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Global Heat Treatment Industry

Global Heat Treatment Industry Heat treatment is a combination of operations involving the heating, holding and cooling of metal in the solid state for the purpose of obtaining certain desirable metallurgical properties or surface modification. Heat treatment consumes 17% of US Industrial Energy usage and consists of 2 to 15% of the total production cost. (Source: IHEA) The global heat treatment volume is in the range of $65 to $75 billion . This volume range doesn’t included induction and primary iron and steel heat treatment. The global heat treatment volume estimate is gathered from local heat treatment association’s statistics and correlated with countries’ car production and countries GDP. The common belief is that North America is a $20 Billion industry with 15 million vehicles manufactured in the US in 2012 and $15 trillion GDP. China manufactures 19.5 million vehicles, has more than half of the US’s GDP ($8.3 trillion), and its manufacturing sector generates the equivalent of 30% of its GDP (compared to the US where the manufacturing sector makes up around 12% of its GDP). The China heat treatment market volume should be approx. $11 billion or more. The European Union manufactures 12 million vehicles and has the same combined GDP as the US – its heat treatment volume , cannot be much lower than the US.
Many countries have considered heat treatment a strategic activity for the proper development of its economy and standard of living. For example, Poland and China have significant subsidies and grants provided to furnace manufacturers that develop technologies or modernize the their facilities.
Global Market for Heat Treatment Equipment.
The estimated annual global heat treatment equipment sale is between  $4.375 and $5.5 billion, excluding induction and iron and steel furnaces. 
Approximately 250+ furnace companies around the world manufacture heat treatment equipment. The list of 250 companies does not include oven, induction and steel and iron equipment producers. The U.S. (54) China (40) and the European Union (27) hold the majority in equipment manufacturers . The list of 250+ companies is an arbitrary number and doesn’t match countries’ national data. For example, the Chinese Heat Treatment Association claims that there are 750 companies related to heat treatment , and India’s furnace manufacturers claim there are 50, but not all companies are heat treatment equipment manufacturers. Most likely, from the list of 250 furnace manufacturers, 10% of the companies should not be on the list because of their low technical and production capabilities. At the same time, an additional 10 % should probably be on the list, but I could not locate them and attach their technical significance. My omission of companies that should be on the list will not change the total approximate number of furnace manufacturers around the world. The 250+ companies from the list are in 34 countries and on every continent. The majority of furnace manufacturers are privately owned with several exceptions . Amongst the 12 biggest furnace companies in the world three are privately owned (Ebner, Can Eng and AFC-Holcroft), two are owned by investment groups (ALD, Ipsen,), five are owned by industrial conglomerates (Aichelin, LOI/Tanova, Chugai Ro, DOWA, MTH) and two are publicly traded companies (SECO/WARWICK, Fandong). Two of the largest furnace companies in the world are from Austria and if you add Rubig GmbH (19 on the list) with one of the best Plasma Nitriding technology, Austria should be very proud of its equipment powerhouses.
Largest Furnace Manufactures in the World
      Name      Headquarter and Manufacturing Locations      Product Type
1. Aichelin Ges.mbH  /SAFED/Unitherm/Bosio  Member of Berndoff AG    Austria/China/Brazil/USA/ India/Slovenia    Thermal
2.    Ipsen International GmbH     Germany/USA/Japan/China/ India/Malaysia Vacuum/Thermal
3.    ALD/ALD-Holcroft/ALD-Dynatech/FNAG/TIV  Germany/USA/India/China    Vacuum
4.    Chugai Ro      Japan/China/Taiwan/Indonesia/Thailand       Thermal
5.    SECO/WARWICK S.A, Poland    Poland/USA/India/China/Germany/Brazil    Vacuum/Aluminum/ Thermal
6.    AFC-Holcroft LLC USA/Mexico/China/India/Poland  Thermal
7.    MTH Group IVA, Mahler Schmetz, Huisen, Riva, BMI, Mahler (now with Tanova) Germany/France/China/Poland       Vacuum/Thermal
8.    Dowa/BBI/High Temp   Japan/India/China/Taiwan      Thermal
9.    LOI/Core/Tanova (without iron and steel division)      Germany/China/Poland  Thermal/Aluminum
10.   Can Eng International Furnace Ltd.      Canada    Thermal/Aluminum
11.   Ebner Industrieofenbau GmbH     Austria/China/USA Non-Ferrous
12.   Fengdong       China      Thermal/Vacuum
Largest Furnace Manufacturers by Region

