Electric Insulators Market: Overview
An electric insulator is defined as a material that does not conduct electricity due to lack of free flow between its internal electric charges. In other words, in case of electric insulator materials, electrons surrounding the nuclei of atoms do not move around or relocate from one atom to another and hence, they do not conduct electricity. Products manufactured from electric insulator materials for the purpose of providing electric isolation and mechanical support are called electric insulators. Some of the commonly known electric insulator materials are wood, cotton, air, plastics, glass, and ceramics.
One of the most important functions of insulators is to provide protection from hazardous effects of electricity. This makes them particularly useful in electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) networks. Rise in investments in T&D networks is an important driver of the global electric insulators market. Developed countries of North America and Europe are in the process of upgrading their networks and building new networks to carry electricity generated from renewable sources. On the other hand, developing countries such as India and China are in the process of expanding their networks to ensure that electricity reaches every corner of their area. These investments are expected to propel the global electric insulators market during the forecast period.
Degradation of electric insulators due to weather- and pollution-related factors is a major issue faced by the global electric insulators market as well as product manufacturers. Other issues include corrosion and deposition of layers of salts, inert material, contaminants, and industrial emissions on electric insulators. Adverse weather conditions result in dissolving of these layers, leading to increased conductivity of insulators. This in turn raises the level of leakage current.
Electric Insulators Market: Key Segments
The global electric insulators market can be segmented based on material, voltage, application, and region. In terms of material, the global electric insulators market can be segregated into ceramics, polymers, fiberglass, and composites. Traditionally, electric insulators have been manufactured from ceramic and polymer materials. However, composite material insulators are now being used on a much larger scale. The composites segment is likely to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period.
In terms of application, the global electric insulators market can be segregated into transmission & distribution networks, electric traction systems, and equipment (such as surge arrestors, instrument transformers, and circuit breakers). The most commonly used application is T&D networks. The T&D networks segment is expected to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period. Electric traction systems are commonly used in railway lines.
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Electric Insulators Market: Regional Outlook
Electric insulators have a high level of resistivity. However, they contain some mobile charges that carry current. Eventually, all insulators become conductive on application of a sufficiently large voltage. The point at which an insulator starts conducting electricity is called breakdown voltage. Electric insulators can be classified based on voltage level that they can handle. In terms of region, the global electric insulators market can be segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa.
Electric Insulators Market: Key Players
Some of the prominent manufacturers operating in the global electric insulators market are DuPont, Maclean-Fogg, K-Line Insulators Limited, and PPC Austria Holding GmbH.