Owing to the various characteristics of tungsten carbide such as high thermal conductivity, high resistance to scratches, indentations, acetone, gasoline, ammonia, ethanol, organic solvents, weak acids, and water, and also higher stiffness as compared to steel, it is increasingly being used in the metalworking, power generation, automotive, defense, and oil & gas industries. In addition to this, tungsten carbide can also be pressed and configured into different shapes and sizes and thus, used in cutting tools, drills, industrial machinery and equipment, and abrasives.
On the basis of grain size, the types of tungsten carbide powder available in the market are those with size less than 1 μm, between 1–10 μm, and greater than 10 μm. Amongst these, the powder having grain size between 1–10 μm recorded the highest sales in 2017. This is ascribed to the ability of this type of tungsten carbide powder to be used in making various types of machine equipment, cutting tools, and abrasive products.
The biggest rage presently being observed in the tungsten carbide powder market is the increasing recycling of granular and powdered tungsten carbide scrap. Due to the supply constraints associated with the large-scale use of tungsten carbide, many manufacturers have started the in-house recycling and refining of the scrap, which has resulted in the domestic production and usage of recyclable tungsten carbide products. For example, Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal Corporation gathers the cement carbide scrap from various companies and reprocess and recycle it.
Geographically, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is expected to register the fastest growth in the demand for tungsten carbide powder during the forecast period. This is primarily attributed to the burgeoning demand for tungsten carbide powder from the automotive industry in various APAC countries. For instance, China recorded the highest production of commercial vehicles and passenger cars in the world, with a total production of 29.0 million motor vehicles, in 2017. In addition to this, the flourishing construction and mining sectors in the country are expected to further boost the demand for tungsten carbide powder in the coming years.
Therefore, owing to the numerous advantages offered by tungsten carbide over other conventionally used materials in various industrial processes and the increasing number of construction and production activities across the world, the demand for tungsten carbide powder is expected to increase considerably in the coming years.