Aluminium is an industry-friendly metal used in industries for over decades due to its mechanical and other properties like light weight and tensile strength. Not only in the medical segment but also the many devices that are altering healthcare; thanks to aluminium, people across the globe are living healthier lives.
The aluminium industry in our country can witness a strong growth prospect in the upcoming years. While the national aluminium demand has been rising at the rate of 10% every year, it is predicted that aluminium consumption will double in the subsequent five to seven years.
Aluminium is categorized with properties of ductility, malleability, and high conductivity. It also features distinctive physical properties when compared with other metallic materials. While some aluminium alloys outshine due to their high strength-to-weight ratio, thermal and electric conductivity and resistance to corrosion, and also properties like flexibility, elasticity, and reflectivity. These properties have been accountable for driving the application of aluminium in vital sectors like healthcare and pharmaceutical. The sustainability and biodegradability of aluminium has also optimally leveraged its application in the medical segment. It has resulted in an increased production of the metal and also contributed to the growth of the global aluminium market.
As per industry experts, it has been researched that the global aluminium market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.4% between the years 2017 and 2025. Developing at this rate, the market will be valued at US$249.29 bn by the end of 2025 from US$143.87 bn back in 2016.
Extensive usage of the metal in the healthcare domain accounts for its dominance:
In the domain of healthcare, technological developments of medical devices are an important aspect and this has been a major reason for the increasing dependence of the metal. There is no room for inaccuracies when it comes to medical care since lives are factually at stake. Hence, for any material to be fit for application in this sector, it mandatorily has to meet extremely high standards of performance, functionality, and dependability. This is where the metal predominantly outrivals its equivalents. The extruded aluminium shapes are extensively used in manufacturing a wide range of machines, devices, and other medical instruments like stethoscopes, surgical trays, bedpans, cans and containers, medical diagnostic equipments like MRI/ CT scan machines, X-ray machines, and others.
Medical device OEM’s turning to aluminium over other metals during the pandemic:
As an effective strategy to cope with the current world crisis, the usage of surgical respirators and facemasks has become a chief part of a larger strategy to create physical barriers between infected and uninfected individuals. The sharp rise in the demand for masks and respirators has brought about awareness of the materials that go into its making. Medical face respirators require the appropriate type of accessories to offer comfort on the mouth, as these are worn for a longer interval of time. Aluminium strips also named as 90 mm aluminium nose wire used on the nose wire of the face masks to support the mask on the bridge of the nose. Although the nose pin used on masks is available in both plastic and aluminium, the latter is used to offer higher rigidity in masks and is a significant metal component, particularly in a cup shape mask.
Aluminium usage in pharmaceutical packaging to have steady future growth:
Pharmaceutical packaging is an important part of the manufacturing process that enables in securely transporting drugs from producer to patient. Dynamics like growing population, rise in disposable income and an upward focus to discard plastics in packaging is expected to drive the growth of aluminium for the Pharmaceutical sector in India. The aluminium foil packaging market across the globe is confident to reach US$ 40 Bn by 2030, with a steady growth rate of 6% over the forecast period. Increasing demand for ready-to-eat consumables and pharmaceutical products, amid the global crisis, is driving significant growth opportunities for the aluminium foil packaging market in our country. Moreover, the growth of the foil-wraps aluminium packaging market is due to the ability of the metal to lend water-resistance and cost benefits over other alternatives like plastic. It indicates that Aluminium foil packaging used in the pharmaceutical industry will claim the market pie, accounting for more than one-third of the total market share, with a 4 percent growth rate over the estimated period.
High-quality medicines require packaging that protects against ecological influenceslike moisture. The demand for aluminium foil for the drug blister packaging is gradually rising. Blister packs for tablets consist of a moulded foil having cavities for the separate tablets, along with a push-through closure composed of aluminium foil, which is known as blister filmorlid film. Due to this, the capsules and tablets remain hygienic and have a longer shelf life. Both soft and hard aluminium foils are useful for the cover foils of the push-through packaging. Additionally, the sustainable nature of aluminium foil enables the pharmaceutical packaging sector to contribute to plummeting carbon emission without causing any harm to the planet.
Ongoing technological innovations and mounting awareness about the benefits of aluminium earned it a preference in various industrial set-ups establishing it into a super-material suited for any application.
Author – Mr. Naveen Mehta,
Sr. Vice President – Extrusion Operations
Jindal Aluminium Limited