The nanoclay market is consolidated. The top six players collectively accounted for 73.8% of the market in 2014, Transparency Market Research finds in a new study. These players are FCC Inc., Elementis Specialties, Atlas AG, Techmer PM, Mineral Technologies Inc., Clariant Inc., and RTP. Companies operating in the nanoclay industry are entering into alliances and long term agreements with OEMs, packaging firms, automotive and resin suppliers. This is impacting the overall growth of the global nanoclay market. The market is highly competitive with focus on product innovation and investments in R&D activities, suggests TMR.
The barriers for new entrants is high but these barriers can be conquered if the companies have strong sales and distribution channels. New entrants would also require high investments in R&D activities. Patented technology is required for the manufacturing of nanoclay which will further act as a barrier for new entrants.
The threat of low cost alternatives will impact the established and new players alike. “The market players are threatened by external substitutes such as nanotubes, nanometals, and others,” states a TMR analyst.
Ability to Improve Polymer Properties Boosts Nanoclay Demand
Nanoclays improve the properties of various polymers. They provide stiffness, thermal stability, improved clarity, dimensional stability, chemical resistance, and also give the polymers excellent barrier properties against moisture, UV transmission, and gases. Additionally, nanoclays give polymers excellent mechanical, optical, electrical, magnetic, and chemical properties. Thus, nanoclay-reinforced polymers are used in automotive, pharmaceutical, cable, and coatings industry, driving their demand. Nanoclays are also used for the reinforcement of hybrid phenolic friction composites, liquid silicone rubbers, polymer films, and non-woven materials in polymer nanocomposites, driving their demand further.
The most noteworthy benefit of nanoclay-reinforced polymers is the fact that their use, reduces the weight of vehicles significantly and is one of the major factors propelling their demand worldwide. Case in point: General Motors in collaboration with Basell has launched a step-assist automotive component made of polyolefin reinforced with nanoclay. This component is not only used in General Motor’s Safari, but also used in Chevrolet Astro vans and Impalas.
Fluctuating Price of Raw Materials Impedes Growth of Nanoclay Market
The manufacturing of nanoclay requires a huge number of raw materials and other resources. The production process is extremely volatile owing to the fluctuating prices of raw materials. Moreover, the manufacturing of nanoclay requires skilled personnel and advanced technology, which is a problem because there is lack of skilled personnel in the market. Clean rooms, clean water, and strong and reliable power backup are also required for the production of nanoclay. Moreover, the mass production of nanoclay can prove to be very challenging. All these factors make nanoclay one of the most expensive technologies in the world.
Aerospace and Defense to Emerge as Potential Areas for Nanoclay Application
Miniaturization is considered to be the key for exploring new frontiers in space by NASA. NASA aims to develop spacecraft with miniature sensors that are effective, powerful, and light-weight. This is expected to open new opportunities for nanoclay-reinforced parts. Similarly, the defense sector is eying nanoclay for designing combat gear that camouflages with the environment by changing colors and also have sensors that detect when a soldier is wounded. The R&D for the products required in the defense and aerospace sectors, will soon enable their commercialization and open various growth opportunities in the nanoclay market.
The automotive segment led the market in 2014 in terms of application. By region, North America led the market in 2014, accounting for 40% of the nanoclay market, followed by Asia Pacific, and Europe. By product, the market is segmented into kaolinite, smectite, and others. Of these, the smectite segment was the largest in terms of volume, accounting for 60% of the global nanoclay market in 2014.
According to the report, the global market opportunity in nanoclay will rise from US$1.22 bn in 2014 to US$3.37 bn by 2023, expanding at a 12.0% CAGR from 2015 to 2023.
This information is based on the findings of a report published by Transparency Market Research titled “Nanoclay Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2015 - 2023.”
The global nanoclay market is segmented as follows:
- Others (Including vermiculite, illite, etc.)
- Flame retardants
- Paints & coatings
- Others (Including aerospace, marine, personal care, etc.)
- North America
- Rest of North America
- Rest of Europe
- Asia Pacific
- Rest of Asia Pacific
- Latin America
- Rest of Latin America
- Middle East & Africa (MEA)
- South Africa
- Rest of MEA