North AmericaEuropeAsiaAustraliaSouth America
1.IpsenLOI/MHTAichelinFurnace Eng.Combustol
2.AFC - Holcroft
ALD - Holcroft
AichelinChugai RoALS TechnologiesMetaltrad
3.Can EngALD Vacuum Technologies/FNAG/TIVFengdong
A-Sistemas Tratamentos Térmicos Ltda
4.Surface CombSECO/WARWICK EuropeDowa/HT
Aichelin Brasil


Expending global operations is very risky and requires huge financial and managerial resources. Most private companies do not have sufficient financial, managerial resources and enough risk tolerance to support global manufacturing. Globalization is not related to international sales, as most companies from the 250+ list conduct international sales, but owning and operating international facilities around the world. The global drivers for heat treatment growth are automobile, heavy construction machinery, aviation, mining, metalworking, tool and die industries . One of the Korean car company estimated that the production of 1 million-car production requires 100 average size sealed quench furnaces . In the average vehicle, 70% of the weight is metal. This high percentage of metal in the vehicle has a profound influence over the demand for heat treatment in this industry.
Vacuum Furnace Market.
According to the study conducted by Technavio, the equipment vacuum market in 2012 hit $610 millions of sales with a 6 % annual growth rate potential . The largest utilization of vacuum equipment is in aviation, automotive, tool, commercial heat treatment, and medical industries.
The next big thing:
Asian/African Markets Fast-growing Asian economies create market opportunities for heat treatment services and equipment, particularly in India, Thailand, Indonesia and, in time, Vietnam and the Philippines. The vehicles manufacturing depends on population size, education (income) and the steel availability in the country or region. We can predict with some degree of accuracy that within the next 10 - 20 years, the highest growth will be in Africa. Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Ghana will have the fastest growth potential in the heat treatment industry.
Growing Technologies and Control System
The driving force behind developing new heat treatment equipment is reducing the environmental footprint, shortening production cycles, and lowering the cost of operation through more efficient utilization of utilities. The low temperature surface modification processes, with their low distortion attractiveness, will gain higher market shares. Nitriding, Sulfonitriding, Low Temperature Vacuum Carburizing, and LPC are good candidates for a high growth potential within the next decade. Thermo-Chemical surface hardening processes such as CVD/PVD, Boronizing / Boriding will gain more acceptance. Processes with low NOx emission will be replacing the higher and more polluted processes. Vacuum technologies will gain market shares in the heat treatment. The major obstacle for more rapid growth of vacuum heat treatment is the high cost of equipment. As vacuum technologies mature, we can predict that the cost of manufacturing vacuum equipment will decrease . At the same time, the environmental concerns will justify higher costs of vacuum equipment compared to traditional furnaces with protective atmospheres. New sources of heat such as infrared heating and microwave assist technology will be more prevalent on the commercial scale. Furnace control systems changed drastically in the last 10 years and the progress will continue. In order to increase the efficiency of the heat treatment process, furnaces will be integrated into the manufacturing production flow. Current development in the control system with PLC/HMI allows instantaneous communication with company production software. The next task for a furnace control development is to design control systems capable of automatic reasoning during the heat treatment cycle and provide solutions to furnace performance problems. The goal is to simplify furnace operation, and at the same time increase the reliability and efficiency of the furnace.