Valve manufacturers seeing positive signs
As with many industries, the U.S. and Canadian industrial valve industry saw the steady climb in sales and profits of the last decade turn around in the last year to experience a decline. However, the decrease is slight compared to most other U.S. industries, and is not expected to last more than a year.
Valve and actuator shipments rise and fall with the fate of the industries that depend on those shipments, including power generation, chemical processing, oil & gas, water/wastewater, manufacturing and other industries. Noting the downward track those industries are now on, the Valve Manufacturers Association estimates a 5% decrease in industrial valve shipments for 2009 – the first such decrease in a decade.
However, 2009 VMA Chairman Sam Bennardo remains optimistic.
"In VMA’s market forecast, we estimate shipments of valves and actuators to return to their 2007 levels of $3.8 billion," says Bennardo, who is president of AUMA Actuators, Inc., Canonsburg, Penn. "Still, compared to how other industries are faring – the automotive industry, for instance – this is a pretty modest decline, and total sales still should be considerably higher than just five years ago, when total shipments were at $3.2 billion."
Bennardo’s optimism is partly based on the make-up of the industry. The valve industry typically doesn’t have the dramatic highs and lows of other industries because the diverse markets that make up end-users don’t cycle up and down at the same time. "We’ve had years where a couple of key end-user markets are going gangbusters, while others are in decline," Bennardo explains.
And while this economic downturn is among the worst in recent years, "VMA has more than 70 years of history and statistics that show the valve industry will ultimately thrive because it supplies products for industries that are absolutely essential to a growing domestic and world population," Bennardo says. Those essentials include " water to drink and wastewater to treat; power and energy to light our way, run our businesses and factories, and get us where we need to go; and homes and buildings where we can live and work," he adds.
VMA also predicted that the drop in valve shipments will not continue for more than a year. "The valve industry typically lags about 6 to 9 months behind end users as projects are planned – or cancelled," Bennardo says. With a huge number of infrastructure projects in the works, and economists predicting a bottoming out of the recession in late 2009, the Valve Manufacturers Association forecast calls for a possible turnaround in the second quarter of 2010.
Additional Valve Market Data:
Along with its annual market forecast for valve shipments for the next year, the Valve Manufacturers Association released historical data on past valve shipments by product category and total shipments, as well as its annual breakdown of valve shipments by end-user markets. A few highlights include:
• Shipments by Valve Categories (1999-2008) – In 2008, automated valves accounted for the biggest share among valve types ($1.24 billion), followed by ball valves ($725 million), and gate, globe and check valves ($584 million).
• Total Individual Valve Shipments Over the Past 10 Years – Valve shipments hit their peak in 2008, with $4.0 billion in sales, up from $3.7 billion in 2007.
• Distribution Forecast of End Users in the 2009 Valve Market – Of the 15 markets tracked by VMA, in 2009 Water & Wastewater will account for 18% of valves sold, followed by Chemical (16%), Petroleum Production (12%), Petroleum Refining (12%) and Power Generation (11%).
Complete information is available at http://vma.yourmembership.com/?VMAnews .