The market of metalworking fluids is among the stronger avenues of the lubricants industry. However, it is currently witnessing significant change arising from shifting HSE regulations, changes in machining technology and materials, a reversal of offshoring to low-cost locations, and growth in additive manufacturing. Demand growth also remains weak, partly due to the slowdown in China and the overcapacity in many end-use industries including steel, with an increase of 0.2% in 2019 compared to the previous year. However, growth differs from one country to another.
Specifically, Asia-Pacific, the largest market for metalworking fluids with a share of nearly 40% in global demand, remained almost flat, but this is mostly due to a decline in China’s consumption. While the market of Europe has shrunk, North and South America reported a moderate growth of 1%-2% in 2019. Overall, the United States was the leading consuming country with 23% of global metalworking fluid demand, followed by China and Japan. Other large consuming nations include Russia (the largest consumer in Europe), Germany, South Korea, and India.
Nevertheless, it is not only regional performance that impacts the overall growth and demand trends of the global metalworking fluids market but also technological and product development trends. Among the top trends that could dramatically impact the market is the movement toward microlubrication, also called Minimum Quantity lubrication (MQL), which requires the use of the minimum amount of fluid to a workpiece. The fluid is totally consumed during the machining operation (also called a “total-loss” operation). Another force that significantly affects the markets is the increasing awareness about the environmental impact of fluids and lubricants. This is driving the MQL trend as well as the move toward dry machining for its ecological, qualitative, and economic advantages.
NNS finished products are yet another development affecting the manufacturing process and are continually gaining popularity. NNS is widely used in the automotive industry, contributing to the decrease of removal fluids but the increased use of forming fluids. From a product standpoint, however, several trends will affect the formulation, and in some cases, the future demand for metalworking fluids and their additives. These include fluid performance, health, safety, and environment-related issues such as reduced exposure limits for lubricant misting, a further reduction in the use of chlorine-containing additives, and the phaseout of diethanolamine.
In addition, there is increased research and development on biostable fluids as well as biodegradable fluids, as their environmentally positive characteristics are having marketers increasingly move toward these alternatives.
Moving forward, trends such as better housekeeping, recycling, use of longer-life metalworking fluids, and other technological changes are among factors slowing down the growth of the segment. These trends are represented in slow growth among all product categories, with treating fluid expected to see the lowest CAGR.
Looking ahead, the metalworking industry is witnessing a quality shift toward semi-synthetic and synthetic fluids, and companies that develop superior synthetic and semi-synthetic formulations will be well-positioned to gain market share.
Kline’s soon-to-be published report on Metalworking Fluids: Global Market Analysis and Opportunities provides detailed and invaluable information and analysis of the market, its trends, key players, and the performance of overall metalworking fluids market.
Moreover, don’t miss your chance to book your seat for the webinar covering the global metalworking fluids industry and specifically the following:
– Overview of the global demand for metalworking fluids in terms of products, markets, and end-use industries
– Trends affecting growth of the MWFs market
– Regional performance
– Supplier landscape