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Figure 3: Key factors impacting US metalworking fluids outlook


The Auto Aftermarket Industry Association of the US is predicting that there will be a greater demand in the aftermarket repair and maintenance sector due to the increased age. Whether it’s forming, protecting, treating or removal, demand for metalworking fluids within those induced industries and product categories will still exist, which can help manufacturers with expertise leverage the situation to their advantage.


Looking at all the key factors influencing that volumetric outlook as of 2019, we can see that pre-COVID, there was an outlook of positive growth and an increased use of light metals and alloys within the aforementioned industries, which increases the demand for metalworking fluids. If the specific sector you supply is distressed, understanding how to leverage your product features and benefits across other end use sectors is one approach to minimising potential loss of sales.


However, there are some trends that were in existence before COVID that are still taking place. Advanced formulation such as higher use of synthetic and semi-synthetic water-soluble MWF formulations to improve performance and safety, regulatory support for water soluble fluids and benign chemicals are all factors contributing to a decrease in the volume of materials required. . Waste minimisation technological advancements and prefabrication; Furthermore, taking all available data into account, it seems that the COVID pandemic is accelerating a lot of these trends.


There are trends that had slowed down, but often what is evidenced is an acceleration of pre-existing trends. With this in mind, forecasts for the


16 LUBE MAGAZINE NO.163 JUNE 2021


consumption that was required by 2025 were made but, due to the decline, if we try to re-evaluate this forecast in a post-COVID context, there’s been a decline in the growth in the energy sector.


From a product perspective, as volumes decline, increased value can be found within each product category due to challenging performance requirements, equipment criticality, exposure risks, or willingness of customers to resolve their challenges through value adding solutions/services provided by a supplier beyond the product itself. Complexity (e.g. Greases and gear oils in wind turbines, fire resistant hydraulics, compressor fluids to extend running time, synthetic greases in specific mining applications) is most often the driver for value.


In summary, the post-COVID period will present a number of risks and potential pitfalls to the industry, both in terms of value and volume, including a reduction in output, distressed financials leading to sub-optimal practices and higher costs due to COVID-19 related safety measures.


However, it will also present opportunities in the shape of a more resilient sector and customer base, improved manufacturing efficiencies, a further step towards increased digitalisation, and new ways to help distressed customers or take on new business,


LINK www.KlineGroup.com


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