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Cryocooler Market Overview
The global cryocooler market witnessed a significant growth during the historical period, and is expected to register a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period (2017–2023). Some of the factors driving the market include increasing medical and healthcare services, predominately in developing countries; shortage of helium gas; and growing production of liquified natural gas (LNG). Moreover, surging applications in end-use industries, such as semiconductor and aerospace, are accelerating the growth of the market.
Cryocooler is a mechanical device used to produce very-low temperature using compression and expansion of gas. The low temperature is also called cryogenic temperature that is used for various applications including superfluidity, superconductivity, densification, and low thermal noise. Cryocoolers are governed by various techniques including Gifford–McMahon, Joule–Thomson, and pulse-tube. The mass of the gas remains constant throughout the process, owing to the closed cycle thermodynamic mechanism.
Based on industry, the cryocooler market is categorized into aerospace & defense, healthcare, semiconductor & electronics, energy, environmental monitoring, agriculture & biology, nuclear, mining & metals, transportation, and others, wherein the others category includes commercial research & development, oil & gas, and lighting. Cryocoolers find large adoption in the aerospace & defense industry, mainly in military and space applications, therefore, the industry holds the largest market share. In military applications, cryocoolers are used for maintaining infrared (IR) sensors at cryogenic temperature to effectively monitor satellite and guide missiles. In space application, cryocoolers find applications in planetary science and space astronomy.
Cryocooler Market Dynamics
Cryocoolers are being utilized in the healthcare industry, predominately in applications like MRI systems, cryosurgery, proton therapy, and liquefaction of oxygen in hospitals. MRI systems are highly influenced by technological advancement in cryocooling technologies. MRI systems use open cycle cryostats as standard approach and with the advancements in cryocoolers, the need for refilling of helium is phased out, which is resulting in high adoption of cryocoolers in the healthcare sector.
Traditional cryocoolers used liquids, such as liquid helium and liquid nitrogen, for cooling purposes. These types of systems worked on open cycle thermodynamic mechanism and provided passive cooling rather than active cooling. However, with the depletion of helium as a natural resource, the demand for cryocoolers has been accelerated significantly. A cryocooler works on closed cycle mechanism and as a substitute of helium by keeping the volume of the gas constant. Therefore, with the shortage of helium gas, the demand for cryocoolers is increasing.
Cryocooler Market Competitive Landscape
Major stakeholders of the cryocooler market include prototype designers, hardware manufacturers, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Prototypes designers design custom cryocoolers for specific end-use industries. The hardware manufacturers provide heat dissipation pipes, cold heads, compressors, feedthrough pipes, service tubes, pressure vessels, and vibration absorbers. Whereas, OEMs produce cryocoolers in bulk and provide services based on the needs of end users.
Some of the major players in the global cryocooler market include Northrop Grumman Corporation, Janis Research Company, RICOR Cryogenic & Vacuum Systems, Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd., Advanced Research Systems, Cryomech Inc., SunPower Corporation, Brooks Automation, Chart Industries Inc., Superconductor Technologies Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, L3 Technologies, Air Liquide S.A., and DH Industries Inc.
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