Better products, higher production to fuel pump demand

Growth expected to outpace 1997-2002 figures

The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based market research firm, reports that U.S. demand for fluid handling pumps is projected to increase 5% annually to $7.6 billion in 2007. This study, which factors in price increases, illustrates an improvement from the 1997-2002 pace, and states that gains will be supported by continuing healthy aftermarket prospects among process manufacturers. The outlook is particularly good for those in the chemical, petroleum refining, and pulp and paper industries because of the harsh fluids handled in these markets.

According to the study, which is titled, "Pumps," the introduction of new and better-performing pumps will also boost growth. There are several caveats highlighted in the study, including the possibility that because new pumps last longer, product improvements may limit demand for replacement parts. Also, value gains will be restrained by competition, primarily from imports, but also among the various types of pumps.

Process manufacturing industries will remain the largest market for pump products, given the wide range of applications and significant fluid handling requirements in these industries. This sector also is expected to see the fastest advances of any major pumps market through 2007.

Growth will benefit from increasing output in most of these markets, with particularly strong gains in chemical and pharmaceutical output, as well as a strong turnaround in primary metals. Among the other major sectors, utilities are also expected to see above average gains in pump demand, benefiting from growth in capital expenditures by utilities providers, particularly waterworks and natural gas pipelines. The smaller resource extraction and construction sectors are expected to see more modest gains, although growth in each sector is expected to outpace their respective 1997-2002 performances.

Centrifugal pumps will continue to be the most commonly used type as result of their wide pressure, load-handling capability and relatively low maintenance costs. Technological innovations in corrosion and abrasion resistance, downsizing and versatility, combined with continued development of sealless centrifugal pumps, will drive demand. Among the major pump types, demand for positive displacement pumps will increase the fastest, benefiting from the improved outlooks for most process industries.

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