Metal and Electroplating Industry


Activated carbon finds its uses in various industrial segments for groundwater remediation, air purification, drinking water filtration, and cleaning up of oil spills. The demand for activated carbon is ever higher, especially since governments worldwide have started offering grants and subsidies for air and water purification. In addition, the rapid pace of industrialization in regions such as the Asia Pacific will prove further lucrative for the overall growth of the activated carbon market.

The rising environmental concerns are also accentuating the requirement for activated carbon. Regulatory agencies are now issuing directives to curb mercury emissions caused by various industries, for instance, petrochemicals. Various environmental regulations, such as MATS (Mercury and Air Toxic Standard), issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are being introduced to reduce emissions of acidic gases from coal and similar power plants. Activated carbon efficiently helps in controlling these emissions. Thus, the formulation of such regulations is expected to drive global demand.

Production Segments:

Industries that produce raw materials, such as sawdust and coconut shells, produce significant quantities of activated carbon. Manufacturers and providers of these raw materials have now integrated their manufacturing processes to control the fluctuating prices of these raw materials. Coal, coconut shells, peat, wood pulp, and lignite are necessary to produce activated carbon. However, the majority of raw material manufacturers focus their activity on supplying coconut shells. Coconut shell is known for its natural hardness, which makes carbon black abrasion-resistant. The high carbon content in the coconut shell creates a lot of foam, which is used in production and increases absorption capacity. Activated carbon from coconut shells has a higher value of iodine than that produced from coal, thus making it the most preferred raw material for manufacturing.

Impact of Metal and Electroplating Industry:

The metal finishing process has significantly changed over the past few decades. What was once an empirical craft has now evolved into a technology grounded on some basic principles: electroplating. It is a metal surface finishing with applications in many end-user industries such as electrical and electronics, automotive, defense and aerospace, machinery parts and components, and many more. Electroplating is a process in which metal ions in a given solution are attached to a metal substrate through electrolytic deposition. It allows manufacturers to use inexpensive metals such as steel and zinc for their product and afterward apply different forms of electroplating on the surface to improve its appearance and prevent it from corrosion.

Activated carbon is used extensively in the metal and electroplating industry due to its ability to remove heavy metals in electroplating wastewater. Electroplating is witnessing a rising demand from end-user industries, which has propelled the market growth, increasing the demand for activated carbon. The global market for electroplating is also driven by the electronics and electrical industry and is closely followed by the automobile industry. Electroplating is also utilized to improve the electrical conductivity of components and parts of electronic products. Emerging markets like China, South Korea, and India are witnessing immense economic growth, increasing electroplating demand, thus driving the activated carbon market.

Growth in Regional Markets:

North America and Western Europe collectively account for a significant value share in the electroplating market, thus driving demand for activated carbon. The markets in these regions are anticipated to be relatively mature compared to thethoseacific. However, South Korea, China, and India are expected to provide significant opportunities for electroplating in the coming years, directly improving the demand for activated carbon.

Due to its ability to reduce impurities, activated carbon is extensively used to remove impurities in various industrial applications. Manufacturers of electronic devices and products are obligated to coat their products using electroplating techniques. The rate at which electronic products are sold also inspires robust growth in the market for activated carbon. In addition, automotive industries are now installing units dedicated to surface-coating, most of which will use electroplating methods to cover vehicles with a layer of non-corrosive protection. This, in turn, is expected to drive the demand for activated carbon.

The global market for electroplating is anticipated to grow at a constant rate in the upcoming years since the scope of its application is now rising enormously across the globe. While manufacturer preferences may differ regarding expensive or inexpensive metals, the increased demand for metal and electroplating will drive further production for carbon black.