Refractories are materials having those chemical and physical properties that make them applicable for structures or as components of systems that are exposed to environments. Refractory materials are utilized in linings for furnaces, kilns, incinerators and reactors. They are also used to make containers and moulds for artefact glass and metals and are also utilized for surfacing flame deflector systems for rocket launch structures.
Refractory materials must be chemically and physically stable at high temperatures. Depending on the operating environment, they need to be resistant to thermal shock, be chemically inert, and/or have specific ranges of thermal conductivity and of the coefficient of thermal expansion. There are basically two categories of refractories in terms of form type namely shaped and monolithic. The bricks and shapes was the largest refractories segment in 2015 by form type, however, monolithic refractories segment is anticipated to grow at a greater rate during 2016-2021.
The refractories market can be categorized into by form, composition, end users, material and by geography. Based on the form of refractories available, the market can be categorized into shaped and monolithic refractories. These are further divided based on the end users in the industry which include crude iron and steel, cement & lime, glass and non-ferrous metals. Refractories are utilized in linings of furnaces, incinerators and reactors in many of the industries. Refractories find their applications in lining edifice of shapeless products, mass-produced rudiments and bricks in the industries. Iron and steel was the largest end-user industry for refractories.
The growth of end-user industries and the increasing demand for high performance furnaces has been driving the global refractories market. However, due to increasing apparatus competence, the refractory intake from the end-user companies has been seeing a plummeting trend. The expansion of iron and steel companies in terms of acquisition of new raw material sites or increasing the number of processing plants are generating new demands for the refractories market.
Asia-Pacific is the leading region in refractories market, in terms of value and volume, and the trend is expected to continue till 2020. The countries in this region such as China and India are the fastest-growing markets for refractories, due to significantly increasing usage of refractories in iron & steel, cement, glass, non-ferrous metals, and other industries. South East Asia, with countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, is also a rapidly growing market for refractories. This growth is mainly due to the increasing demand for cement, iron & steel, cement and glass mainly in construction, automotive and other manufacturing sectors in Asia-Pacific. Europe held the second largest share in the refractories market in 2015 and is estimated to see an upsurge during the forecast period of 2016 to 2021.
Some of the major companies manufacturing refractories include Magnesita Refratários S.A. (Brazil), Calderys (France), Beijing LIRR (China), Refratechnik (Germany), RHI A.G. (Austria) and Vesuvius plc (The U.K.) to name among a few others.