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The global metal matrix composite (MMC) market is expected to grow from today’s 3.6 million kg to 4.9 million kg by 2010, according to a market report by BCC Research.
The soon-to-be-released updated report, Metal Matrix Composites in the 21st Century: Markets and Opportunities from Business Communications Co., Inc., the global metal matrix composite (MMC) market is excepted to rise from its estimated 2005 level of 3.6 million kg to 4.9 million kg by 2010, an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 6.3%.
The report states that from the 1960s, the metal matrix composite (MMC) business is an emerging technology offering many advantages to engineers and designers in a number of key industries including automobiles, aerospace, and electronic components among others.
Interest in MMCs has been extensive as these advanced materials combine desirable physical properties of both metals and ceramics, and often have greater stiffness better wear resistance, lower density, and other advantages when compared to standard materials. BCC suggest that, despite these advantages, “the market still remains modest, or undeveloped compared to its potential”.
Research and product development of MMC’s have been extensive during the past 15 years and analysis of patent data indicates that innovations continues at a healthy pace. It’s been in structural and engine applications in the aerospace industry that MMCs have achieved their greatest diffusion, according to the report. However, the market was adversely affected after 9/11 with the depression in aviation, which is now beginning a full recovery aided by the launch of several new aircraft designs, all of which represent potential MMC growth markets.
The light vehicle industry is another key market for MMCs, with applications including drive shafts, engine components, and brake components. Gains have presented challenges as the relatively high cost of MMCs has impeded their widespread adoption. The report states that some of the fastest growth will occur in aluminium and refractory metal MMCs and liquid-metal production methods gain popularity. Both electronics/thermal management and industrial MMC markets will experience the strongest growth. Ground transportation also presents good sales opportunities. Geographically, the most rapid growth in MMC consumption will occur in China and other East Asian nations as a sizeable share of many key end-use market industries migrate to China and elsewhere.
In summary the report states that the MMC business is a relatively small industry – only $185 million in global revenues – consisting of less than 100 companies competing at varying levels, but most of which are specialized.
Major MMC companies include Alcan Composites, GE Advanced Ceramics, Plansee Group, Lanxide, Sumitomo Electric Industries, 3M, Alanx Wear Solutions, Ceramics Process Systems, Electrovac, Advanced Forming Technology, Alyn Corporation, and Ametek Specialty Materials. These suppliers are relatively modest in scope, and most companies have MMC sales of less than $5 million.
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