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What Makes Superplasticizers Super?

Posted by Aaron Hackle

Dec 28, 2016 8:45:00 AM

In concrete production, water and cement react to bind together fine aggregates (primarily sand) and coarse aggregates such as crushed stone or natural gravel. A relatively small amount of water is needed to initiate this chemical reaction (hydration) to transform the ingredients into concrete. 

However, additional water is often required to make the mix workable enough to be poured and finished, and the addition of too much extra water can decrease the strength of finished concrete. Reduced durability in concrete can lead to a premature need for repairs or replacement in the residential and nonresidential building sectors, as well as in such public projects as highways, streets, bridges, and dams.

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Topics: Materials & Chemicals, Industry Insights, Heavy Industry, The Freedonia Group

Water-Based Industrial Coatings: It’s Getting Easier Being Green

Posted by Carolyn Zulandt

Dec 6, 2016 8:45:00 AM

Watching paint dry? That’s boring. But knowing that as the paint dries, it’s water – not toxic chemicals – evaporating into the air? Now that’s exciting.

Water-Based vs. Solvent-Based Coatings

Water-based coatings, which employ water as their liquefying agent rather than chemical solvents, have made huge inroads worldwide over the past few decades. Consumers, professional painters, OEMs, as well as government regulators, have increasingly recognized the advantages of eco-friendly water-based paints, including low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, easy cleanup, and low odor.

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Topics: Materials & Chemicals, Industry Insights, Heavy Industry, The Freedonia Group

Ashes to Ashes: Precast Concrete Adapts to a Changing Funeral Market

Posted by Mariel Behnke

Dec 5, 2016 8:45:00 AM

2015 marked a turning point for the US funeral and cemetery industry. For the first time, more Americans were cremated than buried underground.

Cremations have been on the rise since the beginning of the 21st century, due to changing religious and social preferences, and a desire to economize funerals. This trend has put many segments of the funeral industry under pressure, including the precast concrete industry.
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Topics: Materials & Chemicals, Industry Insights, Heavy Industry, The Freedonia Group

The Post-Election US Steel Industry

Posted by Mariel Behnke

Nov 14, 2016 9:00:00 AM

During the final two presidential debates of 2016, the candidates broadly discussed trade. In a brief exchange, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton asserted that the dumping of steel and steel products from China, Japan, and South Korea into US markets has damaged the domestic steel industry.

Now that he is the President-elect, Trump’s plans for the beginning of his presidential term include tenets that reflect these concerns, such as withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and working with the Secretary of Commerce to end unfair trade. 

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Topics: Materials & Chemicals, Industry Insights, Heavy Industry, The Freedonia Group

Oil & Gas Production Fueled Hose Sales Over 2010-2015

Posted by Leon Mengri

Nov 3, 2016 9:35:12 AM

Among the various hose types, demand for fluid power hose stood out as a star performer due to robust growth in US oil and gas production. Over the 2010-2015 period, sales of fluid power hose increased at an impressive average annual rate of 21%, largely attributable to rising sales in the US oil and gas industry. US oil and gas output (in terms of British thermal units) saw average annual gains of 7.6% over the 2010-2015 period, nearly three times the 2.6% average yearly growth from 2005 to 2010.

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Topics: Materials & Chemicals, Heavy Industry

Eco-Friendly Products in the Commercial Window and Door Industry

Posted by Mariel Behnke

Oct 31, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Design trends in nonresidential buildings are increasingly making energy efficiency and environmental friendliness a priority. In few markets is this more evident than in the commercial window and door market. 

How is the commercial market different from the residential market?

The residential market is more directly impacted by energy standards, such as those of the ENERGY STAR program. These are regularly updated and often come with federal tax breaks for homeowners. Additionally, homeowners immediately benefit from the energy bill savings and more comfortable indoor environments associated with efficient windows and doors. 

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Topics: Materials & Chemicals, Manufacturing & Construction, Industry Insights, Heavy Industry, The Freedonia Group

Shaw Acquisition Highlights Rising Demand for WPC Flooring

Posted by Matt Zielenski

Oct 25, 2016 8:30:00 AM

The recent announcement from Shaw Industries that it intends to acquire USFloors demonstrates the increasing demand for wood-plastic composite (WPC) flooring in the US.

WPC flooring — which consists of luxury vinyl tile (LVT) with a WPC core that serves as a backing — was introduced to the US by USFloors in 2013. This flooring’s attractive appearance and durability caused it to quickly gain acceptance among interior designers and homeowners. Seeking to capitalize on its popularity, several other hard surface flooring manufacturers developed their own lines of WPC flooring. 

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Topics: Materials & Chemicals, House & Home, Manufacturing & Construction, Industry Insights, Heavy Industry, The Freedonia Group

Material Trends in North American Remodeling Activity Begin to Favor Niche Products

Posted by Daniel Meges

Oct 18, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Homeowners are remodeling again. They are on the lookout for products that compete with traditional high-end materials but come with a mid-range price tag. The underlying strength of the US housing market and the rising valuations of people’s homes are supporting robust activity in residential improvement, repair and remodeling.

This fact is underscored by the recent earnings of several big-box/DIY retail chains like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Home Depot reported in August that comparable (same store) sales rose by 4.7% in Q2 2016 over the same period in 2015 [1], and Lowe’s reported a similar 4.0% rise for its Q2 same store sales over 2015 [2]. Both stores expect full-year same store sales growth for 2016 to range between 4.4% and 4.9% as compared to the latest US Federal Reserve estimate of 2016 growth of approximately 2.0% [3]. Home Depot’s CEO, Craig Menear, specifically called out generally rising home valuations as the basis for his company’s optimism going forward regarding sales growth and overall residential renovation spending.

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Topics: Materials & Chemicals, House & Home, Manufacturing & Construction, Industry Insights, Heavy Industry, The Freedonia Group

CAFE Drives Automakers to Ditch Heavy Metal for Lighter Materials

Posted by Leon Mengri

Oct 11, 2016 8:30:00 AM

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency issued new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets in August 2012, which increased the fuel economy requirements of light vehicles to an industry average of 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) for model year 2016. The expectation for CAFE in model year 2025 is about 50 mpg.

As light vehicle manufacturers continue to increase fuel efficiency, they are scrutinizing input choices, including sheet metals such as steel and aluminum, in an effort to reduce vehicle weight and fuel consumption. These shifts in the motor vehicle industry are of particular import to sheet metal suppliers; transportation equipment represented the largest market for sheet metal in 2015, and motor vehicle stampings account for a large portion of the demand.

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Topics: Materials & Chemicals, Industry Insights, Heavy Industry, The Freedonia Group

How the US Became a Leader in the Global Polyethylene Industry

Posted by Luke Hickman

Oct 10, 2016 8:30:00 AM

The expansion of natural gas production in the US has changed the landscape of thermoplastics. The largest building block in the industry, ethylene, can be produced from derivatives of crude oil or natural gas. Over the past few years, the increased production of natural gas in the US, supported by technological improvements related to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, caused the price of natural gas to see average annual declines of 11% between 2005 and 2015. This price shift, along with elevated oil prices throughout the past decade, caused many thermoplastic producers to prefer natural gas over oil in their production of feedstocks.

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Topics: Materials & Chemicals, Industry Insights, Heavy Industry, The Freedonia Group

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