Companies in this industry manufacture coated and bonded abrasive products, including grinding wheels, sandpaper, and abrasive grains. Major companies include 3M (US), Noritake (Japan), Saint-Gobain (France), and Tyrolit (Austria).
The global abrasives manufacturing industry is forecast to grow nearly 6 percent per year through 2017, reaching a value of $40 billion, according to Freedonia Group. Leading abrasives-producing countries include China, Germany, and Japan. China is the largest source of abrasives imports to the US and the fastest-growing among the top suppliers over the last decade.
The US abrasives manufacturing industry includes about 250 companies with combined annual revenue of about $5 billion.
Demand for manufactured industrial products is the major driver of sales for abrasives. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations, as many products are considered commodities. Large companies enjoy economies of scale in purchasing. Small companies can compete effectively by specializing in products for particular manufacturing functions. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate more than 85 percent of revenue.
Imports account for about 25 percent of the US market. The largest suppliers to the US are China, Canada, and Germany. Exports, which make up about 20 percent of US production, go mainly to Canada, Mexico, and Germany.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Abrasive products are made of grains of hard minerals and are used to produce and maintain a wide variety of manufactured products made of metal, plastics, glass, and wood. Abrasives...