Aluminium, the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust, has – perhaps surprisingly – only been widely used since the early 1900s. Nowadays, though, it’s a hugely important material that is used in countless applications across the globe.
In this blog we briefly outline some of the existing and emerging opportunities for aluminium suppliers.
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Global Aluminium Production Growth
In 2016, global aluminium production reached 59 million metric tons, spearheaded by massive growth in production and demand from China. Indeed, the largest producer of aluminium in the world is China with a total smelter production of some 31,400 million metric tons (mt) of aluminum in 2016, followed by Russia and Canada.
It’s not just aluminium sheet suppliers that are benefiting, though:
- The extruded aluminium market expects to see a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.67% through to 2021;
- The aluminium casting market has an estimated CAGR of 7.33% through to 2022.
Existing Uses of Aluminium
This growth is being driven by the fact that aluminium’s unique physical properties make it a great choice in a wide range of applications and products. To name but a few:
- Long distance transmission of electricity as it is lightweight and a good electrical conductor;
- The transportation and aerospace industries due to its strength, workability and light weight;
- Refrigeration, air conditioning and heat exchange systems due to its excellent thermal properties and resistance to corrosion;
- Packaging as it is highly malleable so can be rolled and formed into very thin sheets.
However, there are several opportunities emerging in different industries, giving suppliers a chance to diversify and enter new markets.
Four New Opportunities for Aluminium
The majority of companies often have to rely on a handful of high-volume, low-margin customers, which exposes the business to risk. Exploring new markets is a must in today’s world and companies need to be able to move fast to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Here are just some of the emerging opportunities aluminium suppliers could profit from:
- 3D Printing: aluminium powder is often used to print fully functional parts as well as separated parts that are strong, precise and can handle details of 0.25 mm.
- Sustainable Energy: multi-strand, high-quality aluminium cable with installation, cost and safety advantages that make it perfectly suitable for down-tower wind turbine applications.
- Unsinkable Ships: aluminium foam is produced by adding foaming gas into the liquid metal during the re-melting of the material. By adding porosity to aluminium, it can become lower density than water, and therefore unsinkable.
- New Power Sources: aluminium-based powder produces hydrogen when exposed to water, allowing power to be generated quickly and easily.
If you would like to know more about the existing, emerging and future opportunities for aluminium suppliers, read our latest white paper “Industry in Focus: Aluminium”: