Cristobalite: Making Inroads in the Architectural Aesthetic Space

As the concept of surface covering is gaining popularity in residential and commercial buildings, and engineered stones continue to break aesthetic barriers in terms of design and function, interest in a wide variety of silica minerals has thrived in recent times. Consistency in the colors and patterns of new-age stone varieties combined with cristobalite has captured significant attention from consumers, in view of their improved appearance, greater transparency, and higher durability.

Considering the importance of silica minerals, Transparency Market Research, in its new business study, assesses how cristobalite producers are catering to the demand arising from engineered stone and other related industries, despite its lower prevalence than quartz. The study also offers thorough analysis and in-depth insights on the cristobalite market, which can equip stakeholders with the necessary facts and statistics to take well-informed decisions.

cristobalite market key winning strategies

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Cristobalite Market: History and Evolutionary Landscape

Formed in volcanic lava domes through vapor-phase mineralization and devitrification of groundmass, cristobalite has gained its very own eminence across a wide range of industries over the years. In 2018, the global cristobalite market surpassed a valuation of US$ 27 million, and leading producers of cristobalite continue to have monopoly over the market. As high brightness and easy wetting of the mineral have raised its demand in construction-related activities, while its availability remains limited to specific geographic regions, leading producers such as Sibelco are focusing on the synthetic production of cristobalite. These producers are also forced to develop new material solutions, as Sibelco reported that the demand for cristobalite once again surpassed its supply in 2018.

It is also pertinent to note that, cristobalite is associated with several human health concerns, as exposure to high levels of silica minerals can have chronic health effects that last for months or even years; this continues to challenge the growth of cristobalite suppliers. Further, in view of its similar composition and other properties, cristobalite can be easily replaced by relatively low-cost quartz and other polymorphs, creating another obstacle to the growth of the market. Therefore, considering the rareness of the mineral and availability of cheaper substitutes, manufacturers are focusing on directing their investments towards the latest technologies to synthesize cristobalite, which operate at advanced levels of energy efficiency with lower emissions.

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Evolving Trends of Paints & Coatings to Redefine the Cristobalite Market

While rapid expansion of the construction industry continues to significantly accelerate the adoption of cristobalite, manufactures have also been earmarking for expansion in the glass & ceramics and paints & coatings sectors. With continuous focus on enhancing the aesthetic appeal of households and commercial complexes, especially in Asian and African countries, as the exterior walls are in constant exposure to dust particles, key market players are leveraging the lucrative opportunities created by the increasing demand for dust-resistant exterior paints. In addition, expansion of production capacities and innovations are highly influenced by a rise in the shift in consumer preference toward white countertops, and the use of cristobalite as a premium and superior additive in paint & coating applications.

As the sand form of cristobalite continues to replace the use of milled flour in paint & coating applications, manufacturers are wary about spending on other forms. In 2018, sales of the sand form of cristobalite accounted for nearly 85% of the market revenue share. Considering the demand for dust- and weather- resistant exterior paints from the residential construction sector in developing countries, manufacturers will remain focused on strengthening the production of cristobalite sand.

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Building Blocks of the Cristobalite Market

Investments in New Kilns

Since the natural sources of cristobalite fail to meet the ever-increasing demand for industrial use, manufacturers are targeting synthesizing the mineral by the conversion of quartz in a rotary kiln at very high temperature with the assistance of a catalyst. These factors played an important role in Sibelco's decision to open a new kiln in Belgium, with the aim to bridge the supply-demand gap. The new kiln would be using the latest technology to manufacture cristobalite, and increase its production capacity by approximately 70,000 tons per year. Such strategic initiatives are likely to influence new entrants in the market.

Focus on Independent Innovations

Sensing the high unmet needs of consumers in the cristobalite market, key players are significantly spending on their own innovations by forming high-quality management and research teams, and promoting innovations through continuous technology advancements. In addition, manufacturers are building efficient procurement strategies to maintain the constant supply of raw materials such as quartz, and enhance the efficiency of product operations.

The Competitive Landscape

The global cristobalite market has a very high level of consolidation, with the top three players - SCR-Sibelco NV, Quarzwerke GmbH, and Hoben International Limited - collectively accounting for over 75% of the revenue share. SCR-Sibelco holds a majority share of the cristobalite market, and has the largest production facility in the world. Capacity expansion remains a key focus area of leading cristobalite market players, while small companies struggle to provide large quantities of products to the customers.

