If the metalworking fluid industry in the United States is to rise above the current stagnant demand for its products, it must work on developing innovative new products and finding new niche markets, according to a report released Thursday from Frost & Sullivan.
New product innovation to meet technological trends such as high speed machining will help metalworking fluid suppliers to remain ahead of competitors, and the increased growth in niche markets is also offering growth prospects for high performance fluid products , the report noted.
Frost & Sullivan's U.S. Metalworking Fluids Market study showed that the metalworking fluids market had revenues of $909.4 million in 2006 and is forecasted to reach $988.7 million by 2013.
As the market for metalworking fluids in the U.S. becomes more competitive, the fluid suppliers are struggling to maintain production capacities while facing increased raw material costs and tighter regulations, said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sreeram R.
Other factors are influencing the market including the decline in consumption of metalworking fluids in the U.S. as end-user industries, such as the automotive manufacturers, move away; and large end-user industries, such as the aerospace industry, who are using non-ferrous metal solutions that provide similar characteristics as iron and steel, along with low weight.
To meet the demand for safer products, many metalworking fluid suppliers are developing products that use environmentally friendly formulations, while still providing the benefits of traditional fluids.
Still, the biggest challenge to growth in the metalworking fluid market is the shift from traditional machining methods to high speed machining, explained Sreeram.
Technological trends within end-use applications are changing so quickly, that fluid suppliers are finding it difficult to keep up with individual requirements for niche products.
For metalworking fluid manufacturers to reap benefits from these opportunities they must concentrate on developing cost-efficient innovative products that meet the needs of a changing metalworking industry, the report concluded.