ILMA Compoundings - July 2020 - 19

Among the aerospace lubricants segment, engine oil is
"expected to remain the dominant and fastest-growing
lubricant type" through 2025. Look for synthetics in general
to remain the larger and faster-growing segment, driven by
their stable viscosity, minimalization of deposits, less wear
on parts, optimized fuel consumption and need for fewer
oil changes.
And in a market dominated by large players, smaller
lubricant manufacturers have been attractive targets for
acquisition. The latest occurred in early 2020, when Fuchs
Group acquired Nye Lubricants to further expand its
high-performance specialty synthetic lubricants portfolio.
At the start of 2020, the overall aerospace industry was
in "mixed shape, but not as bad as you think," said Aboulafia. The sector declined by more than 2% from 2018 to
2019, but 16.6% growth in the aggregate military segment
provided a cushion. In fact, if it weren't for the grounding
of the Boeing 737 Max, "the market fundamentals were
actually pretty good."
But while the aerospace industry and aerospace lubricants
sector look toward the future, there's today to get through.

The pandemic affected airplane utilization and production,
as well as sustainment - that part of operations meant to
keep aircraft at peak capabilities.
As they put fewer planes in the air, airlines have stopped
ordering supplies, and "they not only stop ordering, they
stop ordering for some time while they go through your
existing inventories," said Aboulafia. "They destock."
In these circumstances, the question lingers over how
soon they will return to ordering supplies, and Aboulafia
believes "it could easily take a year."

Military Prospects

Military uses look like a bright spot in aerospace-industry
market projections. However, "the military lubricants
business is not for everyone," said Mike Damiani, CEO and
head chemist of Batavia, Illinois-based Radco Industries.
The arduous formulation and testing process to qualify a
fluid for U.S. and worldwide military aviation, naval and
land uses are "very time-consuming and expensive."
Any sale that's finally made becomes public knowledge
through publication of information such as volumes
purchased and at what price. The military side of lubricants

19



ILMA Compoundings - July 2020

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