Oxygen Free Copper Market Expected to reach a high CAGR By 2029: DataM Intelligence
Oxygen-free copper (OFC), also known as oxygen-free high conductivity (OFHC) copper, is a class of copper alloys (wrought high conductivity) that have been electrolytically refined to reduce oxygen levels to 0.001% or less. Oxygen-free copper is produced in equipment that keeps the molten metal from being exposed to or in contact with air during the oxygen content removal.
The selected cathode copper is directly converted into the required cast shapes, eliminating the contamination of electrolytic copper in pure form. The manufacturing process ensures a high-quality metal with a copper content ranging from 99.95% to 99.99%. Oxygen-free copper exhibits the properties of pure copper and is available in various forms such as bar, strip, sheet, rod, plate, wire and tube.
The oxygen-free copper market has expanded significantly due to global growth in the electronics and electrical and automotive industries. Rising demand for high-quality materials in the aerospace, defense & transportation industries and the development of the electronics market in emerging economies have accelerated market growth. However, volatile raw material prices and the high cost of oxygen-free copper processing limit market growth.
Rising demand for oxygen-free copper in the electrical & electronics industry
Electronics and electricals is a highly fragmented industry expanding rapidly in response to rising demand from emerging economies like China, India and Brazil. Copper is a widely used metal in producing various electronic and electrical goods. As technology advances and the demand for pure copper metals and alloys increases, various oxygen-free copper grades are used to manufacture equipment and components in this industry. The high electrical and thermal conductivity of oxygen-free copper makes it suitable for printed circuit boards (PCBs), semiconductors and superconductors, among other applications.
The electronics & electrical industries are expected to grow rapidly soon due to the industry's ongoing R&D and technological advancements. The global electronics hardware industry was valued at US$ 2 trillion in 2018, according to the Electronics Industries Association of India (ELCINA). As a result, the global demand for electronics and electrical goods will hasten the growth of oxygen-free copper. Using nanotechnology in the industry will increase the demand for pure or oxygen-free copper.
Furthermore, this industry sells its products to various other industries, including the medical, telecommunications and automotive industries, which require electrically conductive materials and are major consumers of oxygen-free copper products. As a result, the electrical & electronics industry is a major driver of the oxygen-free copper market's growth.
Untapped applications of oxygen-free copper
In the electronics & electrical end-use industries, oxygen-free copper is widely used. Aside from this industry, oxygen-free copper has potential applications in aerospace & defense, medical and other end-use industries. Oxygen-free copper is also used in magnetrons and high-powered vacuum tubes are used in radar equipment. It is also suitable for use in radar transmitters. Due to their high electrical conductivity, high purity and low volatility under vacuum, magnetrons made from oxygen-free copper have potential applications in the aerospace & defense industries. Copper-based magnetrons that do not require oxygen can be used in planes, ships and submarines.
Furthermore, oxygen-free copper can be used in missile heads because of its high thermal conductivity and above properties. Copper is an antibacterial metal used in the healthcare industry to prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). It is incorporated into medical devices and implants so oxygen-free copper can be used in the medical end-use industry. Copper's electrical conductivity allows it to transmit signals in small implants and diagnostic tools. On a small scale, oxygen-free copper is used in traction motors and other applications in the railway industry. As a result, untapped applications in aerospace & defense, medical and other end-use industries provide a potential market for oxygen-free copper.
Availability of substitute for oxygen-free copper
Electrolytic Tough Pitch (ETP) copper is the most popular copper globally and is widely used in the electrical and electronic industries. It is a substitute for oxygen-free copper because its properties and applications in end-use markets are similar. Tensile strength (220- 385 N/mm2), proof strength (60-325 N/mm2), hardness (HV) (45-155), electrical conductivity (100- 101.5 percent IACS) and thermal conductivity (394 W/moC) are all properties of ETP copper.
Furthermore, ETP copper is commonly used in busbars, motor windings and components and transformer windings and components. High purity ETP copper is used in automotive cables and signal cable braid shielding. It is less expensive than copper, which does not contain oxygen. ETP copper is preferred over oxygen-free copper by manufacturers of goods in the electronics, electrical and other industries where it is advised to use oxygen-free copper. The highest electrical conductivity of all copper varieties is the single advantage that oxygen-free copper has over ETP.
