Ceramic and glass materials are integral components in the global automotive industry


The massive automotive industry drives the economies of countries, companies, and entire other industries—from manufacturing and R&D to individual material supply chains.

Current figures indicate that the global automotive industry is worth an estimated $4 trillion, with automotive manufacturing revenues accounting for about half of that.

And though you might expect growth to slow in an industry of this size, the global automotive industry is in fact still expanding.

Emerging vehicle trends, including enhanced connectivity and shared mobility, are predicted to add more than $1 trillion to the automotive economy over the next 25 years. These changes not only boost the bottom line, but are also causing major evolutions in the entire automotive industry.

Automotive manufacturing represents a significant slice of global manufacturing activities, but the reach of this burgeoning industry stretches way beyond manufacturing sectors—before workers and robots even begin assembling the automobiles, a significant amount of time and money is devoted to automotive R&D.

According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the automotive industry annually spends some $105 billion on R&D worldwide. To put that in perspective, the global aerospace and defense industry spent only $21.8 billion on R&D in 2015.

And because each vehicle (with an internal combustion engine; electric vehicles are another story) is assembled from roughly 10,000 components, many of which are made from—or made possible with—ceramic and glass materials, all that manufacturing and R&D activity equates to a lot of business for the ceramic and glass industries.

Ceramic and glass materials are pervasive in automobiles—from myriad sensors to windows, batteries, catalytic converters, engine coatings, brakes, and much more. And in addition to automotive components themselves, the ceramic and glass industries contribute to the automotive supply chain through ceramic cutting tools, steel and glassmaking refractories, and more.

Market research suggests that the global automotive ceramic market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.52% from 2017 through 2022. And the automotive glass market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of nearly 6.7% through 2025.

Between rising tides of technology integration, lightweighting efforts, and the emergence of electric and autonomous vehicles, the automotive landscape is vastly changing. And those changes will have consequent reverberations in the ceramic and glass industries.

For instance, the imminent rise of electric vehicles is driving more extensive research and investment in new and improved batteries. Plus, rapid development of autonomous vehicles is behind new markets for sensor technologies, akin to how the rise in connectivity and growth of the Internet of Things continues to expand the already huge automotive electronics market.

From composite braking systems that save weight to refractories that enable production of new types of high-strength steel, it’s clear—the entire materials supply chain is involved and integrated into the automotive industry. And that entire ceramic materials supply chain will be represented at Ceramics Expo 2018, May 1–3 in Cleveland, Ohio.

For more insights into the role of ceramics and glass in the automotive industry, see our full report at www.ceramics.org/carfeature.

The American Ceramic Society is the proud founding partner of Ceramic Expo and will be exhibiting at Ceramic Expo 2018 at Booth 308.