Nonferrous metals, metals that are not comprised of nor contain iron, are used significantly in the rolling, drawing, and extruding of plates, strips, sheets, bars, and tubes. Such components comprise the backbone of numerous construction and infrastructure projects, as well as play an integral role in the development of the automotive industry. In fact, nearly every manufacturing sector in the US depends upon nonferrous metal parts to aid in the production and processing of other materials.
The products manufactured from nonferrous metals range from soda cans to electrical wire. Depending on the manufacturer’s desired end-product, nonferrous metals are available from three general types of manufacturers. Primary manufacturers supply metal in its most basic working form, after subjecting the base material to several metallurgical processes. Secondary manufacturers offer smelted, refined, blended, and recycled metal, usually garnered from the trimmings and scraps and other bi-products of the primary manufacturing process.
The third type of general metal manufacturer produces semi-formed metal through employing rolling, extrusion, or other general fabrication techniques on metal created by both primary and secondary manufacturers. Around 28% of the metal components generated by third tier manufacturers are made from magnesium, tungsten, and known nonferrous metals. Precious metals, titanium, and unclassified nonferrous metals combined account for around 45%, with precious metals comprising the highest percentage of the total.
In the U.S. in 2008, smelted and refined nonferrous metals’ estimated revenue was $5.0 billion, with an approximate 35.51% gross profit. An estimated $23.5 billion of products were exported while around $23.1 billion of product were imported from across the globe. Domestic demand in 2008 for the U.S. smelted and refined nonferrous industry sector was $4.7 billion.