Companies in this industry manufacture coated and bonded abrasive products, including grinding wheels, sandpaper, and abrasive grains. Major companies include 3M (US), Henan Huanghe Whirlwind (China), Noritake (Japan), Saint-Gobain (France), and Tyrolit (Austria).
Demand for manufactured industrial products is the major driver of sales for abrasives. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations, as many products are considered commodities. Large companies enjoy economies of scale in purchasing. Small companies can compete effectively by specializing in products for particular manufacturing functions. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate about 90% of revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Abrasive products are made of grains of hard minerals and are used to produce and maintain a wide variety of manufactured products made of metal, plastics, glass, and wood. Abrasives are used to shape materials through grinding; smooth surfaces during manufacture; remove surface layers of paint or corrosion; cut hard materials like concrete or steel; and polish, buff or "lap" finished products. The two major types of abrasive products are coated and bonded.