The spark plasma sintering (SPS) market is expected to register a CAGR of over 6% during the forecast period (2020 - 2025). Sintering is the process of making objects from powder, by heating the material in a furnace below its melting point so that bonding takes place by diffusion of atoms. This leads to individual powder particles adhering to each other in a dense compact.
- SPS is regarded as a rapid sintering method in which the heating power is not only distributed over the volume of the powder compact homogeneously in a macroscopic scale, but also the heating power is dissipated precisely at the locations in the microscopic level, where energy is required for the sintering process, namely at the contact points of the powder particles.
- The demand for powder based high strength components for the application in automotive and aerospace is continuously increasing. Growing advances in sintering and microstructural processing for the fabrication of powder-based materials is driving the market for spark plasma sintering processes.
- Moreover, the SPS process offers features like enhanced grain sliding, deformation, and micro level grain size control which differentiates the technology from other advanced sintering processes; also fueling the demand for the products produced with SPS technology.
- On the other hand, there are complexities associated with the narrow temperature range during reaction for different material processing, which may lead to inefficient production of the material. This factor is limiting the SPS market growth to an extent.
Scope of the Report
The SPS technology is used to produce powder based materials by molding at very high temperature with high density. Spark Plasma sintering is one of the sintering approaches to process biomaterials in laboratory. The scope of the study for spark plasma sintering market is limited to its applications in a wide range of end-user vertical globally.
Key Market Trends
Defense Sector is Expected to Grow Significantly
- Titanium is the most sort after metal for military applications, used in cutting-edge nuclear submarines, fighter jets, as it offers corrosion resistance that extend the life, as well as for light-weight requirements, like armored vehicles. However, the metal is ten times more expensive than steel and accounts for colossal production time as well.
- The emergence of the SPS methods enables the production of titanium powder/particulate in hardly two steps. This method has found a vast expansion of titanium parts and equipment throughout the military. Further, it also enables the creation of custom body armors for soldiers that just involve digitally scanning the soldier, creating a graphite mold via CNC machining, and sintering boron carbide powder into customized plates.
- With a greater focus on improving military technology and equipment, the armed forces across the world are looking into investing in this technology. For instance, The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Kennametal Manufacturing UK Ltd. have partnered to develop full-size ceramic armor components for personnel and vehicle protection. The EUR 2 million joint project investment in the Newport, South Wales facility, to establish Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) Furnace.
Asia-Pacific Region to Witness Significant Growth
- The Asia-Pacific region is expected to witness significant growth for the demand of spark plasma sintering materials. The economies in the region are growing rapidly with the presence of the fastest developing nations like India and China. The healthcare, energy, and electronics segments are also propelling in the region.
- The growing compliance on international quality standards, the medical tourism industry is growing in the region. The customized bio-materials like artificial replacement for bones requires high strength and durability. According to the National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS), hip replacement surgery cost in India is lower by at least fifth the cost in western countries. Attracting foreign patients, the demand for SPS joint replacement biomaterials are growing.
- The countries in the region are also in the top listings of highest spenders for military and defense. In 2018, China spent 1.9% of its GDP in the sector, which represents the second highest spender after the United States. Also, the spendings are increasing year on year towards the development of military equipment and soldier armors.
- Moreover, ISRO has released its 10-year plan for the upcoming project which is going to demand robust and customized products for its applications and will fuel the SPS market growth in the region.
The spark plasma sintering market is consolidated with the presence of key players like Thermal Technology LLC dominating the market. The service provider requires high capital cost, and expertise with the technology for the installation is challenging the entry of new players in the market.
- January 2018 - One of the leading producers of 3D materials, Alcoca Corporation has announced the opening of a USD 60 million metal powder production facility in Pittsburgh. The company aims to use the spark plasma sintering technology to produce industrial volumes of aluminum, nickel and titanium powders for 3D printing customers.
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