Refrigeration Insulation Materials Market: Introduction
- Insulation materials play a significant role in controlling heat gains in industrial refrigeration systems. These materials are usually used in piping between the compressor, the evaporator, and the equipment. Insulation materials are employed in energy conservation, prevention of ice accumulation, control surface condensation, and reduction in corrosion.
- While selecting materials for insulation of a refrigeration system, thermal and mechanical factors are considered. Insulation materials used in industrial refrigeration should be suitable enough to operate at minimum and maximum temperature ranges.
- Coolers are generally made of insulating materials and protective skins. Protective skins are usually composed of a metal or fiberglass. The objective of using protective skins is to protect the insulating material, which is fragile and which can get damaged by moisture. The insulation is usually plastic foam material, which is either injected or bonded.
- Materials should have low thermal conductivity and low water vapor permeability. Polystyrene, polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, nitrile rubber, and EPDM are the most common insulation materials used in refrigeration systems.
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Types of Refrigeration Insulation Materials
- In coolers and freezers, polyurethane and extruded polystyrene are the two most commonly used types of plastic foam insulation materials in refrigeration systems. Both extruded polystyrene and expanded polystyrene are used in refrigeration systems. Both materials are durable, inert, and water resistant. Lightweight polystyrene foam has numerous applications not only in refrigerators, industrial cold storage facilities, and freezers but also in building walls and roofing. Extruded polystyrene can save higher energy as compared to polyurethane foams.
- Polyurethane foam is another type of insulating material, which is widely used in refrigeration systems. Polyurethane foam is excellent in insulation and light in weight, which reduces transportation costs. It is structurally strong, owing to its rigidity and adhesion to protective skins. Prices of polyurethane are lower than its substitutes, which maintains the overall cost of refrigerators and freezers at minimum. Insulation efficiency of polyurethane foam is a key factor considered by refrigerator manufacturers. Polyurethane is widely used in food preservation during processing, storage, and distribution.
- Insulation efficiency is estimated by finding R-value. The greater the R-value is, higher is the resistance to heat flow of polyurethane and better are its insulating properties. When operating at the mean temperature range of below −10°F to 50° F, polyurethane has a lower R-value at lower mean temperatures, whereas extruded polystyrene has a higher R-value at colder temperatures. Thus, extruded polystyrene performs better at lower temperatures and polyurethane performs worse at lower temperatures.
Key Drivers of Global Refrigeration Insulation Materials Market
- Nitrile rubber, polyurethane, and polystyrene foams help in reducing energy losses and prevent ice accumulation at high efficiency. These foams support low energy consumption, which acts a key driver of the global refrigeration insulation materials market.
- People in Japan, Europe, and North America are heavily dependent on frozen foods and commercial establishments for food. Refrigeration systems are necessary to preserve foods. Supermarkets and hypermarkets in developed nations have cold storage warehouses, vending machines, and refrigerators that require insulation materials for energy efficiency. Increasing dependency on these commercial food chains is likely to drive the demand for refrigeration systems as well as insulation materials used in them during the forecast period.
- Food & beverages is the key end-use industry segment of the global market for refrigeration insulation materials. As per a report published by Euro Monitor International, 164 million units of refrigeration systems were sold worldwide in 2017, out of which Haier accounted for 21.2% of the share. Increase in the demand for cold beverages and packaged food that requires refrigeration is estimated to augment the global refrigeration insulation materials market in the near future.
Key Restraints of Global Refrigeration Insulation Materials Market
- Ongoing lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is projected to negatively impact the global industry for refrigeration systems and thereby, the global refrigeration insulation materials market. Even after the lockdown, people are likely to avoid opting for commercial food chains, where chances of contamination are high. The pandemic is likely to hamper the global refrigeration system industry for almost a year, which is estimated to bounce back to usual pace after the end of 2020.
Key Manufacturers Operating in Global Refrigeration Insulation Materials Market
Key manufacturers operating in the global refrigeration insulation materials market are:
- Owens Corning
- Armacell International S.A.
- Aspen Aerogels
- BASF SE
- Morgan Advanced Materials
- Zhejiang Zhenshen Insulation Technology Corp. Ltd.
- Johns Manville
- NMC SA
- Cabot Corporation
- Lydall Inc.
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