Abrasive is a material used to mold or provide finishing to a piece of work, through a process that requires buffing, grinding, cutting, and polishing. Abrasion depends on the difference between the hardness of the material and the abrasive (with the latter being the harder of the two).
Abrasives are used in a wide variety of industrial, domestic, and technological applications. Abrasives and abrasive products are extensively used for various applications such as cutting, grinding, drilling, polishing, lapping, honing, and buffing.
There are various types of abrasives available such as bonded abrasives, coated abrasives, raw super-abrasives, steel abrasives, and loose abrasive grains. Bonded abrasives are either synthetic or natural abrasive grains bonded together into a solid form, usually in the shape of a wheel. Bonded abrasive products include cut-off and grinding wheels, cylinders, segments, inserts, snagging wheels, sticks, mounted wheels, discs, cones, plugs, and inserts.
Abrasive grains (natural as well as synthetic) are bonded onto a surface material through a matrix made from resin, glass, rubber, or other binding materials. Surface materials such as ceramics, metal, or plastics are used to produce bonded abrasives. Selection of the type and shape of the bonded abrasive depends upon the metal processing operation. For instance, abrasive stones are employed for honing, either internal or external, surfaces.
Different types of bonds are used to bond abrasive grains to the surface material. Sometimes, abrasives grains are electroplated to braze onto metal substrates. Other surface materials include systems with resin, glass, rubber, or shellac. The bond formed between abrasive grains and surface substrate system vary from low-strength to high-strength bonds.
Super-abrasive material comprises diamond and cubic boron nitride (CBN). Ceramic abrasives include metal oxides of aluminum and iron. Other abrasives include carbides of silicon, tungsten, and boron.
Demand for bonded abrasives is increasing globally due to its use in several applications such as grinding, forming, sharpening, and finishing. Rise in demand for bonded abrasives from aerospace, automotive, machine tool, foundry, metal fabrication, and welding industries is expected to drive the bonded abrasives market.
Requirement for bonded abrasives from the upcoming automotive industry is anticipated to boost the market. Bonded abrasives are largely employed in surface finishing and designing of automobiles. Increasing demand for the advanced technology-based machineries are expected to propel the bonded abrasives market. The bonded abrasives are used to provide smooth finish to various tools and machineries. Regular maintenance of workshops is further driving the bonded abrasives market.
In terms of abrasives used, the bonded abrasives market can be divided into synthetic diamond, cubic boron nitride, carbides (silicon, boron, and tungsten), ceramic metal oxides (aluminum and iron), steel abrasive, and others. Based on product form, the market can be segmented into wheels (wheels, discs, and dishes), inserts (cups, cylinders, and sticks), and others (stones and segments). In terms of end-user industry, the market can be segregated into machinery, electrical & electronic equipment, transportation, metal fabrication, and others (including construction, medical devices, power generation, and cleaning & maintenance).
Based on region, the global bonded abrasives market can be segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is currently the leading the market. This trend is likely to continue over the forecast period. Europe held the second-largest share, followed by North America, in the bonded abrasives market. North America and Europe are likely expand at a sluggish pace in the near future.
Major players operating in the bonded abrasives market are forward integrating into manufacturing various abrasive machining tools as well as backward integrating into production of abrasive materials. Key players operating in the market include 3M, Robert Bosch GmbH, Asahi Diamond Industrial Co. Ltd., Carborundum Universal Ltd., Entegris Inc., Grindwell Norton Ltd., ILJIN Diamond Co. Ltd., Norstel AB, Reishauer AG, Saint-Gobain, Sandvik AB, and SHOWA DENKO K.K.
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