Considering the nature of the product and geographical limitation of the sources, manufacturers are hesitant to improve their footprints in Latin America and the Middle East due to the high dependency on imports and high manufacturing costs in these regions. As Asia Pacific remains at the center of the broader expansion of the cristobalite market, key manufacturers are viewing this region, not only from a manufacturing perspective but also from a target market perspective. Continued urbanization and industrialization in the region, along with rise in the income available for spending on high-value products have also led to strategy realignment.

cristobalite market segmentation

The Analyst Viewpoint

Report authors believe that, the cristobalite market will continue to witness steady growth during the period of 2019-2027. Traditionally, the market has remained highly consolidated, which is unlikely to change anytime soon. Analysts feel that, small companies operating in the cristobalite market will need to have adequate funds and more access to raw material sources to make an impact in the market.

Since the gap between supply and demand persists, key manufactures will need to focus on establishing a sustainable source of raw materials to increase their production capacities. Considering the wide-ranging limitations of natural sources, leveraging new technological advancements for the production of high-quality synthetic cristobalite is highly likely to open new growth prospects.

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  • Increase in R&D activities regarding transparent ultrafine mineral filler technologies has created opportunities for cristobalite in building & construction and paint & coating industries.
  • The need for excellent thermal expansion coefficient fillers is driving the demand for cristobalite as one of the principally-used industrial mineral filler.
  • The optical properties of cristobalite, coupled with chemical inertness and mechanical strength, make it a recommended mineral filler for high quality polymer concrete.

What are the Key Growth Drivers of the Cristobalite Market?

  • Engineered stone, which is manufactured predominantly by using cristobalite, is employed in various applications - kitchen countertops, facades, flooring, and bathrooms.
  • Cristobalite is employed as a filler in engineered stone applications to enhance the visual and functional results. It also improves appearance aligned with design trends, including greater transparency, whiteness, and brightness.
  • The shift in consumer preference toward cool white countertops and rise in the demand for these countertops in developing countries such as China and India are anticipated to drive the cristobalite market during the forecast period.

What are the Major Challenges for the Cristobalite Market?

  • Relatable substitutes such as quartz and other polymorphs possess similar chemical composition, and physical and chemical properties as cristobalite. This negatively impacts the demand for cristobalite. The low prices of quartz and other polymorphs as compared to cristobalite is another factor hampering the cristobalite market.
  • The availability of substitutes such as boron trichloride (BCl3), carbon tetrafluoride (CF4), and ammonia (NH3) is also expected to create intense competition among manufacturers.

Lucrative Opportunities for the Global Cristobalite Market

  • Cristobalite is less prevalent than quartz; its presence is limited to specific geographic regions and rock types. However, it can also be produced synthetically. Therefore, companies are focusing on the production of cristobalite through the synthetic process.
  • Targeting non-buyers and focusing on developing regions such as the Middle East & Africa or Latin America would be the key strategies for companies operating in the cristobalite market.
  • Cristobalite can also be formed from silica melts during the preparation of silica glass. Quartz is not obtained from melts, but is manufactured at an elevated temperature and pressure via the hydrothermal process. This provides the manufacturers of silica glass with an opportunity to diversify into the manufacturing of cristobalite.

Asia Pacific to Dominate the Cristobalite Market

  • Asia Pacific is the leading consumer of cristobalite. China and Vietnam are prominent producers and consumers of cristobalite in the region. Asia Pacific is expected to lead the global cristobalite market in terms of volume and value during the forecast period.
  • Rapid urbanization and rise in the demand for cristobalite in the building & construction industry are boosting the demand for cristobalite in Asia Pacific. China, India, and Japan are the major consumers of cristobalite, as these are the fastest-growing economies in the region.
  • Asia Pacific is also one of the major producers of paints and coatings, plastics, and adhesives. Glass and ceramic industries have also been expanding significantly in the region. Increase in the demand for cristobalite in these applications is estimated to drive the cristobalite market during the forecast period.

North America Also Offers Growth Opportunities

  • North America is another prominent region in terms of the consumption of cristobalite. The U.S. is a highly lucrative country in the cristobalite market in North America.
  • Increase in the number of nuclear families and rise in the number of first-time home buyers are projected to boost the building & construction sector in the U.S., which is one of the major consumers of cristobalite in North America.
  • Growth in the demand for cristobalite in applications such as building & construction, glass & ceramics, paints & coatings, foundry casting, and industrial chemicals is expected to augment the demand for cristobalite in the U.S. during the forecast period.

Building and Construction Segment to Account for a Prominent Share

  • The building & construction segment is anticipated to account for a prominent share of the global cristobalite market during the forecast period, as cristobalite is extensively used to manufacture cement. It is also widely employed in road markings due to its excellent wear resistance.
  • Cristobalite is employed in the manufacture of wear- and scratch-resistant glass and ceramic products, which are used in various end-use applications across the globe.
  • Cristobalite is used as a major raw material in the manufacturing of investment casting (precision casting) products due to its high melting point. The foundry casting segment of the cristobalite market is anticipated to reach a value of nearly US$ 4,800 thousand by 2027.

