Titanium Sponge Market: Overview
- Titanium sponge is an intermediate product used in the production of titanium ingot & billet and titanium powder. Titanium sponge is a porous form of titanium.
- Titanium sponge produced through the Kroll process is used extensively in aircraft engines, fuselages, chemical plants, oil and gas plants, electric power & desalination plants, building structures, automobile products, and biomedical devices
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Manufacturing Process of Titanium Sponge
- The Kroll process involves the following four steps: (i) Titanium ores are stripped of oxygen and chlorine gas is blown into chlorinator, which binds with ore forming crude titanium tetrachloride. Crude titanium tetrachloride [TiCl4] is then distilled to remove impurities to produce it in its purest form; (ii) Molten magnesium is fed into a vessel, where a reduction reaction occurs with liquid titanium tetrachloride, which further forms titanium sponge. Vacuum is generated inside the vessel with the help of an electric heater. As a result, the remaining magnesium and magnesium chloride in titanium sponge evaporates and produces high purity titanium sponge; (iii) magnesium chloride formed during the reduction process is further decomposed into chlorine gas and magnesium by electrolysis. Chlorine gas can be reused in chlorination process; (iv) titanium sponge gets extracted from the vessel and crushed into smaller pieces with the help of guillotine cutter, shear, and crusher.
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Key Drivers of Titanium Sponge Market
- The aerospace & defense sector accounts for major share of titanium sponge market. Titanium sponge is an important raw material that is used in the production of aircraft engines and fuselage & military airframes owing to its excellent set of properties such as high strength-to-weight ratio, high strength at high temperatures, corrosion resistance, and thermal stability. Boeing and Airbus are the only two aircraft manufacturers that employ titanium sponge in the production of aircraft frames and components. Boeing, a U.S.-based aerospace company, delivered a record number of commercial jets in 2018, reaching 806 planes compared to the previous record of 763 in 2017. Airbus, another key player, achieved 800 commercial jet deliveries in 2018 compared to 718 in 2017. Despite the slowdown in demand caused by Covid-19, this figure is estimated to increase after 2022, when global restriction on international air travels eases.
- Titanium sponge also has a wide range of industrial applications in the chemical & petrochemical industry. Titanium sponge is used in the chemical & petrochemical industry for corrosion resistance in equipment such as heat exchangers, tanks, process vessels, and valves. Growth in manufacturing sector of countries in Asia Pacific such as Vietnam, India, and Thailand is expected to drive the demand for titanium sponge in industrial applications in the near future.
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- Other major industrial end-users of titanium sponge include power plants, desalination plants, pollution control equipment producers, and aluminum and steel industries
Key Restraints of Titanium Sponge Market
- As per the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air traffic is estimated to be down by 48% in 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Airline passenger revenue is anticipated to decline by 55% or US$ 314 Bn by the end of 2022. This is estimated to negatively impact the titanium sponge market till international travel resumes across the globe.
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Trends in Titanium Sponge market
- In February 2022, VSMPO-Avisma Corporation announced plans to increase its production output of titanium sponge, a raw material used to produce titanium, by 10% to 44,000 tons for the year. The company also increased its production output of titanium products by 15% to 33,000 tons in 2018.
- On February 27, 2022, the U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would not impose any additional duty on the import of titanium sponge. As per the report published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. imports 94.4% of titanium sponge from Japan. Imports are adversely affecting U.S.-based manufacturers of titanium sponge.
- In 2019, Yunnan Xinli Nonferrous Metals Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Lomon Billions Group, produced its first batch of 10,000 tons of titanium sponge
Key Manufacturers Operating in Titanium Sponge market
Key manufacturers operating in the global titanium sponge market include:
- Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML)
- TOHO TITANIUM CO., LTD.
- OSAKA Titanium Technologies Co.,Ltd
- Baoji First Titanium Industry (Group) Co., Ltd.
- Chaoyang Jinda Titanium Industry Co Ltd
- Luoyang Sunrui Wanji Titanium Industry, Co., Ltd.
- Zaporozhye Titanium & Magnesium Combine
- Titanium Metals Corporation
- Arconic Inc.
- Western Metals Minerals Co. Ltd.
- RTI International Metals, Inc
- Allegheny Technologies Inc.
- Howmet Corporation (Alcoa, Inc.)a