The report segments the global industrial fractionating columns market based on application (oil and gas, and chemicals and petrochemicals), and by geography (the Americas, EMEA, and APAC). It provides a detailed illustration of the major factors influencing the market, including drivers, opportunities, trends, and industry-specific challenges.
Here are some key findings of the global industrial fractionating columns market, according to Technavio heavy industry researchers:
- Growth in global refinery capacity: a major market driver
- Adoption of modular column unit design: emerging market trend
- APAC dominated the global industrial fractionating columns market with over 45% share in 2017
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Growth in global refinery capacity: a major market driver
Growth in global refinery capacity is one of the major factors driving the global industrial fractionating columns market. The global oil and gas refining industry is the largest end-user of industrial fractionating columns. These columns are used in petroleum refineries to separate out the components of complex crude mixtures, such as gasoline and diesel.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the global consumption of liquid fuels in 2016 was estimated at 96.47 mbpd (million barrels per day), as compared with 86.43 mbpd in 2007. Therefore, the growth in global refining capacity has a direct impact on the demand for industrial fractionating columns.
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Adoption of modular column unit design: emerging market trend
Industrial fractionating columns are usually fabricated as a complete segment and then shipped to the plant site for installation. However, some manufacturers have introduced modular columns that can be easily assembled at the site. Similarly, there has been the development of 3D printed parts for distillation columns, which may find future adoption in the manufacture of industrial fractionating columns. These technologies can lead to faster development and deployment of fractionating columns than conventional manufacturing techniques.
According to a senior analyst at Technavio for unit operations research, “Modular process design involves the design and fabrication of discrete, self-contained units or portable skids, which can then be easily stacked or installed at the construction or plant site to form a whole fractionating unit. The modules are fabricated in a controlled environment, which leads to greater efficiency and lowers the effect of external factors on the fabrication process. It also reduces the time required and complexity of work to be performed at the work site.”
Vendors such as EPIC Systems and Koch-Glitsch have been working on developing such modular process systems that reduce the engineering and construction period for distillation units.
Global market opportunities
In 2017, APAC held the largest share of the global industrial fractionating columns market, accounting for more than 45% of the global demand. The region is expected to post very rapid growth during the forecast period. A major factor pushing the demand for industrial fractionating columns in the region is the growing demand for refined fuels from the automotive and power generation industries.
APAC is followed by the Americas in terms of market share. Most of the demand for industrial fractionating columns in the region is concentrated in the US, Canada, Brazil, and Venezuela. The growth in shale gas explorations in the US and Canada and the subsequent increase in refining capacity is expected to be a major factor driving the demand for industrial fractionating columns in the region.
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