Argon Gas Market is forecast to reach $487.9 million by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 5.2% during 2021-2026. Cryogenic fractional distillation and gas chromatography are the most common methods for the production of argon gas. Rising consumption and demand from the growing metal manufacturing industry for argon gas, coupled with increasing industrialization, especially in emerging economies are the major factors expected to drive the growth of the global argon gas market. Due to the rising demand for argon gas in numerous application segments such as electronics, stainless steel, and fabricated metalworking the argon gas market is expected to grow globally. Furthermore, technological innovation such as the increasing use of electrospray ionization mass spectrometry in the healthcare industry is anticipated to create new opportunities for the growth of the global argon gas industry in the forecast era.
Impact of Covid-19
The consequences of the pandemic are altering argon gas markets, as some manufacturers are either shutting down or reducing their supply due to a lack of demand from the downstream industry. Thus, this has lead to the decline in the market growth for argon gas over the year 2020-21.
Argon Gas Market Segment Analysis – By Grade
Industrial grade held the largest share in the argon gas market in 2020. In MIG and TIG welding methods and plasma cutting applications due to its high density and absolute inertness, industrial-grade argon gas is widely used as a welding gas. Industrial-grade argon gas is supplied in gas bottles and cylinders of various sizes to suit consumer needs. Industrial-grade argon gas has many different applications in many industries. The most common application is either in pure form or as part of different mixtures, as a shielding gas for arc welding. Industrial grade argon gas is one of the major gases for incandescent (filament) lamps, phosphorescent tubes, and thyratron radio tubes used in filling mixtures. Thus, with the rising demand for industrial-grade argon gas, the overall market is anticipated to rise in the forecast period.
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Argon Gas Market Segment Analysis – By Mixture
Argon-carbon dioxide mixture is widely used in the argon gas market. Argon-carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, and non-flammable gas mixture. Argon mixtures with carbon dioxide are universal and are ideal for low-treated and stainless steel welding. One of the key composite components of safe welding mixtures is argon. Protective gas protects the electrode, metal, and hot metal near the welding seam from the ambient air as well as enhances the welding process and increases the welding characteristics. Argon-carbon dioxide blends can be used to incorporate a large spectrum of material thicknesses with a number of metal transition modes. With the rising use of argon-carbon dioxide mixture due to its unique property, the market for argon gas is estimated to rise over the projected period.
Argon Gas Market Segment Analysis – By Function
Insulation function is highly preferred in the argon gas market. Argon serves as a barrier to prevent the indoor heat from escaping, like most insulating materials. But unlike most gases, the higher density of argon has greater thermal efficiency. This slow-moving gas, keeping heat loss to a minimum, allows less convection. To improve the energy consumption and general performance of thermal windows, argon gas is used. Insulated windows that are filled with argon gas are less likely to produce condensation. This is particularly true in areas of high humidity, such as the kitchen and the bathroom. Although good energy conservation could be demonstrated by fogging on the exterior surface of the glass, excessive humidity could result in water damage. With argon, to prevent it from sweating, the middle and the edges of the window glass will remain above the dew mark.
Argon Gas Market Segment Analysis – By Application
Manufacturing & Fabrication sector held the largest share in the argon gas market in 2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.7% during the forecast period 2021-2026. During arc welding, it is often used as a shielding gas, because it shields the metal that is being worked on from oxygen. TIG, which stands for ‘tungsten inert gas’, utilizes both pure argon and argon mixtures. Argon decreases the chromium losses in the manufacture of steel in a converter, ensuring the desired carbon content can be reached at a lower and lower temperature. In aluminum processing, argon is often used to extract and degasify hydrogen. Also, cryogenic fractional distillation is used for producing argon gas of high purity, which is further used for the manufacturing and fabrication of semiconductor devices. Therefore, the rising demand for argon gas from the manufacturing and fabrication sector will drive the market demand for argon gas to grow in the forecast period.
Argon Gas Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry
Automotive industry held the largest share in the argon gas market in 2020. Argon, due to its inert properties, is used in a wide variety of applications to help improve quality as well as maximize performance and yield in the manufacture of automotive parts. Owing to its alluring properties such as reduction or elimination of surface oxidation, improvement in part quality, decreasing scrap, and increasing efficiency and yields, it is used in a wide range of applications across automotive component manufacturing such as for welding, thermal, and plasma spraying, 3D printing, quenching, and others. Also, the most exotic use of argon is in the tires of luxury vehicles. Not only does the gas shield the tires from an oxygen attack, but it also provides less tire-noise while the vehicle is moving at speed. With the rising automotive industry, the application of argon gas in the production of automotive components will also increase. According to the International Trade Administration, China’s specialty auto parts industry hit nearly $3.5 million in 2018, with an annual growth rate of about 30%. Thus, the rising demand for argon gas from the automotive industry is further estimated to raise the market growth.
