China Passing the U.S. as Largest Purchaser of Sedimentation and Centrifugation Equipment

By 2007 the world market for centrifuges, clarifiers and hydrocyclones will exceed $5.3 billion, according to a report from the McIlvane Company. More than 10 percent of that market will be in China. The U.S. was the largest purchaser of sedimentation and centrifugation equipment for more than a century, but now China heads the rankings. The top 10 countries are as follows.

1. China
2. United States
3. Japan
4. India
5. Australia
6. Brazil
7. Canada
8. Germany
9. South Korea
10. United Kingdom

This market includes decanter centrifuges, disk centrifuges, filtering centrifuges, clarifiers, thickeners, dissolved air flotation units, hydrocyclones, clarifiers and thickeners. These devices all use sedimentation or centrifugation principles to separate solids from liquids and heavier liquids from lighter liquids. They are used to dewater sewage sludge, clarify wine, separate cream from milk, and ore from tailings.

The mining industry is one of the largest end user segments. This accounts for the fact that Australia and Canada show up on the top ten list. China is a major producer of coal. Municipal wastewater is one of the largest segments. The world market for sedimentation and centrifugation equipment in this sector will rise from $760 million in 2003 to over $900 million in 2007. China will lead this sector due to its large investment in facilities. It is far behind the U.S. based on mgd of secondary treatment installed capacity, but it only has to provide wastewater treatment for 25 percent of its population to equal the infrastructure in the U.S.

One of the fastest growing segments is the pharmaceutical applications and in particular biotechnology. Disk centrifuges are used to separate products from liquids and, therefore, are an integral part of the process.

Dissolved air flotation (DAF) enjoyed substantial growth in recent years due to the trend toward de-inking and recycling paper. However, this market has slowed. DAF is making in roads in the municipal water treatment market.

Clarifiers and thickeners are used to purify wastewater. They are also extensively used in the mining and are found in many industries. An attractive growth segment is power where they are used to separate gypsum created by the capture of the sulfur from the stack gases in limestone slurries.

The U.S. market will grow modestly but will reach only $400 million in 2007. This slow growth is due to the movement of the mining, chemical, steel, and other basic industries to other countries. The recent rise in natural gas prices will accelerate the movement of heavy industry (particularly the chemical industry) to other countries. Leadership in biotechnology and power plant gypsum will not be sufficient to offset the leadership losses in other industries.

McIlvaine Company

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