The global thermal spray equipment market size was valued at USD 375.11 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 571.35 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 4.79% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Thermal spraying is a process that enhances or restores the surface of a solid substance. The process can apply coatings to various materials and components to resist wear, erosion, cavitation, corrosion, abrasion, and heat. Applications for thermal spray coatings include high-pressure nozzles, compressor air seals, and combustion chambers for rockets. Chromium cobalt, aluminum oxide, and chromium carbide coatings are utilized in turbine air seals, fuel nozzles, turbine vanes, and air seals.
Thermal Spray Equipment is utilized for thermal spray, which consists of a heat source and a powder or wire coating material that is melted into microparticles and applied onto metal or sometimes plastic surfaces. The coating applied in the thermal spraying process is heated to a very high temperature before being sprayed onto the surface. After that, the heating process can be finished using combustion or electrical methods (such as plasma or arc heating).
Aircraft components are subjected to harsh environments, especially high temperatures, and extreme pressures. Using thermal spray in the aerospace sector helps protect expensive engine components by extending the component life and increasing fuel efficiency dramatically, thereby improving the aircraft's performance. Additionally, using thermal spray reduces the repair time of components, often eliminating the need for costly inventory replacements.
Coating thermal spray requires various thermal spray equipment, from spray guns and coating systems to spare parts and feeder equipment. With the thermal spray coating market growing, the equipment market, too, may grow through the years. Further, according to Boeing Commercial Market Outlook 2021–2040, 43,610 aircraft are expected to be delivered during 2021–2040, with a market service value of USD 9,540 billion. The increasing number of aircraft deliverables is expected to increase manufacturing activities in the sector, which is predicted to accelerate the market during the forecast period.
The thermal spray process is the most versatile technique to prepare ceramic coatings. Various materials, which melt without decomposing or vaporizing, can be spray coated in this process. They are being used more frequently in various industrial and commercial sectors, including automotive, aerospace, construction, and oil and gas, due to their capacity to manage thermal or electrical conductivity as well as other crucial properties and reduce or prevent wear and tear of components caused due to erosion, abrasion, and corrosion.
Furthermore, thermal spray ceramic coatings are mainly deposited via plasma-spraying because of their high melting temperatures and low thermal conductivity. The ability to bear forces at high temperatures makes them appropriate for use in particular applications. The increase in demand and competition between the OEMs of industrial gas turbines for achieving improved efficiencies are the prime factors boosting the growth and popularity of thermal spray coatings.
The limited availability of data about the reliability and consistency of thermal spray coatings, such as thermal spray ceramic coatings, poses a potential challenge for manufacturers and may hinder or slow down the market's growth. Also, the inability of the technology providers to simulate the effects of numerous mechanical factors acting in service conditions on the thermal spray ceramic-based coatings and their systems is troubling consumers. Such factors are estimated to impede the market growth.
In the power generation sector, thermal spray coating systems are required to coat combustion baskets, compressor wheels, compressor blades, diaphragms, fuel nozzles, impellers, nozzle guide vanes, shroud tiles, transition pieces, turbine buckets, turbine nozzles, turbine rotors, transition ducts, etc. Electricity forms a major power generation segment across the main components of energy demand. According to IEA, in 2022-2024, electricity demand will grow by 2.7% annually. However, high energy prices might bring some uncertainty.
Almost 90% of the increase in net demand is expected to be met by renewable energy sources, which are expected to expand by 8% annually. The nuclear-based generation will increase by 1% yearly throughout the same period. Coal-fired electricity in 2021, which witnessed growth of 9%, could supply more than half of the rise in demand. As a result of gas-to-coal switching brought about by rising natural gas costs, coal generation reached an all-time high. In addition, global power demand is expected to rise by 75% (on average) by 2030. More than 2,457 gigawatts (GW) of power capacity are estimated to be installed globally over the next 25 years, predicts the Global Energy Outlook - International Energy Agency. All these factors are likely to create opportunities for growth in the market.
Based on product type, the global thermal spray equipment market is bifurcated thermal spray coating systems, spray guns and nozzles, feeder equipment, dust collection equipment, spare parts, noise-reducing enclosures, and others.
The spray guns and nozzles segment dominates the global market and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.63% over the forecast period. Thermal spray guns and nozzles are one of the most important components of thermal spray equipment. The coating quality and efficiency depend on the appropriate use of spray guns and nozzles employed for the spraying process. Nozzles in the plasma guns are subjected to more than 10,000 °C during the coating process. At the same time, the guns are expected to have an optimum heat transfer through the uniform distribution of cooling water within the nozzle. The nozzle material is selected to have great thermal conductivity to dissipate the generated heat energy. The types of thermal spray guns used are plasma guns, controlled atmosphere plasma guns, HVOF guns, electric arc wire guns, combustion wire guns, and combustion powder spray guns.
Spare parts play an important role in prolonging the life cycle of thermal spray equipment. They are needed for preventive maintenance and part failures. Spare parts are necessary to maintain uninterrupted and efficient productivity, as the equipment experiences wear and tear over time due to the energies involved. Spare parts include gun and nozzle parts, such as wire guides, air caps, electrodes, barrels, nozzles, and powder injectors. Feeder spare parts include stirrers, gas injectors, seal packages, suction equipment, spreaders, and turbine vibrator assemblies.
