CLEVELAND, Ohio (Nov. 20)—U.S. demand for gaskets and seals will increase nearly 5 percent annually—including price increases—to about $9.7 billion in 2005, according to "Gaskets & Seals," a study from Cleveland-based industrial market research firm Freedonia Group. Improvements in motor vehicle production will help drive the growth, plus aftermarket opportunities resulting from the repair and replacement of aging equipment purchased during the 1990s. The gains predicted for the first part of this decade will be at a slower rate than the 1990s, however. Gasket and seal demand increased by about 6.7 percent per year from 1990 to 2000. But that figure will fall because of a slowdown in production of industrial machinery and electrical and electronic equipment using gaskets and seals. Gasket demand will increase about 4.9 percent annually to $3.9 billion in 2005 from slightly more than $3 billion in 2000, the Freedonia study forecasts. The non-metallic gasket market—which includes elastomeric materials—will grow about 5.1 percent annually through 2005 to $2.2 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 2000. U.S. demand for seals will rise about 4.8 percent per year into 2005 to $5.8 billion, compared to $4.6 billion in 2000, the study said.