Rising demand for water and power and the rapid growth of process industries in developing economies point to robust growth ahead in industrial valve sales, a market research company predicts.
These demand factors, coupled with innovations in valve and industrial process technology, will drive the market, according to a recent research report by Global Industry Analysts. Pollution control regulations will also spark growth in the industry, the analysts note.
Valves controlling the flow of gases, liquids, and slurries are critical components in capital-intensive installations. Therefore, the market outlook for them is largely tied to the infrastructural upgrade and new facility markets.
The largest market by region is currently Europe, based on its high level of plant automation, though Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East are likely future growth hot spots. The Asia-Pacific region shows a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.6 percent, led by both strong investment in heavy industry and infrastructure development.
The largest segment of the valve market is the globe and check valve segment. These valves are well-suited to high-pressure applications and they are generally impervious to the presence of impurities or sludge in the flow.
The study predicts that nuclear valves will represent the fastest growing segment, based on the expectation that global demand for new nuclear plants will be strong despite concerns about escalating costs and safety. The U.S. Energy Information Administration outlook for domestic nuclear power shows a range of scenarios, which run from a slight increase in capacity of 19 percent of electricity today to 20 percent in 2040, to a significant fallback to 10 percent of total generation. But other countries, especially those with limited oil and gas reserves, such as China, are expected to add considerable nuclear capacity.
The largest end-use sectors for industrial valves are the chemical industry and the oil and gas industry.
Included in the analysis were globe and check valves, ball valves, control valves, butterfly valves, waterworks valves, solenoid valves, and nuclear valves. These were evaluated across the following industries and markets: chemical, petroleum refining, pulp and paper, water and sewage utilities, electric power generation, oil and gas transmission, petroleum production, and commercial construction.
Looking at advances in valve technology, stemless valves utilizing magnetic actuation are well-suited to automated applications. These valves feature fail-safe magnetic interlocks. They exhibit no valve stem breakage, lower turning torque at high pressures, and zero fugitive emission discharge for the life of the valve.
Nuclear valves require extensive qualification tests to ensure their ability to withstand thermal, vibration, and radiation aging throughout their design life.
Solenoid valves, which have been an industry staple for years, now feature two-way and three-way configurations. Next-generation electronics have produced valves that can use 88 percent less energy than their predecessors. Market share for smart valves with digital positioners has grown aggressively over the past decade. For example, some system-critical smart valve applications use built-in redundancy and statistical analysis to evaluate probability of failure. If failure is considered likely, the system will automatically switch to an alternate valve.
Valve actuators often represent the business end of an industrial automation system. Various valve automation schemes encompass a rich set of actuators that allow valves to be adjusted in response to a control signal. These include: Scotch yoke actuators, linear actuators, rotary vane actuators, multi-port flow selectors, helical spline actuators, rack and pinion actuators, and electric actuators.
As more industrial systems are put in place and others are modernized for improved energy efficiency or enhanced system performance, we can expect to see more of these new valve systems deployed.