Coherent Market Insights

Refractories Market to surpass US$ 44.72 Bn by 2031

Refractories Market to surpass US$ 44.72 Bn by 2031 - Coherent Market Insights

Publish In: May 02, 2024

The refractories market is estimated to be valued at US$ 34.13 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 3.9% over the forecast period (2024-2031). Industrial refractories continue dominating the refractories markets. Furthermore, the increasing focus towards sustainability will propel the demand for green refractories.

Market Dynamics:

The growth of the refractories market is driven by the increasing steel production around the globe and rapid urbanization in emerging economies. Steel production is one of the major end-use industries for refractories as refractory materials are used to line blast furnaces, basic oxygen furnaces, electric arc furnaces, and ladles. According to the World Steel Association (WSA), the global crude steel production increased by 3.7% to reach 1,869.9 million tons (Mt) in 2021. Rapid urbanization in emerging countries such as China, India, Indonesia, and others is also augmenting the demand for steel in construction activities, which, in turn, is driving the refractories market growth. Refractory materials are crucial for steel production as they protect steel-making vessels from wear and tear at high temperatures.

Market Derivers: Increasing demand from iron and steel industry is driving the refractories market

The iron and steel industry is one of the largest end-use industries for refractories. Refractories are used in basic oxygen furnaces, electric arc furnaces, ladle furnaces, and casting ladles in iron and steel plants. The steel industry consumes around 45-50% of total refractories production globally. With rapid urbanization and industrialization happening across developing regions, the demand for steel is increasing at a significant rate. Developing economies in Asia Pacific such as China and India are witnessing high economic growth which is fuelling infrastructure development and construction activities. This is significantly driving the demand for steel and in turn boosting the refractories market.

Market Drivers: Growth in global cement production acts as a driver

Refractories are widely used in cement manufacturing kilns to withstand high operating temperatures. Cement is a crucial construction material that sees rising demand with increasing construction of residential and commercial buildings worldwide. According to some estimates, cement production is expected to grow at over 4% annually till 2030. Developing countries in Asia and Africa are anticipated to contribute to the major share of growth in cement output. This burgeoning cement industry will propel the demand for refractory materials used in kilns and other processing equipment.

Market Restraints: Volatility in raw material prices poses challenges

The raw materials used in refractory production such as bauxite, magnesite, chromite, andalusite, etc. experience price fluctuations depending on their availability and demand-supply forces in the market. Any variation in the cost of these materials affects the production cost of finished refractory products. Also, since refractories make up a significant percentage of operating expenses in some industries, volatile raw material costs make business planning difficult. This acts as a restraining factor for growth and profitability in the refractories industry.

Market Restraints: Stringent environmental regulations impact manufacturing

Most refractory manufacturing units deploy polluting conventional technologies with little environmental considerations. However, increasing awareness about climate change and industrial pollution have led governments worldwide to implement stringent emission control norms. For example, the European Union has imposed strict regulations on emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and dust particulates from industrial facilities. Complying with such laws requires expensive technologies and processes, raising production costs. This poses as a challenge, especially for small players operating with limited budgets.

Market Opportunities: Development of advanced non-clay refractories

Traditionally, refractories were predominantly made from fireclay and magnesite. However, recent advancements in materials science have led to the development of advanced non-clay refractories using low-cement castables, monolithic refractories, and other innovative compositions. These new generation refractories offer better corrosion resistance, flexibility, and thermal stability. Their adoption especially in steel and cement plants is gaining ground. This presents new revenue opportunities for market players dealing in innovation and next-gen products.

Market Opportunities: Growth in the demand from emerging end-use industries

In addition to traditional sectors like iron & steel, cement; refractories are witnessing expanding application in newer fields like copper, aluminum, glass manufacturing, and petrochemical industries. Countries like India, Vietnam, and Indonesia are attracting heavy investments in non-ferrous metals, petrochemical plants, and specialized glass production. This emerging demand from diversifying end-use base offers a promising outlook for refractory sales outside conventional markets in future. Manufacturers can tap into these non-conventional sectors with customized product portfolios.

In conclusion, factors like growing steel and cement output along with emerging demand from non-traditional sectors will drive gains in the global refractories market going forward. However, volatility in raw material prices and stringent emission regulations pose challenges, necessitating innovative product development by industry players.


Key Developments:

  • In April 2022, Saint-Gobain acquired Monofrax, a U.S.-based manufacturer of fused cast refractories. This strategic acquisition is projected to enhance Saint-Gobain's presence in the American market.
  • In June 2023, INTOCAST AG announced its intention to acquire EXUS Refractories S.p.A, an Italy-based company, to modernize its production facility. This acquisition will strengthen INTOCAST AG's range of refractory products, setting it up for long-term growth.
  • In April 2023, RHI Magnesita acquired the operations of seven refractory specialists in the U.S., India, and Europe. These specialists, with a revenue of USD 110 million and a profit before tax (PBT) of USD 12 million in 2022, aim to introduce innovative products and technologies, significantly enhancing the company's global offerings.
  • In October 2021, Intocast expanded its presence in the Americas by acquiring Pyrol, a Mexico-based manufacturer of refractory products and casting auxiliaries.
  • In September 2021, Plibrico Company, LLC finalized the acquisition of Redline Industries, Inc., a leader in innovative products for high-temperature furnace protection. This move strengthened Plibrico's position in the market, providing customers with reliable refractory solutions and broadening its product range.

Key Players:

Morgan Advanced Materials plc, Corning Incorporated, Shinagawa Refractories, Saint-Gobain, RHI Magnesia, Minera; Technologies Inc., Imerys, Sibelco, Refratechnik Holding GmbH, Krosaki Harima Corporation, INTOCAST AG, Plibrico Company, LLC, EXUS Refractories S.p.A, Pyrol, Redline Industries, Inc., HarbisonWalker International, Vesuvius plc, Resco Products, Inc., Calderys, Krosaki Harima Corporation, and Imerys Group

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