New Water Regulations to Boost Membrane Sales

April 2, 2000
SAN ANTONIO -- According to strategic research conducted by marketing consulting company Frost & Sullivan and reported in its "U.S. Ultrafiltration, Nanofiltration, and Reverse Osmosis Membrane Element Markets," recent changes in water regulations are expected to spur growth in the markets for membranes used in municipal water treatment facilities. Revenues for the total market have climbed from $202 million in 1998 to $215.3 million in 1999, with steady market growth anticipated through 2006. Many of these regulations set limits for cleanliness that can be achieved only with membrane filtration. As the compliance date for these regulations draws near, demand for ultrafiltration and other types of membranes will increase dramatically. Mergers are redefining the competitive field and forcing participants to develop new products to separate themselves from the competition. But satisfying customer needs will not be cheap, according to Frost & Sullivan. "With the increasing interest in using membrane filtration comes greater demands for the capabilities of existing products," says industry analyst Karen Rasmussen. Customers are looking for long-lasting membranes that resist heat, pH and chemicals, while providing greater purity and allowing for higher product recovery. Manufacturers must devote sufficient R&D resources to meet these membranes needs, but the cost of R&D, coupled with the trend toward declining product prices, will squeeze the budgets of all but the largest manufacturers. Meanwhile, the high costs of validating membranes for particular processes will actually work to the advantage of some companies. Ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes are often used in highly sensitive applications, such as microelectronics, biopharmaceuticals, and foods and beverages. End users in these industries frequently require membrane suppliers to validate their products for a particular process to insure quality control. "Performed on a site-by-site and media-by-media basis, validation can represent a substantial cost to membrane suppliers and end users," says Rasmussen. "Consequently, customers tend to stick with a supplier once they find a product that suits the particular process." This Frost & Sullivan study analyzes the U.S. markets for ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membrane elements. It also includes in-depth discussions of the markets for specific types of ultrafiltration products, including cassette/flat sheet spiral wound and hollow fiber membranes. It evaluates key drivers and restraints and presents expert forecasts for each segment. Frost & Sullivan presents 2000 Market Engineering Awards to companies that have worked hard to make a positive contribution to the filtration membrane element industry. The Competitive Strategy Award is presented to Hydranautics (Nitto Denko). The Market Engineering Leadership Award is given to Koch Membranes. The Product Line Strategy Award is awarded to Millipore. Market participants include A/G Technology Corporation; DuPont Company; FilmTec Corporation; Hoechst Celanese Corporation; Hydranautics; Ionics; Koch Fluid Systems; Koch Membrane Systems, Inc.; Millipore Corporation; Osmonics, Inc.; Pall Corporation; Pall Filtron; PTI Advanced Filtration; Rhodia; Sartorius North America; Spectrum Laboratories, Inc.; Trisep Corporation; and U.S. Filter/Ionpure. Frost & Sullivan is an international marketing consulting and training company that monitors the environmental technology industry for market trends, market measurements and strategies. This ongoing research is used to complement a series of research publications such as U.S. Ultrafiltration, Nanofiltration, and Reverse Osmosis Membrane Element Markets; U.S. Water Treatment Equipment Markets; and U.S. Microfiltration Membrane Markets. This research is also used to support customized consulting needs. SOURCE: Business Wire

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