Global nickel alloy market is set to witness profound growth over 2021-2027, owing to broadening product application scope across industries such as automotive, aerospace & defense and more. Advantageous properties like exceptional corrosion and heat resistance, as well as high versatility make nickel-based alloys suitable for myriad applications, including in steam turbines in power plants, aircraft gas turbines and other high-performance applications.
Nickel alloys refer to metals created by the combination of primary metal nickel with other materials, such as copper, molybdenum, iron, or chromium. Nickel alloys demonstrate several benefits which improve their suitability in extreme environments and conditions. Nickel-based alloys are oxidation- and corrosion-resistant and can retain their strength across a vast temperature range.
Increasing use of nickel alloys in infrastructural components of energy and power generation is a key trend propelling nickel alloy market growth over 2021-2027. In onshore wind power applications, nickel-based alloys are used are used for generator and gearing compounds, whereas in hydroelectric installations, they form a major part of the turbines, given their corrosion and erosion resistance.
In February 2021, industrial 3D printing technologies supplier EOS introduced EOS NickelAlloy IN939, a new nickel-chromium alloy material, for use in powder bed AM (additive manufacturing). The possesses excellent strength balance in high temperature environments, fatigue performance, oxidation- and corrosion resistance and crack resistance. it is designed for use in the development of microturbines, industrial gas turbines and other power industry applications with exposure to high temperatures and harsh elements.
Based on function, the heat resistant nickel alloy segment is set to gain rapid momentum by 2027, owing to growing product usage in high temperature applications. These range from mineral pyro processing, power plants, to metal processing and more. Heat resistant nickel-based alloys are usually selected in use-cases with cyclical thermal exposure or high strength requirements at high temperatures.
On the regional front, the Europe nickel alloy industry is likely to register substantial revenue by 2027, given the presence of strong nickel reserves in the region. Russia, for instance, is one of the strongest nickel destinations in Europe, accounting for nearly 7% of the worldwide reserves, and was the world’s third-largest nickel producer in 2020.
ThyssenKrupp AG, Precision Castparts Corporation (Berkshire Hathaway), VDM metals GmBH (Acerinox), CRS Holdings Inc (Carpenter Technology Corporation)., Rolled Alloys, Inc., Sandvik AB, Voestalpine AG, Aperam S.A., Haynes International, Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, and Ametek Inc. are the key players operating in the global nickel alloy market. These entities are undertaking numerous strategic initiatives, like collaborations, expansion, and product innovations to sustain their stronghold across the global market space.
For instance, in March 2021, Sandvik Additive Manufacturing and its subsidiary BEAMIT forged a strategic partnership with leading MENA-based AM solution provider Immensa Additive Manufacturing Group to expand the range of advanced AM-based high-end components. The collaboration will leverage the leading position of Sandvik in materials technology and metal powders including nickel-based super alloys, designed specifically for additive manufacturing.
The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is far-reaching and profound, creating unprecedented consequences for numerous industrial sectors, including metal markets. Quarantine and lockdown measures to curb the transmission risk led to a halt or slowdown in several activities, most notably mining projects. This, in turn, triggered a decline in supply of critical base metals in March 2020. Add to that, severe manufacturing losses were experienced worldwide.
However, despite this collapse in the early months of the pandemic, base metal prices have started to witness gradual recovery, particularly due to the strong revival of China’s economy, creating lucrative prospects for nickel alloy industry expansion in the years ahead.