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U.S. bearing demand to reach $10.4 billion in 2011

Cleveland, OH -- Ball, roller and plain bearing demand in the U.S. is forecast to rise 3.1% per year through 2011 t...


Cleveland, OH — Ball, roller and plain bearing demand in the U.S. is forecast to rise 3.1% per year through 2011 to US$10.4 billion. This and other trends are presented in Bearings, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Suppliers will benefit from largely favorable economic conditions, with an acceleration in aerospace equipment output growth and an upturn in motor vehicle production driving demand.

A pick-up in non-residential investment will help boost demand for bearings used in both original equipment manufacturing (OEM) and maintenance/repair/operations (MRO) applications.

Market gains will be constrained by a deceleration in overall durable goods output as U.S. companies continue to move manufacturing operations to offshore areas.

Significant increases in average bearing life, attributable to the use of improved product designs, better-quality materials and better lubricants, will also dampen growth in aftermarket sales. However, a shift in the product mix toward more expensive, better-performing products will provide a counterbalance.

The strongest market gains through 2011 will be posted by unmounted plain bearings, benefitting from renewed strength in U.S. production of aerospace equipment and motor vehicles, which represent major plain bearing markets. Plain bearings are also less costly than rolling-element types, which will help fuel sales as improvements continue to be made in plain bearing designs.

Demand for bearing parts and unmounted roller bearings will climb at above-average rates as well. Bearing parts sales will be driven by increases in U.S. output of finished bearings and the number of bearing-containing products in use, while roller bearing demand will be stimulated by higher production levels in industries such as motor vehicles and turbines, with an acceleration in capital expenditure growth supporting increases in both OEM and aftermarket demand.

OEM bearing applications, which currently account for four-fifths of all demand, are projected to register the strongest advances through 2011. Market conditions will be particularly strong in the aerospace equipment, automotive, and engine, turbine and power transmission equipment manufacturing markets.

MRO bearing demand will be spurred by a pick-up in business investment spending, boosting the stock of bearing-containing equipment in use, with non-automotive transportation equipment repair and federal government purchases forecast to grow the fastest.

Bearings (published 06/2007, 263 pages, report #2207) is available for US$4,500 from The Freedonia Group Inc. at http://freedonia.ecnext.com/free-scripts/refer.pl?8250&2207.