Based on process, the global thermal spray equipment market is bifurcated into combustion and electric energy.
The electric energy segment is the most significant contributor to the market share and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.98% over the forecast period. Detonation gun coatings are used extensively for wear and corrosion resistance and many other types of protection. They are frequently specified for the most demanding applications, yet often can be the most economical choice because they provide a long life. The process differs from combustion because it employs electric energy for melting or fusing the materials to create the required coating. Wire arc, plasma, and cold spray are the three thermal spray coating processes that utilize electric energy.
Low-velocity combustion method uses the combustion of gases to melt the material in powder, rod, or wire form and propel it onto the substrate to create the required coating. Since it is relatively economical, combustion spraying is employed primarily in low-temperature applications. A high-velocity combustion process or HVOF (high-velocity oxy-fuel) is expected to witness the fastest expansion among the combustion processes. High-Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) thermal spray coating is a technique used to improve or fix a component's surface (properties or shape). It is frequently used in the medical and aerospace industries.
Based on the end-user industry, the global thermal spray equipment market is segmented into aerospace, industrial gas turbines, automotive, electronics, oil and gas, medical devices, energy and power, and others.
The aerospace segment owns the highest market share and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 5.63% during the forecast period. In the aerospace sector, thermal sprays are extensively employed as protective coatings to protect aircraft components and repair old ones. They protect engine turbine blades and actuation systems from providing high thermal resistance and longevity. Thermal sprays are largely employed in jet engine components, such as crankshafts, piston rings, cylinders, valves, etc. In addition, they are also applied in the coating of landing gear (bearings and axles inside the landing gear) to withstand the forces during landing and take-off. Thermal spray coatings impart the required surface conditions to increase the engine components' service life.
Thermal spray is used in the electronics segment for providing dielectric coatings for low and high-voltage uses. The thermal spray shields electronics from electromagnetic and radio interference (ESR and RFI). The electronic coating segment's most used thermal spray equipment systems include flame spray, plasma, and wire arc. The global consumer electronics industry has been growing rapidly due to the consistently increasing demand for cellular phones, gaming systems, portable computing devices, and other personal electronic devices, driving the demand for thermal spray coating equipment in this segment.
Based on region, the global thermal spray equipment market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant global thermal spray equipment market shareholder and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.37% during the forecast period. China is the leading revenue contributor in this region. China's thermal spray equipment market is expanding robustly, reflecting the manufacturing sector of the country's aerospace and automotive industries. In addition, China is among the world's top steel manufacturers, and steel mills safeguard their equipment with thermal spray coatings. The Chinese aerospace policy is one of the most comprehensive efforts to achieve the highest aerospace development and production level. China has the second-largest domestic aviation market in the world. Moreover, with passenger traffic growing 6.6% annually, it has the world's fastest-growing domestic aviation industry. According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), China had the largest automotive production base in the world, with a total vehicle output of 26.08 million units in 2021, up 3% from the 25.23 million units produced the year before. Such factors drive regional market growth.
North America is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.99% over the forecast period. North America comprises the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The U.S. dominates the regional market. The U.S. is among the largest market for thermal spray equipment owing to the presence of a large aerospace industry which is the main end-user industry. The electronics market in the U.S. is the biggest in the entire world. Due to cutting-edge technology, increased R&D facilities, and increased consumer demand, the electronic market is anticipated to grow substantially. Furthermore, the United States, home to the largest military aircraft fleet globally, has plans to expand the military aircraft fleet to stay ahead of the rising fleet in countries such as Russia and China. The United States is one of the largest countries in military and defense spending, accounting for around 39% of the total global defense spending in 2020. The country had a budget of USD 703.7 billion for the Department of Defense in 2021. Thus, the factors above boost the market in this region.
Germany dominates the European thermal spray equipment market. Germany is home to a comprehensive range of manufacturers, including those who make engines, equipment, materials, and other components and integrate full systems. Germany is among the top places for the production of airplanes. According to the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, the aerospace sector is significant in Germany, with a solid industrial base and anticipated high growth rates in the coming years. In order to meet the growing aviation demand, around 30–35 thousand new aircraft are predicted to be in operation within the next 20 years. The increased aircraft production after the COVID-19 recovery is also predicted to contribute to the market expansion during the forecast period.
The South American region is further bifurcated into Argentina, Brazil, and the rest of South America. Brazil is the leading revenue contributor in the South American region. Brazil is a host for establishing manufacturing plants for some of the largest U.S. pharmaceutical companies. The Government of Brazil has announced the execution of Federal Law No 13.097, which allows the allocation of additional areas for the healthcare industry, where foreign capital is now allowed for investments. This is expected to create more favorable conditions for FDI in the healthcare industry. Various manufacturers started setting up their plants or signed joint venture agreements with local manufacturers to increase the production of medical devices. The trend mentioned above in the end-user industries will likely boost the market.
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