COVID-19 Impact Analysis
In 2019, as per the International Copper Study Group (ICSG), after a 0.2% decrease in global copper mine production, 2020 is expected to be the second consecutive year of decline. In 2020, global copper mine production was expected to fall by 1%. The anticipated drop is primarily the result of COVID-19-related lockdowns, which resulted in temporary mine closures or reduced production levels in many countries, most notably Peru.
The output from new initiatives like Tominskoye and Deziwa, mines ramping up production like Cobre de Panama and a major increase in Indonesian output will partially counterbalance the pandemic's reductions. Despite this increased output, the current ICSG mine production forecast for 2020 is lower than 2019. In 2021, a 4.5% increase was expected, owing primarily to global efforts to control the virus. The increase in output is also expected due to the ramp-up of recently commissioned mines & expansions and the planned start-up of larger projects such as Kamoa-Kakula (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the State Government Operation (SGO) (Chile).
Although refined copper production and demand are expected to remain unchanged, demand for oxygen-free copper is expected to fall due to a drop in demand from the electronics and electrical industries, primarily in the second quarter of 2020. In the last two quarters of 2020, as demand for electronics like smartphones, gaming consoles and medical equipment increases, the decline in demand is anticipated to recover gradually. In all component segments, there is a notable trend toward no impact and minimum impact, as per a recent poll by the Electronics Components Industry Association (ECIA). No supply chain disruption is estimated in the second half of 2020.
By end-user, the oxygen-free copper market is segmented into electrical & electronics, automotive and others.
Electronics & electrical segment to hold the lion’s share
In the electrical and electronics industries, oxygen-free copper is used in wires and coaxial cables, hollow conductors, transistor components and other applications. The widespread use of oxygen-free copper in electrical and mechanical applications such as printed circuit boards (PCBs), semiconductors and superconductors are driving the growth.
Current transmission is used in televisions, computers and other electronic devices such as wires and coaxial cables. Furthermore, it is ideal for producing electrical and electronic equipment under vacuum conditions, such as X-ray tubes, CT scanners, etc. The expanding consumer electronics sector will drive material consumption and new high-efficiency electronic devices.
Rising electrical & electronics and automotive sector in Asia-Pacific
Due to the region's rapid socio-economic development, Asia-Pacific is the most appealing market for oxygen-free copper. The region is a promising market for the growth and demand of electronics, electrical and automotive industries. Oxygen-free copper has important properties, including high strength, corrosion resistance, chemical & thermal stability and excellent electrical conductivity.
Oxygen-free copper in electronics, automobiles, aerospace and medicine is a key growth factor in Asia-Pacific. Countries in Asia-Pacific, such as Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, India and Singapore, are major manufacturing and selling electrical and electronic goods, primarily end-users of oxygen-free copper. Asia-Pacific is a profitable automobile market and is experiencing a shift toward EVs, such as Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs).
The global oxygen-free copper market participants are primarily concerned with providing advanced products and improving their production capabilities. The major players are expanding their product portfolios and presence in emerging markets to meet the rising demand for products. Fukurawa Electric, for example, announced an increase in the production of GOFC oxygen-free copper strips with improved thermal resistance beginning in 2018.
Major global oxygen-free copper market companies include Hitachi Metals Neomaterials Ltd., Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, Aviva Metals, Sam Dong, Copper Braid Products, Farmer’s Copper Ltd., Heyco Metals Inc., Haviland Enterprises Inc., Millard Wire & Specialty Strip Co. and Hussey Copper Ltd.
Heyco Metals Inc.
Overview: Heyco Metals is an operating subsidiary of Hummock Industries, an investment arm focused on manufacturing in U.S. Heyco Metals, a family-owned and operated business since 1969, has been a market leader in engineered copper, copper alloy and stainless steel strip processing. The company operates and invests in manufacturing in U.S.
Product Portfolio: Heyco Metals has produced industry-leading light and medium gauge copper and copper alloy coil and strip for over 50 years. The company offers coppers, brasses, phosphor bronzes, nickels and other high-demand alloys.
Key Development: Heyco Metals has been chosen as one of the area businesses to receive grant money to promote its technology-based manufacturing innovation for the fourth consecutive year, according to an announcement from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The money will assist Heyco in putting into place a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to boost customer satisfaction and supply chain management. Heyco Metals will receive US$25,000 to aid in the implementation of their ERP system. The O'Pake Institute at Alvernia University is the grant's university partner.
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