Ball clay is finely-textured clay produced from sedimentary clays. Also known as plastic clay, the development of ball clay occurred when kaolinite, which is developed from decomposed granite, was washed away by its parent rocks in rivers and other water bodies.
As these water bodies continued to flow down the mountain ranges, they mixed with other sands, gravels, and other minerals and over a period of time, settled down to form ball clay seams.
Product features such as high elasticity, excellent workability, improved rheological characteristics, high strength and elasticity, and sufficient organic content are anticipated to increase the ball clay demand, in future.
Rising demand in the automobile industry to produce lightweight vehicles has driven the global ball clay market.
A key reason behind the deployment of ball clay in lightweight vehicle production is because of their high fire resistance as well as superb insulation and drainage characteristics.
Also, ball clays have witnessed increased demand in the agricultural sector in the fertilizers and insecticides production which is expected to fuel the growth in the global Ball Clay Market, in the coming years.
Rising Ceramic Products Demand for Construction Activities to Propel Global Ball Clay Market
Ceramics, which comprise of ball clay, have been deployed extensively in different construction activities such as floor tiles, sanitaryware products, and tableware products. The increased ceramics demand in the construction industry is expected to fuel the growth in the overall ball clay market, in future.
Other factors such as rapid industrialization and urbanization, especially in developing economies globally, and rising fixed disposable income among families could assist in increasing the ball clay demand, in the years ahead.
COVID-19 Pandemic Adversely Affects Growth in Global Ball Clay Market
The future of the ball clay market seemed optimistic because of its rising application areas, but the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted the growth in the market.
With governments imposing strict social distancing regulations and lockdowns in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, construction activities were forced to proceed with reduced labor or were halted completely.
The reduced construction activity affected the demand for ceramic products and in turn, adversely affected the growth in the ball clay market, too.
In addition to this, the closing of the regional boundaries disrupted the overall supply chain and impacted the global ball clay market.
However, with the availability of different vaccines and the approval of booster doses for all population sections, it is anticipated that construction activities will resume with increased labor and other key resources soon, leading to increased demand for ceramic products and in turn, contributing to the growth of ball clay market.
While ball clay has been deployed in various industries owing to its numerous benefits, they still have some disadvantages, which could affect product demand in future.
High Costs, Limited Product Availability Could Dent the Growth in the Ball Clay Market in Future
Ball clay incurs high costs since they are rare and available only in select countries of the world. Also, the mining of ball clay could have a negative impact on the environment.
These product drawbacks could force manufacturers to look for suitable alternatives, which are more easily available. This could affect the ball clay demand and impact market growth.
Prominent ball clay market players could engage in growth strategies such as novel product launches in a bid to gain a competitive edge over others.
Leading France-based market player Imerys announced the launch of a new line of chamotte products in a bid to meet the increasing demand for sanitaryware products, globally.
R&D undertakings to produce improved quality of products that would meet the requirements of a large number of customers could be a key growth strategy for leading ball clay market players, in the years ahead.