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Refractories (US Market & Forecast)


US demand to rise 3.7% annually through 2016

US demand for refractories is projected to grow 3.7 percent per year to $2.6 billion in 2016. Output of steel in the US is expected to reverse its decline, driving up demand for refractory products. Gains will also result as nonresidential fixed investment spending returns to strong growth through 2016, prompting a resurgence in the production of a number of goods such as cement and glass. The market for refractories as measured in tons will increase 1.4 percent per annum to 2.3 million tons in 2016, still short of 2006 levels.

Iron, steel manufacturing to benefit refractory demand

In 2011, sales of refractories to iron and steel manufacturers made up 45 percent of total refractory sales. After the steep decline in steel output during the recent recession, steel manufacturing in the US -- along with the associated refractory demand -- is expected to rebound. The expected resurgence in US manufacturing output through 2016 will aid in driving sales of refractories; however, trends in refractory technology toward long lasting, durable refractories that resist corrosion, spalling, and mechanical stresses will limit gains in demand going forward by lengthening replacement intervals. Nevertheless, high-performance refractories can command premium prices, aiding value gains in the market. Most materials manufacturing industries have reduced their per-production-unit consumption of refractories by using these new products and utilizing improved industrial processes.

Monolithic, specialized forms to lead sales gains

Market gains for refractories will be led by sales of monolithic refractories, specialized shapes, and other types of refractories through 2016. The performance of monolithic refractories has improved greatly over time, making them more versatile, durable, and easier to use, raising sales of these types. Technological advancements have also made products such as specialty shapes much more cost effective and efficient, spurring demand for those forms as well. With regard to materials, the shift toward optimized product selection will continue. Refractory consumers are increasingly choosing high-grade refractories with an elevated price, tuned to perform well under specific operating conditions. As a result, sales of materials such as zirconia, zircon, and silicon carbide will increase quickly. Shipments of nonclay products are expected to outperform shipments of clay refractories through 2016.

Nonmetallic minerals to be fastest growing market

The fastest gains of any market will be posted in the nonmetallic minerals market through 2016. This market includes glass, ceramics, and cement producers, all of which were hurt by the recent economic downturn. Shipments from these industries will rise quickly as the US economy continues to grow, fueling associated refractory demand. Further gains will come from nonmanufacturing markets for refractories, such as waste-to-energy plants, traditional power plants, and the construction and renovation of restaurants with in-house bakeries and stone ovens. These refractory markets are much smaller than those for metals or nonmetallic minerals processing.

Study coverage

This Freedonia industry study, “Refractories”, presents historical demand data for 2001, 2006 and 2011, plus forecasts for 2016 and 2021 by refractory form (e.g., bricks and shapes, monolithics), material (e.g., nonclay, clay) and market (e.g., metals industries, engineering contractors, nonmetallic mineral processing). The study also considers key market environment factors, evaluates company market share and profiles industry competitors such as ANH Refractories, Cookson, Magnasita, Minerals Technologies, RHI, and Saint- Gobain.

This study can help you:

  • Determine your market & sales potential
  • Learn more about industry competitors
  • Assess new products & technologies
  • Identify firms to merge with or acquire
  • Complement your research & planning
  • Gather data for presentations
  • Confirm your own internal data
  • Make better business decisions

Freedonia's methods involve:

  • Establishing consistent economic and market forecasts
  • Using input/output ratios, flow charts and other economic methods to quantify data
  • Employing in-house analysts who meet stringent quality standards
  • Interviewing key industry participants, experts and end users
  • Researching a proprietary database that includes trade publications, government reports and corporate literature

Table of Contents




  • General
  • Macroeconomic Trends
  • Capital Spending/Fixed Investment Trends
  • Manufacturing Sector Outlook
    • Durable Goods
    • Nondurable Goods
  • Refractory Technology
    • Basic Refractory Properties
    • Refractory Shapes & Forms
    • Refractory Materials
    • Other Technological Developments
  • Pricing Trends
  • Historical Market Trends
  • International Environment
    • World Supply & Demand
    • Trends in US Foreign Trade
      • Imports
      • Exports


  • General
    • Refractory Supply & Demand by Value
    • Refractory Supply & Demand by Volume
  • Refractory Bricks & Shapes
    • Standard Bricks
    • Preformed Shapes
  • Monolithic Refractories
    • Castables
    • Gunning Mixes
    • Plastic & Ramming Mixes
    • Bonding & Other Mortars
  • Other Refractory Forms


  • General
    • Refractory Supply & Demand by Value
    • Refractory Supply & Demand by Volume
  • Nonclay Refractory Products
    • Magnesite & Chrome
    • Zircon & Zirconia
    • Extra-High-Alumina
    • Silicon Carbide
    • Graphite & Carbon
    • Ceramic Fibers
    • Silica
    • Mullite
    • Dolomite & Other Nonclay Refractories
  • Clay Refractory Products
    • High-Alumina
    • Fireclay
    • Insulating


  • General
  • Metals Industries
    • Outlook
      • Iron & Steel
      • Nonferrous Metals
      • Metal Casting & Fabrication
    • Refractory Market
      • Iron & Steel
      • Nonferrous Metals
      • Metal Casting & Fabrication
  • Nonmetallic Mineral Processing Industries
    • Outlook
    • Refractory Market
      • Ceramics
      • Glass
      • Cement, Lime, & Other Mineral Processing
      • Engineering Contractors
      • Nonmanufacturing Refractory Market
      • Petroleum & Chemicals
      • Other Manufacturing Industries


