Desiccant wheels are experiencing a vast rise in demand from a number of industry verticals such as food and beverages, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals for maintaining the regulatory standards associated to the relative humidity (RH) levels in production infrastructures. In the next few years, reduction in electricity costs and portability of desiccant dehumidifiers are expected to increase the popularity of desiccant wheels on a global front. Furthermore, desiccant dehumidifiers have demonstrated their ability to be much more effective than compressor-based dehumidifiers when it comes to extracting moisture in short time spans.

Transparency Market Research states that the global desiccant wheel market will expand at a healthy pace in the next few years. The market is estimated to expand at a 4.9% CAGR from 2016 to 2024. If the number holds true, the market, which valued at US$296.5 mn in 2015, is expected to rise to US$ 463.0 mn by 2024.

Of the key varieties of desiccants commonly used in desiccant wheels in the global market, including activated alumina, molecular sieve, and silica gel, the segment of silica gel led, holding a nearly 68% of the global market in 2015. The segment dominated chiefly owing to silica gel’s comparatively cheaper costs than other alternatives. Silica gel desiccant wheels are also known to have extremely good moisture adsorption capabilities, resulting in the production of dryer air. Furthermore, silica gel desiccants are considered to be safe for use in food and beverage industry by several regulating authorities. Also, silica gel is non-flammable and has a higher shelf life, resulting in durable desiccant wheels.

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In terms of key application areas of silica gel desiccants, their applications in the food industry accounted for a significant share in the segment’s overall revenue valuation in 2015. The food industry has a high adoption rate of desiccant wheels due to the new and improved manufacturing processes requiring dry environment. Food safety rules and regulations have forced enterprises to install desiccant dehumidifiers within manufacturing facilities. Other desiccant varieties can contaminate the perishable goods present within the premises.

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From a geographical perspective, the desiccant wheels market in North America held the dominant position in 2015. High adoption of desiccant wheels for dehumidification purpose across pharmaceutical and chemical sectors in the past few years has helped the North America desiccant wheels market stay ahead of other regional markets. Manufacturing units of pharmaceutical products need a controlled environment as these products are highly reactive to moisture. Raw materials used for tablet manufacturing are extremely hygroscopic and can absorb moisture quickly. Moisture can affect the weight, quality and firmness of the end product. Similarly, chemical manufacturing companies must maintain specific humidity levels within the premises as various chemicals show adverse reactions after interaction with moisture.

The primary driver attributed to the growth of the global desiccant wheel market is the fast growth rate in infrastructure shown by a large number of industry verticals around the world. Players in the industries of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and food and beverages are especially showing a massive upswing in their demand for desiccant wheels. Furthermore, desiccant wheels have proven to be far more effective in regulating humidity levels than dehumidifiers based on compressor technology, as the former can soak up atmospheric moisture in much shorter time spans.

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Silica gel desiccant wheels have been the leading type to be used by a large number of the end users for the global desiccant wheel market. In 2015, this segment took up close to 68% of the global desiccant wheel market in terms of revenue, signifying its massive preference rate over the other types. Silica gel wheels are extremely popular for their superior abilities in moisture absorption, non-flammable nature, and longer life-span than other wheel types. Additionally, silica gel desiccant wheels are also considered safe to be used in food and beverage manufacturing environments by several top regulatory authorities, making it a staple for many companies from this industry.

Pharma companies and chemicals manufacturers make large scale use of desiccant wheels to maintain humidity levels within the manufacturing plant to create the optimum environment. This applies especially to tablet manufacturers as tablet surfaces are meant to be extremely hygroscopic.