The global specialty carbon black market in terms of volume is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5% by the year 2018. Specialty carbon refers to a highly refined chemical that is produced by burning hydrocarbons like petroleum oil, natural gas and coal gas with limited supply of air. Carbon black is in the form of black colloidal particles which are manufactured by processes such as the lampblack, furnace black, acetylene black and thermal black.
Specialty carbon black is also known as pigment black which has very low quantities of metals, sulfur, ash and other types of impurities. It is the purest form of carbon black. Carbon black is mostly used in the textile industry as a dyeing agent and is particularly used for dyeing textiles like nylon, polyester and acrylic.
Market Segmentation and Uses of Carbon Black in the Global Specialty Carbon Black Market
The market for carbon black for textile fibers is categorized into four key product segments which include acrylic, polyester, nylon and others which generally consist of olefins. The overall demand for carbon black for textiles is mostly dominated by polyester. On the basis of end-use, the global specialty carbon black market is segmented into three main categories which are home textiles, apparel and others that consist of agriculture, automotive and protective clothing.
The biggest end-user in this market for textile fibers is the segment for apparel and this segment had accounted for more than 50% of the revenue generated in this market in the year 2012. By the end of 2012, the home textiles segment was the largest end-user of carbon black. Carbon black has niche application in the textile fiber industry which is why it depicts a low share in a market that is characterized by extensive application of carbon black in rubber and tire industries.
Specialty carbon black is widely used as a reinforcing agent in products like photographic containers, stretch wraps, boots, gaskets, hoses, tires, refuse sacks, agriculture mulch film, belts, household appliances, automotives, fascia, diaphragms, bushings, chassis bumpers, grommets, blow-molded containers, conveyor wheels, vibration isolation devices and multiple types of pads and wiper blades.
Market Drivers and Inhibitors Prevailing in the Global Specialty Carbon Black Market
Specialty carbon black has better conductive properties than polymers or rubber. It also decreases resistance to electricity by forming a conductive mesh via the polymer or rubber matrix. One of the striking features of specialty carbon black is its ability to optimize conductivity at lower doses and at the same time it fulfills the crucial performance requirements.
For chemical cleanliness, smoothness and conductivity specialty carbon black is optimized for semi-conductive cable compounds. Low sieve residue, softer pellets, low poly-nuclear aromatics and low pellet are some of the main grades in the specialty carbon black market.
The global specialty carbon black market is characterized by high price volatility of raw materials. This many a times hampers the profit earning capacity in this industry. Also, the manufacturing of carbon black releases certain toxic gases like carbon monoxide. Since carbon black is a derivative of carbon, it often leaves a carbon footprint. The undesirable health and environment effects of carbon black are the primary restraints in the specialty carbon black market for textiles.
Research and developmental activities are being conducted to manufacture bio-based carbon black. It is also expected that in the forthcoming years, bio-based carbon black will offer opportunities for promoting significant growth in the carbon black market for textile fibers.
Asia Pacific - Key Player in the Global Specialty Carbon Black Market
The most inexpensive carbon black is manufactured in the Asia Pacific that as a result is hampering the markets in Europe and North America. As a measure of cost minimization and retention of competitiveness, several production facilities have been shifted to the Asia Pacific. There are very few players in the consolidated market for specialty carbon black. Hitherto, China has been the largest producer and supplier of carbon black in the world.
The popular companies operating in the global specialty carbon black market include Asia Carbon Industries Inc., Sid Richardson Carbon & Energy Co., Cabot Corporation, Zaozhuang Xinyuan Chemical Industry Co. Ltd., The Orion Engineered Carbons GmbH, Birla Carbon and Continental Carbon.
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