MRO Magazine

US demand for metal finishing chemicals to reach $2.2 billion in 2013

Cleveland, OH -- Demand for metal finishing chemicals in the US is forecast to grow 2.4% per year to $2.2 bill...

Cleveland, OH — Demand for metal finishing chemicals in the US is forecast to grow 2.4% per year to $2.2 billion in 2013. These and other trends are presented in Metal Finishing Chemicals, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.


While a moderation in prices will restrain increases in market value to some extent, real growth will accelerate, supported by above-average gains in the large transportation equipment market. In addition, increasingly stringent environmental and worker safety regulations will help increase demand for higher-value and safer alternatives. However, gains will be limited by continued trends toward the use of plastics, which typically require less finishing, in applications where metals have traditionally been employed.



Plating chemicals will continue to account for the majority of metal finishing chemical demand — 56% of the total in 2013. However, plating chemicals, surface cleaners and conversion coatings, which are used widely in established markets, will only post gains comparable to the overall average. Also restraining demand will be environmental pressures, which have caused some metal finishing firms to adopt chemical recycling processes. On the other hand, proprietary additives and other chemicals are expected to register slightly above-average growth, benefitting from new product developments.


Through 2013, the transportation equipment market is expected to record the most rapid gains. Metal finishing chemical consumption in this industry will be boosted by a rebound in transportation equipment production (especially motor vehicles). In addition, the development of alternatives to chrome plating, in particular for the replacement of hexavalent chromates, will support demand for higher-value metal finishing chemicals. However, factors that will negatively affect demand include the continuing replacement of metals by plastics in many automotive and other transportation equipment parts.


The electronics and electrical equipment market will remain the second largest major market. However, growth in this sector will be below-average as manufacturing of these items continues to move offshore. Additionally, the trend toward smaller, yet more powerful and technologically sophisticated electronic components will restrain demand in volume terms. Nonetheless, advances will be supported by the use of higher-priced finishing chemicals, including precious metal (gold in particular) plating solutions.


Metal Finishing Chemicals (published 07/2009, 231 pages) is available for US$4,600 from The Freedonia Group. For further details, visit