COVID-19’s outbreak in 2020 has had an impact on the global economy and demand scenario in major industries around the world. The global lockdown and restriction of industrial operations, trade activities, supply-chain disruption, and other activities culminated in the pandemic scenario. During this circumstance, the key end industries of stainless steel forgings, such as automotive, construction, aerospace, oil & gas, and more were also influenced. The market was impacted by a drop in oil prices and delays in new pipeline installation, lower demand from the automotive sector, and a temporary halt in construction activities across the world for a few months in 2020. As a result of slow demand from end-use industries, the growth of the stainless steel forgings market slowed down in 2020. However, the market is recovering, and businesses have resumed operations with reduced capacity and under government guidelines, owing to which all end-use industries were fully operational by the beginning of 2021, resulting in high demand for stainless steel forgings. As a result, the market is expected to grow at a rapid rate over the forecast period.
Stainless Steel Forgings Market Segment Analysis By Stainless Steel Type
The martensitic segment held the largest share in the stainless steel forgings market in 2020, due to martensitic steels’ unique properties, such as their higher strength-to-weight ratio when compared to other stainless steels. Martensitic materials are mostly used in the development of automotive safety and structural components. The high tensile strength of martensitic steel makes it ideal for cold-forming structural components. Furthermore, martensitic stainless steel has a high energy absorption capacity and a long elongation. It’s also more formable and has higher component strength, which is anticipated to boost the demand for martensitic stainless steel during the forecast period.
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Stainless Steel Forgings Market Segment Analysis By Process
The open die forging segment held the largest share in the stainless steel forgings market in 2020. Two flat or simply shaped dies are used to apply pressure to the base material from both sides in open die forging. The material is formed into the desired shape by repeatedly applying high-level compression or hammering to the die. The process can accommodate the creation of larger and heavier components because the dies used do not completely enclose the base material (hence the open die designation) and allow for lateral movement. Compared to other forging processes, open die forging produces very little material waste and final products with more consistent grain structures and higher fatigue resistance, owing to which it is preferred over other forging types. The aircraft and railway industries often make use of this process to manufacture large and heavy components, such as cylinders, rollers, and shafts, which is also projected to aid towards its market growth.
Stainless Steel Forgings Market Segment Analysis By Product Type
The hot/cold-forged parts segment held the largest share in the stainless steel forgings market in 2020 up to 82% by volume. Hot forging allows for maximum material deformation as well as access to complex 3D geometries due to the high temperature used. Hot forged components have higher ductility, making them ideal for a variety of applications. Hot forging is also a versatile technique because it allows for the creation of customized parts. The cold forging extrusion is widely used in the production of automotive components. Manufacturers generally prefer cold forging over hot forging because cold forged parts require little or no finishing. Thus, owing to these advantages associated with hot/cold-forged parts its demand is increasing.
Stainless Steel Forgings Market Segment Analysis By End-Use Industry
The industrial segment held the highest share in the stainless steel forgings market in 2020 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% during 2021-2026. Stainless steel forging is used in petrochemicals, storage tanks, pressure wells, and other applications in the oil and gas industry. Heat exchangers, flow lines, structural components, umbilicals, and processing equipment are all made of super duplex stainless steel. Stainless steel is widely used in marine environments and offshore oil rigs. Stainless steels have high corrosion resistance, high heat resistance, and other properties that make them ideal for the food and beverage industry. Stainless steel is a non-toxic material that can be used in the kitchen. It does not rust or corrode because it does not provide livable conditions for harmful pathogens. Also, it’s long-lasting and hygienic in the food and beverage industry. The increasing demand for stainless steel from the oil & gas and chemical industry is boosting the demand for stainless steel forgings industrial segment.
