Electrical Steel Market – Snapshot
Electrical steel is a type of specialty steel manufactured by modifying the magnetic properties of conventional steel to induce high permeability. It is used in the manufacture of the core of power transformers, generators, inductors, etc. Its high permeability ensures low core loss in electrical components. Electrical steel is also known as laminate steel or silicon steel, as silicon is added to it. It is primarily used for lamination processes in the cores of electrical components.
Increase in demand for electric hybrid vehicles coupled with stringent regulations to prevent energy loss to propel Electrical Steel Market growth
Developed and developing countries are increasingly shifting toward sustainable energy systems. The electric/hybrid vehicle industry is also in the growth phase. This industry requires high-grade electrical steel for various applications. Companies such as ArcelorMittal and ThyssenKrupp are producing high-grade electrical steel to meet the increase in demand for electrical steel. They are improving the magnetic properties of electrical steel and introducing higher grades. This is expected to fuel the market during the forecast period. Rise in production of electrical steel is anticipated to be primarily driven by growth in various application segments, where electrical steel is largely consumed (e.g. transformer and motor industries).
Governments of various developed countries have enacted regulations for the usage of transformers, which prevent the loss of energy and have low emissions of carbon dioxide. Implementation of such regulations is estimated to drive the demand for electrical steel with enhanced properties to manufacture more efficient cores.
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Challenges in processing of electrical steel and threat from external substitutes to hamper market
Electrical steel improves efficiency and reduces losses in many applications; however, its magnetic properties are insufficient to meet the complex requirements of precision and efficiency. Nickel iron alloys offer more innovative and intelligent solutions than electrical steel. They are ideal substitutes for electrical steel. Nickel iron alloys play an important role in the production of relays, sensors, and motor laminations. They also offer better magnetic permeability and magnetic induction than electrical steel. Hence, increase in adoption of nickel iron alloys in electro-technical applications is projected to hamper the global electrical steel market during the forecast period.
Large amount of mechanical stress and strain is generated during the processing of cold-rolled electrical steel. The process includes bending, cutting, and punching operations. This, in turn, deteriorates the magnetism of electrical steel; the degree of deterioration depends upon the width of the sheet being punched. For instance, if the width decreases 10X, then the total magnetism loss is around 40% that of the initial loss. Hence, there is need for stress-relief annealing before installing the component in the motor core in order to retain the original magnetism of electrical steel. Reprocessing of electrical steel is a critical and delicate process. This can hamper the global electrical steel market to a certain extent during the forecast period.
Developments & innovations in terms of product and technology in electrical steel market
In 2017, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC) Group acquired NISSHIN STEEL CO.,LTD., an integrated blast furnace steel manufacturer that specializes in surface-treated steel, stainless steel, and ordinary and special steel. NISSHIN STEEL CO.,LTD became a subsidiary of NSSMC through this acquisition. In 2015, Shangdong Iron & Steel Group (SISG) signed a strategic cooperation agreement with CZCG. As per the agreement, CZCG invested US$ 314 Bn in SISG’s subsidiary RiZhao Co.,LTD’s. The company has shut all production lines of its subsidiary Jigang Group Co Ltd, one of the leading steelmakers in China. Out of the 5.7 million tons of steel capacity at Jigang, around 4 million tons has been transferred to a new site at the Rizhao Quality Steel Products Base with total investment of US$ 8.34 Bn. In October 2017, JFE Steel Corporation along with Meranti Steel Pte. Ltd. (Meranti), JFE Shoji Trade Corporation (JFE Shoji), Marubeni-Itochu Steel Inc. (MISI), and Hanwa Co., Ltd. (Hanwa) formed a joint venture to produce and sell hot-dip galvanized and colored flat steel products for the building & construction sector in Myanmar. The total investment for the project stands at approximately US$ 85 Mn. The plant is expected to become operational by 2020. In 2016, JFE Steel Corporation developed 1470 mpa-grade cold-rolled ultra-high strength steel sheets for the automotive industry by utilizing the patented ‘JFE-CAL’ water-quenching technology. In 2016, the product was also selected as the winner in the Trade and Industry Minister’s Award in Japan for eco-products exhibition. In May 2016, ArcelorMittal partnered with JMAG to assist the latter in its electrical steel data for designing simulation software, which is expected to be used in designing electrical machines.
Asia Pacific to expand at fast pace in terms of consumption of electrical steel
Currently, countries in Asia Pacific dominate the electrical steel market in terms of year-on-year increase in demand for electrical steel based products in construction and automotive industries. Asia Pacific constituted nearly 55% share of the global electrical steel market in 2017. The market in the region is expected to expand at a significant CAGR during the forecast period, due to the expansion in construction and automobile industries and presence of prominent players in Asia Pacific. Additionally, rise in export of electrical steel (increase of 78% from 2016 to 2017) from developing countries such as India is anticipated to drive the electrical steel market in Asia Pacific during the forecast period.