Argon Gas Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Asia Pacific held the largest share with 32% in the argon gas market in 2020. China, India, and Australia is expected to have the fastest as well as the largest argon gas market due to the increasing demand for argon gas in the food & beverage and healthcare industries across the region during the forecast period. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, the healthcare sector in India is considered as one of the largest sectors both in terms of revenue and employment. Also, the healthcare market is anticipated to increase by US$ 133.44 billion by 2022. According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the food, beverage, and grocery industries of Australia account for over one-third of the country’s total. Also, the turnover amounted to US$ 124 billion in 2018. Thus, the rising growth of food & beverage and healthcare industries in various countries is therefore anticipated to increase the argon gas market in the forecast period.
Argon Gas Market Drivers
Increasing Price of Helium is Driving the Demand for Argon as an Alternative for Various Applications
Helium is replaced by argon in various sectors. Due to the high cost relative to argon, which has low cost and also has large applications, rising helium prices are expected to propel argon demand in many regions. Argon is used instead of helium because of the rising demand in separate application categories, such as stainless steel, electronics, and industrial metalworking sectors. According to the United States Geological Survey Organization, in the fiscal year 2019, the price of crude helium to non-government consumers was $4.29 per cubic meter ($119.00 per 1,000 cubic feet) and to government, customers were $3.10 per cubic meter ($86.00 per 1,000 cubic feet). Argon may be replaced by helium in the welding process. Also, helium is commonly used as a shielding gas for non-ferrous welding. Instead of helium, argon may be used and is favored by some metal forms. Owing to the above factors, an increase in demand for argon as an alternative for helium will drive the market for argon gas in the forecast period.
Rising Demand for Argon Gas in the Healthcare Industry
Cryogenic fractional distillation is used for the production of large quantities of purified argon in the health care industries. Argon is a noble gas component that has shown valuable narcotic and defensive capability in the medical sector. In order to selectively kill small areas of diseased or unhealthy tissue, especially on the skin, Argon is used to conduct accurate cryosurgery, which requires intense cold. Very cold argon is generated by controlled expansion of argon gas at the site and is driven using a cryoneedle to the treatment stage. This gives the device greater control than older liquid nitrogen techniques. A similar technique, cryoablation, is used to treat heart arrhythmia by destroying cells which interfere with the normal distribution of electrical impulse. As an important technique in clinical laboratories, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) has arisen. With the increasing growth of the argon in healthcare industries is expected to influence major trends in the global argon gas market in the coming years.
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Argon Gas Market Challenges
Health Effects of Argon Gas Acts as a Constraint Towards the Growth of the Market
Argon gas can be absorbed into the body through inhalation. This liquid evaporates very rapidly with the lack of containment, creating air supersaturation and a significant risk of suffocation while in confined areas. Argon gas has been categorized as simple inert gas asphyxiation. Excessive inhalation can lead to dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and death. Death can result from mistakes that prevent self-rescue in judgment, misunderstanding, or lack of consciousness. Unconsciousness and death can occur in seconds without warning at low oxygen concentrations. Also, contact with argon gas can irritate and burn the skin and eyes. Very high levels of argon can decrease the amount of oxygen in the air and cause suffocation with symptoms of headache, rapid breathing, and loss of coordination and judgment. Hence, various harmful effects of argon gas in humans will further create hurdles for the argon gas market in the forecast period.
Technology launches, acquisitions and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the argon gas market. Major players in the argon gas market are Praxair Inc., AMCS Corporation, The Linde Group, Iwatani Corporation, Messer Group GmbH, Air Liquid S.A., SABIC, BASF SE, Air Products, and Chemicals and Inc. Matheson Tri-Gas Inc. among others.
In February 2020, Air Products and Chemicals acquired Oxygen & Argon Works to provide major growth opportunities for Oxygen & Argon in United States.
The Asia Pacific region dominated the argon gas market due to the rapidly growing fabrication industries and the rising demand for argon gas from the food & beverage and healthcare sectors.
Increasing use of argon gas owing to its greater thermal protection properties than air, for filling the dry suits used for scuba diving is anticipated to increase the demand for argon gas market in the forecast period.
Since Argon gas provides the inert atmosphere needed for rapid material cooling and heating, it is used in the electronics industry for the manufacture of semiconductors, flat panels, solar PV cells and microelectronic devices.
Rising cause of inert gas asphyxiation among the workers by the consumption of argon gas in the absence of oxygen is anticipated to decline the growth of the market.
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