Ceramic fiber is composed of long flexible, interwoven fibers that are manufactured by the process known as ‘spun’ which yields a lightweight, strong, and durable product. These fiber is also known as high-temperature insulation wool (HTIW). These fibers are made of aluminosilicate materials that are controlled with the help of high temperature furnace melting and fiberizing process. The global ceramic fiber market is to progress at a considerable rate during the forecast period, owing to the increasing demand of technologically advanced, lightweight, less toxic, and renewable products in the market.
The typical application areas of this fiber include refining and petrochemical, reformer and pyrolysis furnaces, gaskets and expansion joints, tube seals, high temperature pipe, duct and turbine insulation, and various others.
Insight by Type
On the basis of type, the ceramic fiber market is segmented into refractory ceramic fiber (RCF), AES Wool, and others. Among these, RCF type category holds the larger share in the market, due to increasing demand of low-cost, low heat storage, high thermal stability fiber. However, AES wool type category is anticipated to register the highest growth in the market during the forecast period, which is attributed to its properties including low bio-persistence and better characteristics.
Insight by Product Form
Based on product form, the ceramic fiber market is segmented into blanket, board, paper, module, and others. Among all these, the blanket category is anticipated to hold the largest share in the market, which is majorly attributed to the increasing demand of insulation material from different industries including metal, shipping, automobile, and space. Though, the fastest growth is projected to register by module category, due to their suitability at different temperature ranges and design versatility.
Insight by End-User
Based on end-user, the market is segmented into refining and petrochemical, iron and steel, power generation, aluminum, and others. The refining and petrochemical industry segment is the major consumer of this fiber in the market. The demand is majorly fueled by the increasing need of lowering operating cost, lowering energy use in furnace linings, walls, and roofs, increasing reliability, and others, which is driving the growth of the ceramic fiber market. In this industry, this fiber is commonly used in boilers and fired heaters, whichoffers efficient solutions for energy requirement in the industry.
Superior properties, growing demand for refractory ceramic fibers, and increasing high-temperature industrial furnace use are the major factors driving the ceramic fiber market growth. Superior properties of this fiber are among the major factors that are helping in driving its demand in the market. Some of the properties includes low thermal conductivity, low heat storage, thermal shock resistance, high tensile strength, easy installation, sound absorption, no binder, no dry out time required, and others. Also, this material can be used with temperature ranges from 1000°F (538°C) to 2600°F (1425°C), resulting in increasing demand for various applications.
High cost of production and limited availability are identified as major challenge in the ceramic fiber market, which can potentially hinder the market growth. The fixed capital cost of manufacturing this fiber is high and cycle time is slow. Costs can fluctuate on how much is being produced per unit of time. The price can be lowered by producing the fiber with much less capital requirement at low sales volume. All these factors are posing a challenge in the market growth.
The manufacturing of these fibers includes three steps including preparation of bulk, preceramic material to spun; and then spinning the bulk material into a green fiber; and finally heat treating the spun green fiber to convert this into ceramic fiber. The most effective way to lower down the costs of these fibers is to increase the production volume, as all other efforts to reduce fiber cost will have very less impact as compared to increases production volume.
During the forecast period, Asia-Pacific is anticipated to witness the highest growth in the ceramic fiber market, owing to the growth of various industries such as automotive, construction, manufacturing, and other industries. Along with that, the growing investment in the research and development to encourage the use of less-toxic products in the region are also contributed towards the increasing demand of the product in the region.
Some of the major players operating in the ceramic fiber industry are Unifrax I LLC, Luyang Energy-Saving Materials Co., Ltd., Morgan Advanced Materials Plc, Ibiden Co., Ltd., Fibrecast Inc., Yeso Insulating Products Co. Ltd., Nutec Fibratec, Isolite Insulating Products Co. Ltd., Ceramsource, Inc., Pyrotek Inc., and ADL Insulflex Inc.