Stainless Steel Forgings Market Segment Analysis By Geography
North America region held the largest share in the stainless steel forgings market in 2020 up to 36%. The oil & gas industry is flourishing in the region, which is accelerating the demand for stainless steel forging in the region. For instance, Annual crude oil production in the United States hit a new high of 12.23 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2019, up 1.24 million b/d from 2018. According to the US Energy Information Administration, monthly crude oil production in the United States averaged 12.86 million b/d in November 2019, the highest monthly crude oil production in US history (EIA). In 2019, new projects in the Offshore Federal Gulf of Mexico (US-controlled waters in the Gulf of Mexico) helped boost production in the region. In 2019, oil and gas companies launched seven new projects. The Offshore Federal Gulf of Mexico’s crude oil production elevated by 126,000 barrels per day in 2019, ensuing in the area’s highest annual average production of 1.88 million barrels per day. This growth in the North American oil & gas sector is set to accelerate the demand for stainless steel forgings in the region, thereby driving the market growth.
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Stainless Steel Forgings Market Drivers
Increasing Automobile Production in Various Regions
Stainless steel forging is often preferred to produce critical components such as connecting rods, control arm, rocker arm, crankshaft, camshaft, tie rod end, steering knuckle, and more for automotive application. Automotive components made of stainless steel forging are more durable than those made of cast or machined steel, owing to which it is a preferred option. The production of automobiles is increasing globally. For instance, according to the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA), Taiwan’s production of light commercial vehicles increased by 2.6 percent from 55,896 in 2019 to 57,362 in 2020. In 2018, Africa produced 776,967 passenger cars, which increased to 787,287 in 2019, representing a 1.3 percent increase. According to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), car production in Japan increased in November from 6,67,462 in October to 6,90,311. It is anticipated that with a gradual increase in automobile production there will an upsurge in the demand for stainless steel forgings to manufacture various automotive components, which as a result will drive the market.
Flourishing Building and Construction Sector
Stainless steel forging is used in the building and construction industry to construct parts for outdoor equipment that needs to withstand harsh environments. Stainless steel forgings are used in a variety of off-highway and heavy construction equipment applications due to their strength, toughness, machinability, and cost. Stainless steel forgings are used for shafts, spindles, bearing holders, ball joints, gears, sprockets, levers, axle beams, wheel hubs, rollers, yokes, and other construction applications, in addition to engine and transmission parts. The building and construction projects have been increasing in various regions. For instance, in India, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has set a target of increasing the national highway to 2 lakh km by 2022. In October 2020, the Government of Burkina Faso awarded a EUR 122 million (US$139.3 million) contract for the construction of Lot 2A of the new International Airport of Ouagadougou-Donsin. The Infrastructure Investment Program’ of Australia’s federal government is expected to provide $57.5 billion in infrastructure funding between 2026 and 2027. Thus, increasing building and construction will require more construction equipment, which will act as a driver for the stainless steel forgings market during the forecast period.
Stainless Steel Forgings Market Challenges
Disadvantages Associated with Stainless Steel Forgings
There are also some disadvantages to using stainless steel as a forging material of choice. Some disadvantages associated with stainless steel are its high cost, fabrication handling ability, difficulty in welding, stainless steel gets distorted if works below the required temperature, huge safety requirement as the workers need to work near the temperature of more than 2000 degrees centigrade, finishing challenges, and more. These disadvantages associated with stainless steel forgings are a significant impediment to the market growth of Stainless Steel Forgings.
Stainless Steel Forgings Market Landscape
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the stainless steel forgings market. Stainless steel forgings market top companies are:
All Metals & Forge Group
LLC, Wichard, Inc.
Ellwood Closed Die Group
ISGEC Heavy Engineering Ltd.
Bourdon Forge Company, Inc.
Precision Castparts Corporation
Keystone Forging Co.
PSM Industries, Inc.
Harsh Steel Trade Pvt Ltd, and others.
In May 2021, Auto components major Bharat Forge Ltd has fully acquired a group company that will buy stressed Sanghvi Forging & Engineering Ltd under the bankruptcy process.
North America dominates the stainless steel forgings market, owing to the prevalence of strict government regulation regarding CO2 emission in Europe, which is forcing the consumers to gradually shift towards eco-friendly options.
Expansion in the construction industry coupled with advanced features of stainless steel forgings such as excellent inherent forge ability, higher ductility, cryogenic toughness, high corrosion resistance, and high heat resistance are some of the factors that are boosting the market growth.
Furthermore, the demand for stainless steel forgings in the energy sector is expected to rise as the number of grid installations in developing countries increases.
However, the availability of substitute materials such as aluminum is expected to act as a restraint for the industry.
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