The metalworking fluids industry faces a decade replete with changes, challenges, and opportunities.
The metalworking fluids market accounts for approximately 6% of the total estimated 38 million ton global lubricants market. Significant contractions in automotive and metals production as a result of the global economic crisis led to depressed metalworking fluids demand. However, the recent rebound of the automotive industry, particularly in North America, has brought a significant uptick in demand for metalworking fluid products according to a recent study covering the metalworking fluids industry by global consulting and research firm Kline & Company.
Looking to the future, such market drivers including regulation, application, and innovation will have an impact on the metalworking fluids industry. From a volume standpoint, the consultancy predicts a growth rate of 3%, but this will not be enough to compensate for the significant volumes lost in 2008-2009. However, from a revenue perspective, robust growth is anticipated from increased interest in higher quality metalworking fluids such as synthetics, semi-synthetics/synthetic blends and water soluble products. Asia (primarily China, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan), Russia, and Brazil are expected to be the growth engines of the industry in the near future.
The metalworking fluids market is extremely fragmented with over 50% of served by smaller players who are focused on particular end-use applications, geographic area or both. These smaller but well-established and trusted marketers potentially represent lucrative turn-key acquisition opportunities for strategic buyers not yet active in this business or those wishing to increase their market share. Considerable interest has also been generated in the private equity community for opportunistic buy and builds in this industry. For example, Houghton became the global market leader after the addition of the DA Stuart and Shell metalworking fluid businesses.
Kline's comprehensive study of the global metalworking fluids industry is presented in multiple programs - as a standalone Metalworking Fluids Global Series and as a part of Global Lubricants: Market Analysis and Opportunities. These studies will assist subscribers in understanding the lasting impact of the recession on this industry in terms of size, regions, product, technology, and market trends, and "post-recession" growth. This analysis provides metalworking fluid formulators, marketers, additive suppliers, and end-users with the latest information on products, services, applications, and trends.