The Aerospace Lubricant Market size is forecast to reach US$3.2 billion by 2027 after growing at a CAGR of 6.8% during 2022-2027. Lubrication is essential in applications where moving parts are involved. Aircraft have several different types of moving parts that work in conjunction with each other, many of which are associated with the propulsion system. The objective of lubrication is mainly to improve energy efficiency by reducing friction and to reduce the wear and tear of the moving parts, thereby increasing the life of these parts. Grease, Engine oil, Hydraulic Fluid, Gas turbine oil, and specialty lubricants are the types of aerospace lubricants. Perfluoropolyether (PFPE) lubricants are thermally stable, chemically inert, and have low vapor pressures at very low molecular weights making them the least common and most expensive aerospace lubricant. Increasing investments in defense and growing demand from space and research activities are driving the aerospace lubricant market.
The aerospace industry was one of the very first sectors that were affected by the pandemic. As cases surged, world governments struggled to stop the spread of infection and introduced border closures, travel restrictions as a result of which flights were grounded. To date in certain countries like India international flights remain suspended. The aerospace industry has been among the worst hit by the pandemic, with many airlines forced to suspend operations which also led to layoffs. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airport Council International (ACI), and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) predict that the sector will take at least 3-4 years to roll back to pre-pandemic levels. This has in turn also affected the aerospace lubricant market.
Aerospace Lubricant Market Segment Analysis – By Product
The engine oil segment held the largest share more than 25% in the aerospace lubricant market in 2021. Engine oil is used for reducing friction, cooling, sealing, cleaning, and as a protectant for moving parts. Oils function as a fluid barrier between moving parts to prevent friction and wear and tear. Engine oil provides about 40% of an aircraft’s air-cooled engine’s cooling. It creates a seal between piston rings and cylinder walls which helps in reducing wear and tear, providing compression, and keeping contaminants out while improving fuel efficiency. Various types of oils such as single or monograde oils, multigrade oils, etc are standardized by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), which classifies engine oils by viscosity grades. Oils are classified based on their measured viscosity at high temperatures for single-grade oils and at low and high temperatures for multigrade oils. Based on all the functions of engine oils, it is forecasted to dominate the aerospace lubricant market.
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Aerospace Lubricant Market Segment Analysis – By Type
The mineral based segment held the largest share more than 55% in the aerospace lubricant market in 2021. Mineral oil-based lubricants are derived from crude oil by distillation, solvent extraction, and cracking processes. The advantage of using a mineral-based lubricant over a synthetic lubricant is that mineral-based lubricants have superior solvency. Mineral oils with better solvency maintain a much cleaner engine with better heat transfer, better combustion control, and less sludge. The greater solvency eliminates the accumulation of lead byproducts and keeps contaminants in suspension, enabling the contaminants to be removed from the engine during the oil change. Hence, the mineral-based segment is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period.
Aerospace Lubricant Market Segment Analysis – By Application
The engine segment held the largest share of more than 25% in the aerospace lubricant market in 2021. Aerospace lubricants are used in various parts, such as airframes, auxiliary drive spine shaft, fan motor, control valves, bearings, seals, liquid-fueled turbines, landing gear, and engine, among others. Lubricants play an important role in the engine. Without lubricants, the engine would fail within the span of a few minutes as all the parts would be in direct contact with each other and wear out quickly. Lubricant forms a layer between the parts and reduces friction. As engine oils circulate readily due to their liquid state, they are widely used in aerospace engines. As lubricants are crucial to aviation engines, this sector is expected to see continued growth during the forecast period.
Aerospace Lubricant Market Segment Analysis – By User
The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) segment held the largest share in the aerospace lubricant market in 2021. Due to the pandemic, most of the planes were in the hangar due to government-imposed lockdowns and travel bans making maintenance a must. According to Aviation Week, approximately 9,000 aircraft are in short-term parked status and more than 3,000 aircraft have been put in long-term storage worldwide. Aircraft are designed to be in continual use, so parking them involves regular service to ensure their engines still function, testing systems including the landing gear, preventing corrosion of components such as the fuel tanks, and also cleaning the interiors. The wheel bearing grease is completely removed and replaced each time there is maintenance. Therefore, the MRO segment is expected to continue to drive to the aerospace lubricant market.
Aerospace Lubricant Market Segment Analysis – By Aviation Type
The commercial aircraft segment held the largest share of more than 35% in the aerospace lubricant market in 2021. Commercial aircraft include passenger airplanes, freighters, and private jets. While 2020 was a bad year for civil aviation due to lockdowns, travel bans, and changing quarantine requirements, 2021 is expected to be slightly better due to vaccination rates. For instance, Europe’s largest airline manufacturer, Airbus, delivered 566 jets, down from 863 in 2019. Boeing delivered just 157 aircraft, down from 380 and 806 in 2019 and 2018, respectively. However, the volume of freighters grew. At the beginning of the pandemic, face masks, PPE kits, medicines, medical devices, testing kits, oxygen tanks, etc. needed to be transported, with the advent of the COVID-19 vaccines, transporting the vaccines became a priority. According to IATA, cargo traffic strongly outperformed passenger traffic. China Airlines’ cargo revenue was up by 153% in May 2020, and EVA Air’s was up by 161%. The freighters needed to be regularly serviced, engine oil had to be changed regularly and grease applied to the wheels. This contributed to the demand for aerospace lubricants. As most of the passenger aircraft were parked, maintenance became a priority which also helped drive the aerospace lubricant market.
