Where The Valves At? An Optimistic Outlook On The Valve Industry’s Growth Trends 2018

By Houston Valve Repair on Jun 01 in Marketing & Sales.

Where The Valves At? An Optimistic Outlook On The Valve Industry’s Growth Trends 2018

Together the Petroleum, Chemical, Water/Wastewater, and Power Generation industries command 70% of the US market at over 3 billion dollars. In the last 10 years, the industrial valve manufacturing industry has seen nearly a billion dollars of growth in the US alone. Over 30% of the valves sold are of the automated type.

In 2018 the U.S industrial valve industry will see a growth of 1.45% in valve sales and shipments. According to the Valve Manufacturers Association’s ‘2018 Market Forecast of Industrial Valve Shipments’ reports, those shipments will be up to $4.615 billion for the year. While overall industry growth is not huge from 2017 to 2018, “it translates to $66 million more in valve shipments for the year, which is a positive sign for the industry,” said VMA President William Sandler.

The main industries involved in the growth of the valve market are the Chemical, and Water & Wastewater industries as the top two markets. Following closely behind are the Petroleum Production & Refining industries in addition to the Power Generation industry. However, if you were to combine Petroleum Production and Petroleum Refining into a single category it would overtake the Chemical industry as the leading market for valve sales at roughly a 23% stakeholder or approximately 1.06 billion dollars of the US market.

“The increasing tailwinds in capital spending should create growth opportunities for valve manufacturers, not only domestically, but also abroad,” said Mark Nahorski, president of PBM Inc. and chairman of VMA.

He also said, “One of those areas is the refining and petrochemical industry, where existing facilities are being upgraded to meet process efficiencies and emissions standards.”

The industry has grown to become a 4.6 billion dollar industry with the majority of the sales attributed to Automated valves at a consistent 31% over the last ten years. Automated valves have dominated valve sales as old manufacturing facilities, refineries, and other facilities have upgraded their systems to eliminate human error and incorporate other emerging technologies to streamline maintenance and monitoring.

Nahorski stated, “Automatic valves are outpacing conventional manually operated versions, as end users seek to remove variability and human error from the process”

Each and every valve serves a unique purpose, below are the function of the most common industrial valves pictured in the chart above.

Gate valves lower or raise a wall through the pipe to open or stop the flow. This is the most common open/close valve and is not used for partial or regulatory flow which can easily be replaced with an automated alternative.

Globe valves typically regulate the flow by starting, stopping or throttling the flow. This is accomplished by raising or lowering the position of the disk within the valve to fully open, closed or a position in between. An automated alternative would more easily regulate the flow adjusting the position of the disk automatically.

Check valves are one-way valves that typically remain open but will close if the current changes direction. A safety valve to prevent backflow in a system is self-operating and could technically be categorized as automated.

Ball valves function on a quarter turn pattern. Similar to plug valves there is an opening through the center of the cap, in this case, a round ball shape. When closed the sphere shape caps the flow and as opened allows flow through the center of the valve. Ball valve sales have remained at 18% for 2018.

Industrial butterfly valves operate as a cap or disk in the center or the pipe. This disk pivots on a central access to regulate flow. They can be quickly opened or closed and can help with high-pressure recover as well as low-pressure drops. An automated version may not open or close the valve as quickly but can automatically position the disk for optimal flow in any given situation.

Plug valves have a tapered plug in a conical or cylindrical shape in place of the sphere ball valve. As the valve is turned the opening in the center of the cylinder allows flow when opened and while in the off position plugs or blocks the flow to the opening.

Automated valves or actuator valves are operated by a machine component typically electronic that operate the valve. These valves can be operated from a control panel and with other technology, they can be accessed and operated remotely.

Pressure valves, relief valves or safety valves function as a last resort valve. When other valves or components malfunction and pressure begins the build these pressure relief valves will activate to lower the pressure. As these pressures continue to increase, the valve opens more and when the pressures settle, the valve will settle and close in the process.

“Last year and this year, we are continuing the slow steady climb upward that has been part of our industry for the last 10 years,” states William Sandler.

What does the future hold for these valves?

Based on societal trends and rising technologies, it is safe to say that more valves will incorporate automation into their arsenal. The top industries in the valve marketplace will continue to increase spending. It is anticipated that the Chemical Industry will increase its margin over Water & Wastewater.  Both Petroleum Production and Power Generation are expected to increase their spendings, petroleum much more than power, however, Petroleum Refining is expected to lower its spending by less than .05%.

The biggest changes to anticipate are the increase in Petroleum Production spend on valves and the expected decrease in Water & Wastewater. Commercial construction is also looking to make some increases in valve spend by about 7%  while Pulp and Paper are expected to decrease spending during 2018.

Top Takeaways:

  • Petroleum Production and Commercial Construction are the key industries growing the US valve market by more than 15% to roughly $750 million.
  • The Chemical industry will remain the dominating element at around $840 million or 18% of total market share.
  • Water & Wastewater in addition to Petroleum Refining are on a decline for 2018 but together account for roughly 28% of the market, about $1.2 Billion.
  • Automated Valve sales can be expected to remain around 31% and Ball Valve sales will remain around 18% making up just shy of half of the valve sales market or $2.3 Billion.


All data was sourced from the statistics provided by Valve Manufacturers Association of America.






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