4 MIN. READ
If you were to refer to the stone, clay, and glass industry as the salt of the earth, you wouldn't be far off the mark. This sector uses natural substances gathered from our planet to make everything from roads to shower doors. Stone is primarily utilized by the building industry. However, glass and ceramics manufacturers serve the space, telecommunications, food storage, chemical, medical, nuclear, and computer industries.
Glass can be manufactured in a world of sizes and shapes for a dazzling array of applications. Manufacturers use clay to produce tile, china, electrical supplies, pottery, and many other ceramic products. Clay also figures heavily in research and development for new products. Stone, glass, and clay offer a multitude of opportunities for equipment and material suppliers. This industry also needs mainstream service providers in fields such as finance, IT, and staffing.
According to MNI, which collects data firsthand from the nation's manufacturers, the 14,830 U.S. stone, clay, and glass companies provide 388,219 jobs. This figure is up 1.23% from the previous year. The industry reports average sales of $211 billion. The products largely find domestic usage, with 13% international distribution as compared to 29% for manufacturing as a whole. Importation of raw materials comes in at 12%, versus 11% for total manufacturing.
Women own only 1% of companies within this industry, half the percentage for all manufacturing. While total U.S. manufacturing has 1% minority ownership, no companies within this industry fall into that category. Public ownership in this industry is much higher than for manufacturing as a whole, at 11% as compared to 5%.
You will find most of these companies in the South or Midwest, at 38% and 30%, respectively. The Northeast and the West host equal percentages at 16% each.
With the wide variety of products the stone, glass, and clay industry turns out, you should not find it surprising that the sector encompasses seven subindustries. You can find descriptions of these below.
This industry manufactures products for the automotive, aerospace, and construction industries. Types of manufactured glass include:
● Building glass.
● Cathedral glass.
● Float glass.
● Colored glass.
● Window glass.
These companies also produce laminated products from purchased flat glass. You can find information on the ten largest U.S. glass manufacturers here.
The origins of hydraulic cement date back thousands of years. Manufacturers provide the product as a powder that hardens when you add water. It contains a variety of additives that cause it to set quickly. This characteristic enables professionals and do-it-yourselfers to use it in wet conditions.
The use of structural clay products also dates back to ancient times. They are, however, particularly suited for modern green construction. They consume fewer resources, creating a lower environmental impact. These materials can be readily recycled and don't produce hazardous waste. They also have good insulating properties. If you deal with green projects, structural clay producers could be natural partners.
Pottery is yet another product originating in antiquity. The manufacturing process has come a long way since the original formation of crude vessels. The base arrives as powder in trucks and is mixed with water to form a slurry. The slurry is mechanically pressed and milled. From there, it is either machine-formed or cast. The pieces are dried, glazed, and fired at a high enough temperature to change the chemical composition. The unglazed portion is polished before preparation for shipping.
Pottery manufacturers employ extensive quality control, particularly relating to temperature and composition. If you deal in sensors or other control apparatus, they would be worth considering as customers.
This subindustry deals mainly with construction products. Concrete is largely for exterior applications. Uses include:
● Residential buildings.
● Commercial buildings.
● Marine construction.
Gypsum products have many interior uses. These include:
● Acoustical plaster.
● Building board.
● Insulating plaster.
● Plastic of Paris.
Gypsum is also a major component of orthopedic plaster. These businesses could yield opportunities in construction materials or medical products.
This subindustry cuts, shapes, and finishes granite, limestone, slate, and other stones. These companies may mine or quarry stone. In some cases, they may purchase it. This sector may be a market for mining and stone-cutting machinery.
This subindustry covers a range of activities, including quarrying, mining of anything except fuel, and milling. It shapes naturally abrasive stones. Products include amethyst, agate, and diamonds. Mining could provide rich prospects for equipment manufacturers and services such as transportation and security.
Though serving many different markets, these subindustries are subject to the marketplace's whims and trends, as outlined in the following:
Like much of industry, stone, clay, and glass are impacted by the increasing pressure toward sustainability. Companies must concentrate on using eco-friendly raw materials and reducing waste. Environmentally, this sector has an advantage. As mentioned regarding clay, many products are recyclable, and manufacturing creates no or little hazardous waste. These manufacturers provide opportunities for services that emphasize the green aspects of production.
The drive toward automation and digitization also impacts this industry. Digitization allows real-time monitoring of production to increase safety and reduce errors. The use of this technology contributes to the need for IT services.
Producers are also showing an increased desire for customizable solutions. They want to understand the needs of their customers and cater to their pain points. This desire may open the door to research partnerships.
Finally, this industry is facing consolidation. Buying smaller companies with advanced technologies completes the portfolios of larger ones. The newly created entities seek to publicize their enhanced capabilities and expand their market presence.
Stone, clay, and glass offer many prospects for selling goods and services. Still, you must reach receptive and empowered eyes and ears to present what you offer. Powered by trusted MNI data, IndustrySelect can help. A subscription will provide you with up-to-date company profiles, including contact information for executives who can seal a deal. Try a free demo today and dig into the opportunities in this promising sector. Start your free demo account today, loaded with 500 real company profiles in the U.S. industrial sector.