By Deborah Austin Intense price competition is actually boosting sales volume of couplings for industrial applications, suggests new analysis by strategic market consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, San Antonio. North American market revenues could reach $330.2 million in 2007 -- up from $302.5 million in 2000. Coupling manufacturers have managed profit margins by importing materials and components to increase production efficiencies. They should be able to raise prices as the economy recovers, but they may not achieve previous profit levels, says the report "North American Industrial Coupling Markets." Most of the market growth will occur in the material flexing segment -- predicted to jump from 2000's $178 million to $211.9 million in 2007 -- as the mechanical flexing segment shrinks from $108.5 million to $97.9 million. Material flexing couplings are designed to transmit torque, compensate for misalignment and dampen vibrations. Coupling manufacturers with broad product lines could benefit from customers' growing interest in one-stop shopping to avoid compatibility problems and enable easier maintenance and parts replacement. Niche players could face declining sales.