Tungsten is a rare material found naturally, particularly in chemical compounds, on Earth. It is commonly found in wolframite and scheelite ores. It is known for its distinctive properties such as high density, high melting point, and excellent blending abilities. Tungsten is also one of the highest melting point metal found on Earth. Many alloys of tungsten such as light bulb filaments, electrodes, X-ray tubes, radiation shielding, and super alloys are used in various applications in different sectors. Tungsten is employed in military applications such as projectiles and insulation shielding due to its hard physical form and high density. Tungsten finished products are also used as catalysts in numerous industrial processes.
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Based on type, the market for tungsten finished products can be segregated into wires and sheets. In terms of application, the market for tungsten finished products can be broadly segmented into electrical & electronics, aerospace, and industrial. Under the type segment, wires held significant share of the tungsten finished products market in 2016. It is anticipated to maintain its position during the forecast period. Tungsten wires is largely used in lamps, heaters, electrodes, and printers. This is one of the factors boosting the wire segment. Filaments made from tungsten are used as ultrahigh temperature halogen lamps and as thermionic emitters. The wire segment was followed by the sheet segment, which accounted for minimal share in 2016. Tungsten sheets & plates are used in heaters, heat spreaders, sintering boats, spacers, weights, and various kinds of jigs and tools. Tungsten sheets are primarily employed during the production of sintering boats due to its excellent cutting, blending, and sputtering abilities.
The market for tungsten finished products is anticipated to expand at a moderate pace during the forecast period. Tungsten finished products such as filaments are being replaced with advanced alternatives such as compact fluorescent lamps and light emitting diodes owing to technological advancements. Demand for tungsten finished products is estimated to continue to be high during the forecast period due to their application in heaters and corona wires.
Geographically, Asia Pacific held significant share of the tungsten finished products market in 2016. According to the data released by the United States Geological Survey, global tungsten reserves stood at around 3.5 million tons in 2014; China alone accounted for 1,900,000 metric tons of tungsten in the year. Consumption of tungsten in Asia Pacific is comparatively higher than that in any other region owing to the strong manufacturing industry in Asia Pacific.
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Tungsten finished products are used in the production of printers, lamps, heaters, furnaces, etc. in the electrical & electronics industry. China is the hub for electrical & electronics products. The market in Asia Pacific was followed by that in North America and Europe in 2016. Production of tungsten stood at 430000 metric tons in 2014 in North America. Demand for tungsten finished products is likely to be high in the region, led by the presence of strong electrical & electronics and aerospace industries. Tungsten sheets are used as insulation shields in the production of aerospace shuttles, planes, etc. Russia was the major producer of tungsten (250,000 metric tons) in Europe in 2014. It was followed by Austria (10,000 metric tons). Presence of robust manufacturing industries in Europe is projected to augment the demand for tungsten and tungsten finished products in the region during the forecast period.