Extrusion is used to create physical objects from a fixed cross-sectional profile. Material extrusion is very similar to a hot glue gun; filament is heated to a malleable temperature and then it is thrust out (extruded) through a nozzle. A CAD model is sliced into several layers. G-code is used by the nozzle to draw one layer at a time with the heated plastic, which cools down eventually allowing it to retake a solid shape. The material extrusion market is closely linked to the 3D printer market as it is a widely used technique in inexpensive, hobby or domestic use printers. Metal extrusion may also help in increasing the material strength. Its main advantage is the use of readily available ABS plastic, which can produce models with a structural character very close to the production model. It is better suited than injection moulding to low volume cases. The material extrusion market mainly serves the food packaging, automobile and construction industry globally.
Material Extrusion Market Drivers
One of the main drivers of the material extrusion market is the booming demand for ready to eat, packaged food. People in several sectors like Information Technology or Investment Banking lead very busy lives, leaving them with little to no time to cook their food. Hence, they much rather prefer ready-made pasta, breakfast cereals, snacks bars or other foodstuffs which are both quick to consume along with being healthy. Another factor responsible for the growth of the material extrusion market is the booming automobile industry. Aluminium is a strong yet lightweight material which is gradually replacing steel in cars around the globe. Aluminium extrusion is preferred over other metals because aluminium contributes to making greener, more fuel-efficient cars and thus reducing the carbon footprint of companies and their customers.
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Aluminium is also easily recyclable and resistant to any form of corrosion, ensuring that the car is sustainable in the long run. The third driver is the building and construction industry. Rapid urbanisation in China and India requires a great deal of construction material like aluminium & steel. China is already the world’s largest steel producer and is anticipated to remain so for the future. All these reasons ensure a steady demand for the material extrusion market.
Material Extrusion Market Restraints
There are a few challenges faced by companies operating in the material extrusion market. The accuracy and speed of materials are much lower when compared to other processes. The accuracy is also constrained to the material nozzle thickness which can lead to occasional quality discrepancies. With regards to aluminium extrusion, global trade policy changes can pose a substantial threat. China, in particular, is the world’s largest consumer of aluminium and steel so any unfavourable government policies can have drastic consequences for not just the Chinese but global material extrusion market.
Material Extrusion Market Key Regions
The key material extrusion markets include North America, the E.U, Asia-Pacific, MENA and the rest of the world. (RoW). Asian countries like China and India are both the largest material extrusion market at present and also the fastest growing. This is because of the rapid economic expansion presently underway in the region. A large population there ensures that there is a high demand for packaged and ready to eat foods which require extrusion coatings. The automobile and construction industries in these two countries are also rapidly expanding and expected to become larger spurring demand for aluminium extrusion. The material extrusion market also has relevance in the medical & pharmaceutical industry which ensures that it will have great potential in the developed world as well.
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Material Extrusion Market Key Market Players
Key players involved in the material extrusion market are ALCOA, Gulf Extrusion, Hydro Aluminum, Hindalco – Novalis, Constellium and Sapa, The Dow Chemical Company, Mondi Plc, Bobst Group SA and Exxon Mobil Corporation.
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