food-grade specialty black in the region owing to the growth of packaged food and beverage industry.
Recovery of automotive and construction industries in Europe is another recent development expected to fuel demand in the region. Technological advancements have paved the way for innovative packaging options in processed foods across various categories, thus driving growth in the region.
The specialty black market is fragmented with few companies accounting for a majority share in the market. Major industry participants include Orion Engineered Carbon, Aditya Birla, Philips Carbon Black Limited, and Cabot Corporation. Other prominent players operating in the global market include OMSK Group, Sid Richardson, Tokai Co. Ltd., Atlas Organic Pvt. Ltd., Continental Carbon Co., Cabot Corporation, China Synthetic Rubber Corporation (CSRC), Himadri Companies & Industries Ltd. (HCIL).
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