Plain Bearing Market size is driven by potential applications in oilfield machinery, construction machinery, automotive, aerospace, industrial and energy industry. High durability and performance along with cost effective production are among key factors driving the industry growth.
Growth in global automotive production due to increasing consumer spending on automobiles supported by the vehicle loan offered by financial institutions will propel the plain bearing market. As per OICA, global automotive production exceeded 94 million units in 2016. Moreover, increasing product usage in several industrial applications including production lines, elevators and conveyor belts will further propel industry share.
Technology advancements and product innovations including magnetic levitations & manners cushioned with compressed air are projected to enhance plain bearing demand. For instance, introduction of advanced spherical roller significantly provides superior performance and limited maintenance cost. Moreover, technical innovations including efficient lubrication and seal technologies will drive plain bearing market size during the forecast timeframe. High stability, extreme lightweight, reduced energy consumption and friction during operation are key properties fueling the product demand.
Increasing demand for fuel efficient passenger vehicles due to stringent government regulations particularly in Europe and North America will stimulate plain bearing market penetration. Passenger cars utilize substantial number of components to enhance energy efficiency by minimizing energy loss produced by friction. Numerous key industry players are investing in research and development initiatives to advance product ranges with minimum energy losses. For instance, increasing adoption of ceramic ball components due their improved strength has enhanced product scope.
Recovery from economic crisis along with growth in defense budget by several governments across the globe will positively impact plain bearing market growth. For instance, in 2016, Turkish government have enhanced military budget for production of jet fighters, passenger aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on a large scale.
Plain bearings, even well recognized as bushings, are specially designed with anti-friction properties that reduce resistance and improve machine mobility. These components are extensively utilized in gear boxes, pumps and automobiles, facilitating efficient operation of the machineries. Product portfolio may vary from a huge diameter product to a sequence of thin linings. Supportive product weight, facilitating efficient transmission of power and ensuring proper alignment of movable components are key properties supporting plain bearing market expansion.
However, increase in product lifespan due to technological innovations restraints aftermarket sales and thus affecting global plain bearing market growth. In addition, rising number of counterfeit products may hamper product demand. Nevertheless, introduction of smart products is projected to come up as a significant solution encouraging product scope.
Plain bearing market is segmented based on design as angular contact, journal, linear, thrust and other products. Journal type is estimated to hold notable share in the overall industry share. Increase usage of journal components in comprehensive equipment including aerospace, automobile, energy and construction industry will fuel industry size. Excellent strength and shock resistance along with no rolling component fittings provide positive outlook for product penetration. The product work proficiently in heavily loaded systems, wherein sufficient clearance and lubrication are provided.
Based on end use, the industry share is further segmented as aerospace, agriculture & gardening, automotive, construction, energy, industrial and oilfield machinery. Plain bearing market is led by automotive industry with notable industry share. High application scope in automotive parts including belt tensioners, throttle valves, seating systems, variable intake systems, center armrests, steering systems, convertible top systems, door hinges, pedal systems, stub axels and gear actuators will fuel plain bearing market size. Furthermore, high wear & fatigue resistance, limited maintenance, high load carrying capacity and lightweight properties will support product penetration.
Asia Pacific plain bearing market holds largest industry share owing to increasing demand for automobiles during the forecast timeframe. Rapid urbanization and development of large number of manufacturing facilities in several emerging economies including China and India will further propel industry size. Easy availability and competitive prices of product components will further support industry growth. Rising product demand as a functional support in infrastructural machinery will substantially stimulate product usage in the construction industry.
Global plain bearing market has a diversified network of upstream players, comprising raw material suppliers along with retailers, end users, downstream stakeholders and government establishments. Key industry participants include Schaeffler Technologies, SKF Group, Timken, JTEKT Corporation, NTN Corporation, Minebea Mitsumi and SGL Group. Other prominent players are THK Company, NSK, IGUS, Boston Gear, PBC Linear, Thomson Industries, Zollern, C&U Group, Federal Moghul Holding Corporation and Austin Engineering Company.
Supply agreements, expansions, new product launches, acquisitions, and research & development activities are some of the key strategies adopted by plain bearing market players to strengthen their business foothold. For instance, in 2017, Swedish seal manufacturer, SKF Group announced expansion of its spherical roller bearing (SRB) capacity in Malaysia, with an investment of USD 5.36 million. The strategy is expected to improve utilization of manufacturing capacity of the company to meet increasing consumer demand on regional and global levels.