The global heat treating market is an amalgamation of operations involving heating, holding, and cooling of metal in the solid state for the purpose of obtaining a particular desirable surface modification or metallurgical properties. The market is projected to grow over the forecast period owing to wide range of applications in various industry verticals. Heat treatment is used to achieve surface hardening, increase ductility and softness, obtain fine grain size, improve cutting properties of tool steels, and improve electrical and magnetic properties. Rising need to develop superior-quality products is one of the major factors driving the market growth.
The use of such processes help organizations improve the structural accuracy of metal products by increasing its tensile and yield strength. Several companies across industry verticals, such as automotive, aerospace, and general machinery, often consider heat treatment processes to develop high precision products. Most of the organizations are managing their manufacturing processes to improve the operational efficiency. Moreover, to make quality and cost-effective products that are competitive in the global markets, companies are now automating their industry operations.
As a part of an operational strategy, manufacturing industries are integrating these processes with their production lines to enhance the overall efficiency. However, the installation cost varies owing to specific requirements of different metals. Different furnace and temperature are required for treating a metal to improve its quality. Moreover, high initial investments may have a negative impact on the industry growth over the forecast period. On the other hand, increasing automation is expected to offer new growth opportunities for the global market over the years to come.
Improving the level of furnace maintainability and controllability by applying Internet of Things (IoT) concept and systems integration is an opportunity yet to be explored. Changing trends to use vacuum furnace instead of a blast furnace is on the rise owing to its benefits over the traditional furnace, such as eco-friendly nature and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Services, equipment, and applications can be the major segments of the heat treating market. Services segment can include carburizing & carbonitriding, hardening, tempering, annealing, stress relieving, and quenching.
Carburizing and annealing, selective hardening, batch type furnaces, vacuum furnace, deep freeze, high-speed tool steels, and salt bath furnaces are the major heat treating equipment types. The process finds applications in various industry verticals including automotive, aerospace, mining and exploration, metallurgical and machining industries, oil and gas, and military. The primary driver for the development of new equipment is rising need for shortening production cycles, reducing carbon footprint, and making the operation profitable through proficient use of utilities. Low-temperature surface modification process will attract higher market shares in the future.
North America is expected to be a key contributor to the global market owing to increased use of vacuum and blast furnace in the regional end-use industries such as aerospace and automotive. Growing demand for military equipment as a result of increasing safety concerns is anticipated to drive the industry in North America region. Asia Pacific and Africa regions are projected to show rapid developments in the forecast period owing to tremendous growth in the industrial sector. In addition, rising demand for vehicles is also expected to contribute toward the market growth. Growing need for business operation efficiency is also expected to have a positive impact on the industry growth over the forecast period.
Industries in the emerging countries of Asia Pacific, such as India, China, Brazil, and Indonesia, are focusing on improving their product quality due to continuous economic advancements. This is expected to show a positive impact on the growth of the regional industry. Some of the key companies in the market are Bluewater Thermal Processing LLC; American Metal Treating (AMT), Inc.; Engineered Heat Treat, Inc.; East-Lind Heat Treat, Inc.; Houston Heat Treat; General Metal Heat Treating, Inc.; Pacific Metallurgical, Inc.; W. P. Keith Company, Inc.; Thermex Metal Treating Ltd.; and Tri-J Heat Treating Company, Inc.
New product launches, partnerships, regional expansion, and M&A activities are the major business strategies followed by most of these companies. For example, in February 2013, Bluewater Thermal Solutions LLC acquired Southwest Heat Treat Services LLC, which offers solutions to the oil and gas industry through its commercial heat treating business segment. This acquisition helped Bluewater Thermal Solutions in increasing its customer base while providing significant end-market diversification.
Research Support Specialist, USA