"Made in China 2025" brings new business opportunities to metal processing fluids

Column:Industry news Time:2018-04-28
Metal working fluids in China may be flat in terms of sales compared with vehicle lubricants, but industry insiders say the "made in China 2025" policy could give manufacturers new growth opportunities.

The proposed new policy aims to upgrade China's manufacturing industry in an all-round way and develop towards high added value and sustainability. As this will lead to changes in metal processing procedures and the use of raw materials by manufacturers, it will bring business opportunities to metal processing fluid suppliers.

One of the big users of metal working liquids is the automobile industry. Under the new industrial upgrading policy, the automobile needs to be developed to light weight to reduce the consumption of energy and resources. There are many options for lightweight, including the use of magnesium, carbon fiber and glass fiber, but the most cost advantage is aluminum and aluminum.

In western markets, aluminum has been used to make car parts since the 1990s and even in recent years to build car bodies, but the use of aluminum in Chinese auto brands is still in its infancy.

The first domestic car with an aluminum hood was the chery rover range rover aurora, which was rolled off the production line in October 2014. JLR is a joint venture between tata of India and chery of anhui province in changshu, jiangsu province. The joint venture is expected to launch in 2016 an all-aluminum land rover model exclusively for China's domestic market.

"The shift from steel to aluminum presents a great opportunity for our metal processing fluid companies because different metals require different processing fluids," hu youting, a senior engineer and technical minister of the Shanghai lubrication oil industry association, told Lube Report Asia.

"" I think 'made in China 2025' is a big plus for our whole lubricant oil industry. The key is to be a manufacturer of lubricants and whether you can take advantage of these opportunities. "Know that opportunities often come with challenges," she says.

Wastewater treatment is one of the challenges. The first metal processing liquid industry standard is still being drafted in China, that is to say, there is no official standard for domestic metal processing liquid enterprises to follow at present.

"As far as we know, most domestic metal processing fluid manufacturers set standards according to customer requirements. Some will follow the U.S. standard, and some will follow the European standard, "" explains a sales manager at Shanghai hongze chemical, a large domestic producer of metal processing fluid additives.

Therefore, the main metal processing liquid manufacturers in China have abandoned or limited the use of chlorine, but sulfide fatty acid ester and sodium nitrite are still widely used.

"" sulphur fatty acid esters provide good lubricity, but they are also a difficulty in wastewater treatment. "Developing a more environmentally friendly alternative while maintaining good lubrication is a common problem for the global liquid metal industry," hu said.

Some metal processing fluid manufacturers are already actively exploring solutions, such as youxilu chemical, based in qidong, zhejiang province. The company, a joint venture between qidong oil and Japan's Yushiro chemical co., recently published a patent showing it had invented a nanotech fully synthetic waterborne cutting oil. The natrium-free cutting oil, which USES graphene and nano-metal oxides, offers a significant improvement in lubrication, "especially for high-end users," he said.

Of course, domestic metal processing plants can also seek help from amei. Amey, from dongguan, is one of China's largest privately owned metalworking liquid manufacturers, known in the industry for its "zero-emission technology and water-based metalworking liquid". According to amme, the key to its zero-emission technology is to replace traditional mineral oil with synthetic ester as the base oil. Since October 2014, anmei has been carrying out a package of package services in developed coastal areas of China, such as zhejiang and jiangsu, including the provision of water-based cutting oil, oil exchange service and waste liquid treatment and recycling service. One of the key products in waste liquid treatment and recovery is an American patent water-based cleaning fluid "baolijing".

In addition to the waste solution treatment, other challenges include the development of metal processing fluids with longer life, better performance in extreme weather and better oxidation stability.

"Manufacturing equipment is moving toward high automation, long service life and working in extreme conditions, so metal working fluids have to move with The Times," hu said.

But not everyone in the industry is confident about the possibility of "made in China 2025". Hongze chemical's sales manager is cautiously optimistic. 'it's really all about demand,' she says.

"" the metal processing fluid industry has had a less-than-ideal year in 2015, as domestic demand in the auto market slows and the steel industry continues to shrink. I don't know if market demand can be revitalized under the New Deal, "" she said.

Domestic consumers continue to buy cars, though the frequency of purchases appears to be slowing. From January to November 2015, 21.78 million passenger and commercial vehicles were sold in China, up 3.34 percent from a year earlier, according to the China association of automobile manufacturers. In 2014, however, it grew 6.1 per cent year on year.

Hongze's sales manager said the only industry that did relatively well in 2015 was the portable equipment manufacturing industry, which needed to use a lot of nonferrous metals.

"In fact, domestic consumer demand for smartphones and tablets is also declining. Fortunately, the market demand base is huge, so the impact is not so obvious."