Companies in this industry manufacture clay products and refractories, glass and glass products, cement and concrete products, lime and gypsum products, and abrasives and other nonmetallic mineral products. Major companies include 3M, Ash Grove Cement Company, Guardian Industries, Kohler, and USG Corporation (all based in the US), as well as Asahi Glass and Noritake (both of Japan), Compagnie de Saint-Gobain (France), LafargeHolcim (Switzerland), and RHI Magnesita (the Netherlands).
Demand is driven by industrial production and construction spending. Profitability depends on efficient operations, as many products are essentially commodities that compete primarily on price. Large companies have advantages of scale in purchasing and the ability to invest in equipment and technology that improve efficiency. Small companies can compete by offering specialized products, or by serving local markets. Overall, the industry in the US is fragmented: the top 50 companies account for about 45% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major product groups include cement and concrete products (about 47% of industry revenue); glass and glass products (21%); abrasives, cut stone, mineral wool, and other nonmetallic mineral products (20%); clay products and refractories (6%); and lime and gypsum products (6%).