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Abrasive growth.

Abrasive growth

After struggling through an extended period of weak demand, the domestic abrasives industry can look forward to resuming growth through the '80s.

The US position as a net exporter of abrasive goods has been eroding, from a $38-million surplus in 1967 to a trade deficit of $87 million in 1982. According to the report US abrasives and abrasive machinery markets from Predicasts Inc, Cleveland, OH, the result was a domestic market that increased from about $1 billion in 1967 to over $2.7 billion in 1982, but actually declined in real terms by over 1 percent annually.

There is hope, however. Because of recovering durable goods manufacturing and construction sectors, Senior Research Analyst Dean Peters expects real annual growth for the domestic abrasives industry to reach 5.6 percent through 1987, when abrasive products and machinery sales will top $4.8 billion.

Domestic production of abrasive materials, including both natural and manufactured abrasives, grew from $39 million in 1967 to nearly $244 million in 1982. Manufactured abrasives are expected to maintain market dominance through the mid '90s.

The post-1980s outlook is mixed, but trends are developing that could adversely impact long-term demand. These factors include the well heralded shift of the economy from durables manufacturing to electronics and services, increased use of plastics and other moldable materials that don't require much abrasive finishing, increased durability of certain abrasive products (e.g., cubic boron nitride), and cost-cutting pressures that push for eliminating product fine-finishing operations.

Roughly 1000 companies are now active in the abrasives business.
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Title Annotation:Predicasts report
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Feb 1, 1984
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