The global vacuum pump market was valued at USD 5. 14 billion in 2020. It is expected to reach a value of USD 8. 01 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 7. 41% over the forecast period (2021-2026). The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the market for vacuum technologies in the initial months due to disruption of the supply chain and logistics.
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Still, later, it witnessed increased adoption of various other solutions. According to Altas Copco, order volumes for equipment also increased, mainly due to increased demand for vacuum equipment in the semiconductor industry. The order intake increased in Asia and Europe but decreased in North America. The overall growth was primarily driven by customers’ investments in new production technology and, to a certain extent, by investments in production capacity. With such a change in the vacuum equipment market, the vacuum pumps demand witnessed heightened demand.
Vacuum pumps play a significant role in the production process of semiconductor devices. The overall demand for the semiconductor IC market is driven by smartphones and other applications across consumer electronics, automotive, etc. These are caused by technology transitions, such as wireless technologies (5G) and artificial intelligence. Also, the trending usage of Internet of Things-based devices is expected to encourage the semiconductor industry to invest in this equipment.
According to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS), the global sales of semiconductors witnessed a year-on-year growth of 6.8% in 2020. Further, the global semiconductor market is expected to grow to USD 551 billion in 2021, representing a 25.1% growth rate. A confluence of factors, including the double-digit growth in the memory chips market (37.1% growth rate), has increased the sales of semiconductors in 2021 worldwide.
The increasing application of MEMS technology in the vacuum pumps industry is expected to drive the market further. MEMS technology has many applications across numerous market verticals, specifically consumer electronics, such as tablets, smartphones, and video game systems.
For instance, MEMS-based environmental hubs and gas sensor vacuum pumps are becoming more prevalent since people’s perception of their immediate environment has changed. Due to pollution, the population cares more about the air they breathe, both within their houses and outside.
Moreover, vacuum pumps also play a vital role in the pharmaceutical industry. These pumps are used in all manufacturing stages, including drying, distillation, degassing, crystallization, sublimation, and filling. Each vacuum pump is used as a part of a vacuum prime system design used to make intermediate products, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and bulk drugs. Such applications in various end-user industries make vacuum pumps vital elements that carry out critical tasks in the value chain.
Further, the market has been witnessing activities to boost production capacities, driven by a high focus to capture the demand from the semiconductor industry. In October 2020, EBARA Precision Machinery Europe (EPME), an overseas group company of EBARA Corporation (EBARA) in Germany, announced a new center to overhaul dry vacuum pumps. This is expected to be the second overhaul center for EPME. Through this expansion, the company aims to manifest its long-term vision, E-Vision 2030. It mentioned that the EBARA Group would contribute to developing high-spec semiconductors necessary to address the increasing demand for Cloud, AI, IoT, automated driving (self-driving cars), and 5G through the provision of cutting-edge semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
Key Market Trends
Oil & Gas Sector is Expected to Hold Significant Market Share
Oil is a vital and versatile substance, used in different ways and in different forms for various applications. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) projects that the global oil product demand will reach around 109 million barrels per day by 2045, with transportation fuels such as gasoline and diesel anticipated to remain the most consumed products.
Currently, most pumps and other installations in oil and gas have large operational expenditures compared to capital costs. This pushes their B/C ratio and increases their payback period. To avoid this problem, large vacuum apparatus such as vacuum pumps must be very efficient, reducing additional equipment running these pumps and having adequate control systems.
Steam ejectors use a lot of energy in this industry and require huge capital and maintenance costs associated with the steam generation and pumping. To reduce this problem, a vacuum pump can effectively replace most of these steam injectors. This effectively reduces the high costs of generating steam and increases the benefits. The efficiency of this equipment is also very high as compared to steam processes. Therefore, more substantial savings and increased benefits are obtained when using these machines.
Distillation is one of the standard processes in most refineries. This process requires the condensation of natural products such as naphtha. To effectively complete this process, the pump must perform as a condenser and distiller. After atmospheric distillation, a more significant fraction of crude oil is driven into the vacuum distillation unit, one of the most productive and critical equipment in the refinery. The vacuum in a distillation column is kept by a multistage steam ejector unit, including liquid ring vacuum pumps.
Jet vacuum pumps are often combined with the liquid ring pumps to create a vacuum in crude oil distillation columns. Combining two pump types with a simple but appropriate control system facilitates low cooling water consumption, power, and motive medium. A player such as the GEA group offers jet vacuum pumps that are suited for this application. They convey large quantities of gas, which operate smoothly and need very little maintenance. A wide choice of materials means that corrosion can be reduced or eliminated.
North America Accounts For Largest Market Share
The increasing investments in the end-user industries, such as oil and gas, chemical, and power generation, significantly impact the vacuum pump market in the North American region due to the increasing natural gas production. Countries in the area, such as the United States and Canada, have abundant oil reserves, and they try to utilize their oil sands resources.
The boom of shale gas in the United States and the stabilizing oil prices are driving the usage of vacuum pumps in the chemical and oil and gas industries. Additionally, these applications are often exposed to harsher conditions, resulting in low productivity, driving the oil and gas companies to replace existing equipment with advanced technologies.
Energy production in the United States continues to expand rapidly. For instance, ExxonMobil, one of the major oil producers in the country, announced its plans to increase the production activity in the Permian Basin of West Texas by producing around 1 million BPD oil equivalent as early as 2024.
The United States also pioneered various solar energy projects and remained a powerhouse in new renewable energy technologies. The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated that the net capacity of the electric power sector in the country was estimated to be around 1.07 terawatts in 2020 and was expected to increase significantly in the future to reach approximately 1.7 terawatts by 2050.
Furthermore, higher production of coal per employee hour could lead to higher usage of vacuum pumps to compensate for the increase in the production hours. Moreover, increased sales could lead to higher investments by the mining companies in vacuum pumps, as they are extensively used in mining plants. This could lead to coal plants installing many conventional and advanced vacuum pumps, thus, driving the demand for vacuum pumps in this region.
The vacuum pumps market is highly fragmented due to the presence of prominent global and local players. Also, global investment in R&D in power generation infrastructure and facility upgrades in the oil and gas are the essential drivers who are giving intense rivalry among competitors. Key players are Gardner Denver Inc., Atlas Copco Group, Flowserve Corporation, etc. Some of the recent developments in the market are -
August 2021 - Pfeiffer Vacuum announced its new HiPace 80 Neo turbopump, which features a more extended life before service and reduced vibration and noise emissions. These benefits are made possible with the new, advanced Laser Balancing system developed for turbopump rotors.
February 2020 - Atlas Copco acquired Dekker Vacuum Technologies, Inc., a US supplier of vacuum equipment and service solutions for industrial applications. This acquisition is expected to complement the existing portfolio of the former in the liquid ring pump market and ensures a strong reputation serving diverse industrial needs in North America.
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