Leading Players Actively Engaging in Joint Ventures and R&D Activities

  • Key players operating in the global cristobalite market include SCR-Sibelco NV, C.E.D. Process Minerals, Inc., Hoben International Limited, Goldstar Powders Pvt. Ltd, Silmer SA, Quarzwerke GmbH, Lianyungang Changtong Silica Powder Co., Ltd, and Donghai County Changtong Silicon Micropowder Co., Ltd. These companies are engaged in expansion, mergers & acquisitions, and joint ventures in order maintain their share in the global cristobalite market.
  • In October 2017, SCR-Sibelco NV expanded its production line for cristobalite by opening its third cristobalite kiln at Dessel, Belgium. This new kiln would be incorporating the latest technology to manufacture cristobalite, and thereby increase the production of cristobalite by approximately 70,000 tons each year.

A recent study by Transparency Market Research (TMR) explores and analyzes the global cristobalite market, and offers in-depth insights into wide-ranging aspects influencing the market during the period of 2019-2027. The report also provides detailed information on the historical and current scenario of the cristobalite market, along with forecast statistics in terms of value (US$ thousand) and volume (tons).

The report helps readers gauge various dynamics of the cristobalite market, along with actionable insights that can equip stakeholders with vital information to take critical decisions with clarity. It also includes a thorough analysis on the key growth prospects of the cristobalite market.

TMR’s study covers exclusive data on the potential increase in the sales of cristobalite across different geographical regions. The report offers a detailed taxonomy, along with ongoing trends and lucrative opportunities prevailing in the cristobalite market. In addition, it provides a complete assessment on competitive landscape of cristobalite market, wherein, product innovation and the business development strategies used by incumbent companies as well as new entrants have been detailed.

Cristobalite Market: Segmentation

Information on the cristobalite market has been classified into three broader categories – form, application, and region. The report offers an extensive analysis of multiple dynamics and evolving trends associated with each segment, and how they will impact the development of the cristobalite market during the forecast period.

Form

Application

Region

Sand

Construction Activities

  • Cement Manufacturing
  • Flooring
  • Roofing
  • Road Building
  • Others

North America

Milled Flour

Glass & Ceramics

Europe

 

Paints & Coatings

Asia Pacific

 

Foundry Casting

Latin America

 

Sports & Leisure Goods

Middle East & Africa

 

Metallurgy

 

 

Industrial Chemicals

 

 

Oil Field Chemicals

 

 

Others

 

Key Questions Answered in the Cristobalite Market Report

Analyzing several aspects and nuances shaping market growth, TMR brings out new business intelligence of the cristobalite market. Comprehensive insights featured in the report will provide answers to various questions for companies operating in the cristobalite market in order to enhance their decision-making process. Some of these questions include:

  • What are the technological advancements and changing trends that will revolutionize the cristobalite market?
  • What are the opportunities and risk factors involved in the growth of the cristobalite market?
  • How will the past and present growth prospects of the cristobalite market affect its future developments?
  • What are the strategic initiatives taken by key vendors to consolidate their position in the cristobalite market?
  • Which niche segments of the cristobalite market are likely to exhibit promising growth in the next five years?
  • What are the upcoming commercial prospects of the cristobalite market?

Research Methodology

The in-depth analysis and exhaustive insights provided in the TMR report on the cristobalite market is a result of a two-step research process that involves primary and secondary resources.

In the secondary research methodology, company annual and financial reports, white papers, industry association publications, and various sites related to the cristobalite market were studied in order to gain information and market size data. Other secondary resources referred to by analysts include The Silica and Moulding Sands Association (SAMSA), The Association of Synthetic Amorphous Silica Producers (ASASP), National Industrial Sand Association, Mineral Society of America, International Mineralogical Association, Mineralogical Society, Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), International Mining & Minerals Association, Industrial Minerals Association (IMA), and Mineral Products Association (MPA).

In the primary phase, information gathered through secondary resources was verified by interviewing cristobalite manufacturers and suppliers, along with C-level executives, vice presidents, key opinion leaders, investors, product managers, marketing managers, distribution leaders, and sales heads of companies involved in the supply chain of the cristobalite market. More than half of the primary interviews were conducted in Asia Pacific and Europe, since the market is concentrated in these regions.

Findings from these research processes were used to determine an accurate and all-inclusive forecast of the global cristobalite market, and have contributed to the overall development of the report.

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