Growing Industrial Demand for Silver

There is a growing demand for silver as industry has turned increasingly to advanced technological products and systems that require the metal’s unique qualities, according to speakers at the 2nd Silver Industrial Conference.

The Silver Institute recently conducted the conference where executives and experts from many industrial sectors — including electronics, the textiles and chemical industry, regulatory and financial firms — came together in Washington, D.C. on October 29.

In his introductory remarks, Michael DiRienzo, Executive Director, the Silver Institute, said the reflective and conductive qualities of silver were superior to other metals as today’s high tech products advanced onto the market.

However, it isn’t only in advanced high tech or electronic products where silver plays an essential role. The metal is a critical element in the production of ethylene oxide (EO), a basic chemical vital in the manufacture of commonly used products such as polyester fiber.

Silver is also a vital element in solar energy, said Erica Rannestad, a Senior Analyst for GFMS Thomson Reuters, a global research firm. The metal, she noted, was an indispensable part of the solar energy chain.

Silver’s irreplaceable role as a conductor in driving so many electronic products is widely known. It is found in computers, cell phones, tablets and a myriad of other electronic products. Silver ions are also imbedded in the surfaces of consumer products as well as medical devices because of its antibacterial properties.

Silver also is integrated into fabrics. The metal has been put to one of its most imaginative uses by Naked, Inc., which manufactures a line of underwear incorporating silver threads that help neutralize body odor. Along these lines, although not represented at the Conference, other manufacturers like Ralph Lauren are incorporating silver threads in a range of clothing able to monitor the wearer’s vital signs such as heart rate and temperature.

A concluding panel discussion examined issues affecting silver’s industrial potential in a growing economy and its uses where silver’s unique properties outweigh all other factors. Perhaps presenter David Jollie, Strategic Analyst at Mitsui Global Precious Metals, best summarized silver’s many uses today when he said it was truly a “hybrid metal.” It is a precious possession for millions of investors around the world and yet, on the other hand, an essential component in so many of the world’s established and emerging industries.



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