SIC 3399

This category covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing primary metal products, not elsewhere classified, such as nonferrous nails, brads, and spikes, and metal powder, flakes, and paste. Steel nails, brads, spikes, and stables are classified under SIC 3315: Steel Wiredrawing and Steel Nails and Spikes.

NAICS Code(s)

331111 (Iron and Steel Mills)

331314 (Secondary Smelting and Alloying of Aluminum)

331423 (Secondary Smelting, Refining and Alloying of Copper)

331492 (Secondary Smelting, Refining, and Alloying of Nonferrous Metals (except Copper and Aluminum))

332618 (Other Fabricated Wire Product Manufacturing)

332813 (Electroplating, Plating, Polishing, Anodizing, and Coloring)

The powder metal industry, which includes powder forging, hot isostatic pressing, rapid prototyping, spray forming, high-temperature sintering and injection molding, experienced excellent years in the late 1990s, reaching record levels in 2000, according to the Metal Powder Industries Federation. As with other industries, however, weak economic conditions in the United States undermined the performance of the powder metals sector in the early 2000s.

The primary metal products industry includes three major groups: metal powders, paste, and flakes; primary metal products such as nonferrous nails, brads, tacks, and staples; and other primary metal products, not specified by kind. The value of primary aluminum products, not specified by kind, totaled $5.7 million in 2001. Refined primary zinc shipments totaled $490.3 million that year, while primary precious metals and precious metals alloys shipments totaled $537.1 million, and shipments of primary nonferrous metals, not elsewhere classified, totaled $71.9 million. At 408,236 short tons, metal powder production for all of North America in 2002 was up 13 percent from the previous year, according to the Metal Powder Industries Federation in a 2003 state of the industry report. "The industry is definitely back on track and poised to pass 2000 levels, the record year for iron powder shipments, which topped out at 404,282 metric tons (445,343 short tons)."

The vast majority of metal powders, more than 66 percent according to the Metal Powder Industries Federation, are used in the automotive industry. This application was expected to grow throughout the early 2000s as light vehicle manufacturers made increased use of metal powders. In fact, the parts content of powder metals in automobiles was expected to increase 3.7 percent to 40.5 pounds in 2003. Other applications include office equipment, sporting goods, medical devices, industrial machinery and household appliances.

Leading the industry was Praxair Inc. of Danbury, Connecticut, with more than $5.6 billion in 2003 sales on the strength of 25,438 employees. Ferro Corp. of Brecksville, Ohio, which generated 2003 sales of almost $1.6 billion, introduced a new line of stock-powder coatings in 1999 called "Vista," with 62 colors in a choice of 13 textures. Rounding out the top three industry leaders was United States Surgical Corp. of Norwalk, Connecticut, a subsidiary of Tyco International. Other industry leaders included St. Louis, Missouri-based Doe Run Co. and Norandal USA Inc. of Brentwood, Tennessee.

The average wage for production workers in this industry is higher than the average for the manufacturing industry as a whole. Early in the twenty-first century, the employment levels of many occupations in the primary metal products industry, including nonferrous foundries and heat treatment facilities, were expected to decrease. The occupations expected to face reductions of more than 25 percent included miscellaneous hand workers, electricians, metal pourers, metal/plastic machine workers, furnace operators, and welders. The occupations expected to face reductions between 10 and 25 percent included blue collar worker supervisors, general laborers, heat treating machine operators, furnace operators, truck and tractor operators, crushing and mixing machine operators, inspectors, crane operators, material movers, machine tool workers, secretaries, machine feeders, science and mathematics technicians, material moving equipment operators, and metal molding machine operators. Sales positions were expected to increase, however.

Further Reading

Infotrac Company Profiles. 29 January 2000. Available from .

Metal Powder Industries Federation. Metal Powder Industries Federation. Princeton, NJ, 1996. Available from .

U.S. Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industry Groups and Industries: 2000." February 2002. Available from .

——. "Value of Shipment for Product Classes: 2001 and Earlier Years." December 2002. Available from .

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