Aerospace Lubricant Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
North America held the largest share in the aerospace lubricant market in 2021 up to 40%, owing to the well-established aerospace and defense industries in the region. According to Airlines for America (A4A), commercial aviation contributes 5% of U.S. GDP, the equivalent of $1 trillion annually. Pre-pandemic, U.S airlines flew 28,000 flights to more than 800 airports in nearly 80 countries, connecting 2.5 million passengers and transporting 28,000 tons of cargo every day. Two of the world’s largest airline manufacturing companies, Boeing and Lockheed Martin are headquartered in the U.S. On one hand, customers cancelled orders for more than 650 Boeing planes in 2020 but on the other, defense orders shot up. According to Boeing, its primary customer in the defense segment is the United States Department of Defense (U.S. DoD). Revenues from the U.S. DoD, including foreign military sales through the U.S. government, accounted for approximately 83% of Boeing’s 2020 revenues. Thus, increasing investment in defense in the region fueled the growth of the aerospace market during the pandemic. In April 2021, the U.S. Government announced its plans to invest $25 billion into Airport Infrastructure. President Joe Biden introduced a new American Jobs Plan with $25 billion in funding to develop airport infrastructure. Hence, North America is projected to dominate the aerospace market and thereby also the aerospace lubricants market during the forecast period.
Aerospace Lubricant Market Drivers
Investments in Defense
Military aviation comprises of military aircraft used for defense purposes. Military spending was of paramount importance in 2020 due to certain geopolitical issues, trade wars and in general to strengthen the defense. According to research by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global spending on militaries rose to $1.981 trillion in 2020, an increase of 2.6% compared to $1.917 trillion in 2019. The top five largest spenders were the U.S, China, India, Russia, and the UK. As global economies struggled in 2020, defense spending as a percentage of national GDP reached a global average of 2.4% in 2020, up from 2.2% in 2019, the biggest YoY rise, according to SIPRI. Boeing derives a substantial part of its revenue from the U.S DoD. According to the company’s annual report, in 2020, 51% of revenue came from U.S. government contracts and foreign military sales accounted for approximately 37% of the revenue. In November 2020, a contract was signed between the French and Croatian officials valued at $1.2 billion to buy 12 French Rafale fighter jets. The defense giant, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter is considered one of the best modern military jets. In 2020, 74 F-35s were delivered to the United States military, 31 to international partner nations, and 18 to Foreign Military Sales customers, according to Lockheed Martin. Thus, increasing military aircraft production will require more aerospace components, which will act as a driver for the aerospace lubricant market during the forecast period.
Steady Investments in Space Technologies
The space sector is seeing steady investments in new and existing space technologies with funding from both government and private sources. UAE, China, and the U.S launched space missions in 2020. SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer, became the first private company to send astronauts into orbit and to the International Space Station in 2020. SpaceX also launched Starlink, a satellite-based commercial internet service. In January 2020 the Starlink constellation became the largest satellite constellation ever launched. SpaceX also won a contract to handle 40% of the U.S. military’s satellite launch requirements. Solid lubricants, anti-wear coatings, and self-lubricating composites are used in spacecraft as oils and greases cannot be used due to extreme temperature variations. Ongoing research shows that perfluoropolyethers, polyalphaolefins, and cyclopentanes could be suitable for space applications. Hence, investments in space technologies drive the aerospace lubricant market.
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Aerospace Lubricant Market Challenges
Stringent Storage Conditions
The correct storage and handling of aerospace lubricants is important. Improper storage and handling result in deterioration of product quality. Aerospace lubricants should be stored in a dry and dust-free warehouse that is not subject to extreme temperature variations. Greases require special precautions. Grease containers should never be opened in a dusty atmosphere. After use, it needs to be smoothened so that oil does not separate out. Superclean hydraulic fluids are made by extensive filtering of the fluid, thorough cleaning of containers, and packaging in a cleanroom. Precautions should be taken when opening the containers so that the fluid does not lose its super clean properties. According to the NATO Standard for lubricants and associated products, the aviation lubricants that are kept in stock are re-tested to verify that the product is still fit to be used. Such stringent storage conditions could prove to be a challenge for the market.
Aerospace Lubricant Industry Outlook
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Aerospace Lubricant market. Aerospace lubricant market top companies are
In June 2021, FUCHS Petrolub, the world’s largest independent lubricant manufacturer based in Mannheim, Germany, acquired Swedish company Gleitmo Technik AB’s lubricants business.
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A. Lubricants Market – Forecast(2021 – 2026)
B. Industrial Lubricants Market – Forecast(2021 – 2026)
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