  • General
  • Industry Composition & Restructuring
  • Market Share
    • Leading Refractory Suppliers
    • Significant Raw Material Suppliers
  • Product Development & Manufacturing
  • Marketing & Distribution
  • Mergers & Acquisitions


  • Alcoa Incorporated
  • Allied Mineral Products Incorporated
  • Almatis GmbH
  • Alteo Holding
  • AluChem Incorporated
  • American Precast Refractories, see Allied Mineral Products
  • ANH Refractories Company
  • Asbury Carbons Incorporated
  • BNZ Materials Incorporated
  • Calderys, see Imerys
  • C-E Minerals, see Imerys
  • CerCo LLC
  • Cookson Group plc
  • Corning Incorporated
  • Harbison-Walker Refractories, see ANH Refractories
  • Imerys SA
  • Kerneos, see Materis Holding Luxembourg
  • Lhoist SA
  • Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB
  • Magneco/Metrel Incorporated
  • Magnesita Refratarios SA
  • Materis Holding Luxembourg SA
  • McDanel Advanced Ceramic Technologies LLC
  • Minelco, see Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara
  • Minerals Technologies Incorporated
  • Minteq International, see Minerals Technology
  • Morgan Crucible Company plc
  • North American Refractories, see ANH Refractories
  • Plibrico Company LLC
  • Resco Products Incorporated
  • RHI AG
  • Rio Tinto Group
  • Saint-Gobain
  • Thermal Ceramics, see Morgan Crucible
  • Timcal, see Imerys
  • Treibacher Schleifmittel North America, see Imerys
  • TYK Corporation
  • Unifrax I LLC
  • Veitsch-Radex America, see RHI
  • Vesuvius Group/NV, see Cookson Group
  • Other Companies Mentioned in the Study



  • Summary Table


  • Macroeconomic Indicators
  • Nonresidential Fixed Investment
  • Manufacturers' Shipments
  • Selected US Manufacturer Refractory Pricing
  • Refractory Market, 2001-2011
  • US Foreign Trade in Refractories
  • US Refractory Imports by Source
  • US Refractory Exports by Destination


  • Refractory Supply & Demand by Form in Value Terms
  • Refractory Supply & Demand by Form in Volume Terms
  • Refractory Brick & Shape Supply & Demand
  • Standard Brick Refractory Shipments
  • Preformed Shape Refractory Shipments
  • Monolithic Refractory Supply & Demand
  • Castable Refractory Shipments
  • Gunning Mix Refractory Shipments
  • Plastic & Ramming Mix Refractory Shipments
  • Bonding & Other Mortar Refractory Shipments
  • Other Refractory Form Supply & Demand


  • Refractory Supply & Demand by Material in Value Terms
  • Refractory Supply & Demand by Material in Volume Terms
  • Nonclay Refractory Supply & Demand
  • Magnesite & Chrome Refractory Shipments
  • Zircon & Zirconia Refractory Shipments
  • Extra-High-Alumina Refractory Shipments
  • Silicon Carbide Refractory Shipments
  • Graphite & Carbon Refractory Shipments
  • Ceramic Fiber Refractory Shipments
  • Silica Refractory Shipments
  • Mullite Refractory Shipments
  • Dolomite & Other Nonclay Refractory Shipments
  • Clay Refractory Supply & Demand
  • High-Alumina Clay Refractory Products
  • Fireclay Refractory Shipments
  • Insulating Clay Refractory Products


  • Refractory Demand by Market
  • Metals Industry Indicators
  • Metals Industry Refractory Market
  • Iron & Steel Production Refractory Market
  • Nonferrous Metal Production Refractory Market
  • Metal Casting & Fabrication Refractory Market
  • Nonmetallic Mineral Product Shipments
  • Nonmetallic Mineral Product Refractory Market
  • Ceramics Refractory Market
  • Glass Refractory Market
  • Cement, Lime, & Other Mineral Processing Refractory Market
  • Engineering Contractor Refractory Market
  • Nonmanufacturing Refractory Market
  • Petroleum & Chemical Refractory Market
  • Other Manufacturing Industries Refractory Market


  • Revenue Data: Selected Refractory & Raw Materials Manufacturers, 2011
  • Capital Spending Patterns: Selected Refractory Manufacturers
  • Selected Acquisitions & Divestitures



  • Melting Points of Industrial Materials & Refractories
  • Selected US Manufacturer Refractory Pricing, 2001-2021
  • Refractory Market, 2001-2011
  • World Refractory Demand by Region, 2011
  • US Refractory Imports by Source, 2011
  • US Refractory Exports by Destination, 2011


  • Refractory Demand by Form in Value Terms, 2001-2021
  • Refractory Demand by Form in Volume Terms, 2001-2021


  • Refractory Demand by Material in Value Terms, 2001-2021
  • Refractory Demand by Material in Volume Terms, 2001-2021
  • Nonclay Refractory Shipments by Material, 2011: Value & Volume
  • Clay Refractory Shipments by Material, 2011:
  • Value & Volume


  • Refractory Demand by Market, 2011


  • US Refractory Market Share by Company, 2011
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