Perspective Market for the Bonded Hard Ferrite
Bonded hard ferrite magnets are used in a myriad of products and applications due to their properties:
- Bonded magnets are economical.
- They have good stability.
- They are versatile. (Can be injection molded, calendered, compression molded and extruded.)
- Automotive applications
- Magnetic sheet, strip and signage
- Refrigerator gaskets
- Health magnets
- Novelty magnets, games and toys
- Other (e.g. ski racks, holding devices, TV centering rings, copier rolls, sensors, seals, etc.)
There has been upheaval and change in the ferrite market including bankruptcies, consolidations, foreign competition, and plant closings. Therefore:
- What are the current market conditions?
- What is the role of independent ferrite producers?
- What is the pricing outlook?
- What is the future of the global ferrite market?
- Bonded ferrite products are used in automobile applications.
- The US auto manufacturers have resorted to layoffs and plant closures in light of sinking profits.
- Production has been reduced on average by 12% at the big three automakers in the last year. (The Street.com 1/7/02)
- The need for bonded parts also reduced.
Over Capacity (World Wide)
- Ferrite plants are not full,New plants continue to be built (especially in Asia) driving ferrite pricing down. Some new ferrite plants are state supported.
- Capacity has exceeded demand by an estimated 25%.
- Chinese low prices.
- Several US ferrite producers and users have closed or been consolidated in the last two years. (This includes ceramic ferrite users.)
- Calcine shutdowns and plant closures result in approximately 35,000,000 pounds of lost production.
- Only 2 non-captive producers remain in North America
- Competition from the Far East has entered the market, we have seen blending between inconsistent quality products with high quality products.
Iron Oxide Shortage?
- Abundance of WPL regenerating lines, BUT is there enough WPL?
- Since 1998 10 US Steel makers have filed for bankruptcy
- Consolidation of European steel companies (Merger of Unisor, Arbed, and Aceralia.)
- How will this affect the iron oxide supply in Europe and the US?
THE ROLE OF INDEPENDENT FERRITE PRODUCERS
Decreasing number of independent ferrite producers worldwide. Independent ferrite producers do not compete with their customers. Most ferrite producers are:
- Captive or compete with their customers
In order to remain competitive as an independent ferrite producer has focused on:
- Installed product managers in the marketplace vs. traditional salesmen
- Product managers have technical backgrounds and plant experience
Recommend suitable powders, solve technical problems, and be on-site for production trials,
Opportunity to thoroughly understand customer's process, results in better products and service.