Iron and Iron-Oxide Powders: Trends and Markets

Published - Aug 2002| Analyst - Banerjee Subrata| Code - AVM027B
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Report Highlights


  • The U.S. market for iron and iron oxide powder was estimated to be $756 million in 2001. The market is expected to increase at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 2.7% to $866 million by 2006.
  • Metallic iron-base powder accounted for $373 million in 2001, and, rising at an AAGR of 2.5%, is expected to reach $422 million in 2006.
  • Iron oxide powders were a $383 million market in 2001. This market segment will increase at a slightly higher AAGR of 3% to nearly $444 million in 2006.
  • While the recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC slowed down the total economy for some time, resulting in lower business volume than expected in 2001, little long-term impact is anticipated.
  • The iron oxide powder industry is quite old, but lately has been facing increasing competition from both foreign imports and new domestic manufacturers.
  • Recent significant growth in the use of ferrites in the electronic industries contributes to improvement in this sector.



Iron metal powders and iron-based alloy powders such as steel are manufactured-by several methods in large quantities-more than any other metals. Since their mineral source is abundant in nature and manufacturing costs are lower, they are used in a broad range of industrial applications because of their physical, chemical and magnetic properties. Although the predominant use is in powder metallurgy for structural parts, they are also used in welding electrodes, dual component toner compositions, foods, vitamins and various other applications.

Synthetic iron oxide powders are used primarily for pigmentary and magnetic properties (those iron oxides that are magnetic). The iron oxide powders are inexpensive to make and primarily are used to color concrete products, paints, plastics and other media. Due to their low cost, iron oxide powders are the most widely used of all inorganic color pigments. By virtue of their chemical and magnetic properties, iron oxide powders also have significant uses in electromagnetic components, catalysts, toners, magnetic recording media and other applications.

Even though both iron and iron oxide powders have been used for decades, they are still expanding due to growth in certain market segments. This report will present an evaluation of each industry and will present an updated status regarding the current production, uses and markets and will present a logical estimate for the future growth of both of these industries.


The purpose of this study is to update the information of the current market and future trends of metallic iron powder and synthetic iron oxide powders.

The detailed objectives are to update the following:

  • Methods of manufacture
  • report_highlights new technological developments
  • Provide the analysis of relevant U.S. patents to date to determine recent developments
  • Identify domestic and foreign leaders in product and technology innovation
  • Provide an overview of industry structures for ferrous metal and iron oxide powders
  • Provide detailed company profiles
  • Examine recent trends in powder shipments, imports, exports and prices
  • Examine government rules and regulations relevant to these industries
  • Project future trends in these industries for the next five years.


This report will be a valuable resource for people who manufacture iron and iron alloy powders; synthetic iron oxide powders for pigments and magnetic uses; processors for ferrous metal and synthetic iron powders; distributors of ferrous metal and synthetic iron powders; manufacturers of ferrite powders and components; producers of ferrous powder metallurgy parts; and producers who incorporate ferrous metal or iron oxide into their products such as plastic, cement and food producers. This report will also provide insight for people who are interested in investing in the manufacture, distribution, and/or marketing of ferrous powders and iron oxide powders.


This report covers the industries for both ferrous metal powders and iron oxide powders. Ferrous metal (metallic iron based and iron-based metallic) covers iron, iron alloy, and low- and high-iron steel powders. Iron oxide powders include all types of synthetic iron oxides (hematite, magnetite and maghemite) and ferrite powders with their main constituent as ferric oxide (Fe2O3). Naturally occurring or mined iron oxide powders are excluded from the study.

The characteristics, properties and commercial application of the powders are introduced and described. The industry structures, companies, products, trends, acquisitions, joint ventures and international activities are discussed and profiles of major industry players are provided. The technology chapter provides a detailed review of the major production and processing methods for manufacturing iron powders, iron oxide and ferrite powders.

Major technical issues, research and development are considered with in-depth analyses of U.S. patents over the past five years for inventions covering production and use of iron-based, iron oxide and ferrite powders. Trends for ferrous metal and iron oxide powders production, foreign trade and prices are considered in the Markets chapter where U.S. markets are presented according to powder type and application. All relevant U.S. patents during the past five years are provided in the appendices. Detailed trade statistics obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau are also summarized in the report.


The data in the report are obtained both from primary and secondary sources. Viewpoints about industry issues, opinions about future market trends and detailed technical information have been obtained directly from executives, engineers, mangers, researchers and salespersons from relevant companies. Trade literatures such as American Metal Market, Chemical Marketing Reporter, Chemical Week, International Journal of Powder Metallurgy, Metal Powder Report and various other conference materials have been researched for the report. Other resources such as American Metal Powder Manufacturers Association, Annual Survey of Manufacturers, Value of Product Shipments and merchandise trade statistics are obtained from the published data of the Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Data are also obtained from the Annual Summary of Iron Oxide Pigments published by the U.S. Geological Survey. Statistics and literature are obtained from the Metal Powder Industries Federation, the Japan Powder Metallurgy Association and the European Powder Metallurgy Association. U.S. patents have been obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office via the Internet. Industry information is obtained from company product brochures, annual reports and other literature.


The analyst, Subrata Banerjee, has been associated primarily with iron producing industries for the past 28 years and is currently serving as an international consultant of high temperature materials, principally for the metals industry. With a Ph.D. in Material Science and Bachelor's and Master's of Science degrees in chemistry and chemical technology, respectively, Dr. Banerjee has a thorough understanding of materials. He is the author of four preceding reports, over 75 technical papers (published and presented), 26 domestic and international patents, one monograph titled Monolithic Refractories (World Scientific Publications Pte. Ltd., Sept. 1998) and co-editor of another book, Microstructure and Properties of Refractories.(TransTech Publications, 1993) With knowledge of iron and iron-based materials, long years of industrial research, technology marketing and applications experience, Dr. Banerjee is more than qualified to discuss the current markets and future trends of iron and iron oxide powders.

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