Companies in this industry manufacture metal industrial and fluid power valves, hose fittings, and pipe fittings. Major companies include units of integrated process control companies such as Curtiss-Wright, Emerson Electric, Flowserve, and Parker Hannifin (all based in the US), as well as valve manufacturers such as Crane, Mueller Water Products, and Watts Water (all based in the US), and IMI (UK), Kitz (Japan), KSB (Germany), and Tianjin Dazhan Group (China).
Demand depends primarily on the level of manufacturing and construction activity. Construction activity in the chemical, petroleum, utilities, water treatment, and housing industries is especially important. Large companies have advantages in efficiency of operations and economies of scale. Offshore subsidiaries are frequently used for low-cost manufacturing. Smaller producers compete by focusing on specialized product offerings and superior customer service. The US industry is concentrated: the largest 50 companies generate about 65% of revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major product categories are industrial valve applications used primarily in water works and municipal water systems (about 40 percent of US shipments); fluid power valves used in compressed or pressurized applications (30 percent); and plumbing-related valves and fixtures. Valves control the flow of liquids, gases, slurries, or dry materials through a pipe or similar passageway, and may also control the rate of flow, volume, pressure, and direction. Some of the most common types of valves are gate, ball, butterfly, pressure relief, and custom engineered for special applications. Valve activation is controlled by an actuator that may be manual, pneumatic, hydraulic, or electric. Valve sizes range from fractions of an inch to 25 to 30 feet in diameter.