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Fluoroelastomers are manufactured by copolymerizing numerous combinations of hexafluoropropylene (CF2=CFCF3), chlorotrifluoroethylene (CF2=CFCl), vinylidene fluoride (CH2=CF2), and tetrafluoroethylene (C2=F4). Also known as fluorinated elastomers, these elastomers have excellent resistance to swelling due to oils, chlorinated solvent, oxygen, ozone, heat, and fuels. Fluoroelastomers are extensively used in automobile industry due to their unique characteristics such as resistance to heat, sealing capability, and mechanical properties. For processes with short duration, fluoroelastomers can be used at higher temperature range of –26°C to 205-230°C.

Fluoroelastomers are used for sealing applications in the chemical industry, owing to enhanced properties such as excellent chemical resistance and high operating temperature range. Fluoroelatomeric hoses are used in low pressure applications, paint spray extraction, and extraction at medium temperatures. Fluoroelastomer seals help prevent semiconductor process contamination by lowering extractables, dropping particulates, and resistance against degradation in harsh plasma. Fluoroelastomers are used in highly aggressive semiconductor wafer fabrication, oil & gas recovery, chemical processing, pharmaceutical, and aerospace applications.

Fluoroelastomer Market Taxonomy

On the basis of type of product type, the global market is classified into:

  • Fluorocarbon elastomer
  • Perfluorocarbon elastomer
  • Fluorosilicone elastomer

On the basis of application, the global market is classified into:

  • O rings
  • Gaskets
  • Hoses
  • Seals

On the basis of end use industry, the global market is classified into:

  • Automotive
  • Energy and power
  • Chemicals
  • Oil & Gas
  • Aerospace

Fluoroelastomeric O ring has excellent resistance to ozone, oxygen, mineral oil, high temperatures, fuels, aromatics, synthetic hydraulic fluids, and many more chemicals organic and solvents. This has led to the increase in consumption of fluoroelastomers as a preferred O ring material. O rings are used in engine oil seals, petrochemical system, high temperature seals, and fuel systems. Hoses are widely used in automotive and aerospace industries due to properties such as excellent chemical resistance, protection against abrasion, extreme compressibility 1:6, highly flexible, kink-proof, smooth inner hose wall, small bend radius, tear resistance, Uv- and ozone-resistance, high temperature resistance, and vibration proofing. Perfluorelastomers (FFKM) consist of fully-fluorinated polymer structure resulting in fluorine composition of over 70%. Thus, FFKM materials offer ultimate thermo-chemical resistance depicted by long-term high temperature compression-set resistance. In addition to this, use of fluoroelastomers has various benefits such as reduced repairs and inspections, less frequency of seal changes, increased process and equipment life for greater productivity and yield.   

Fluoroelastomer Market Outlook – Need for Heavy-duty and Functional Materials Expected to Fuel Demand

Advancements in automotive, chemicals, and aerospace sectors have led to use of complex machinery, in turn requiring highly specialized and functional materials such as fluoroelastomers. Rampant growth of these end-use industries across the globe is in turn providing major impetus for growth of the global fluoroelastomer market. Asia Pacific is one of the major contributors in the market. This is mainly attributed to the booming automotive industry in the emerging economies such as India and China. In 2016, the Indian automotive industry accounted for total revenue of USS 31.84 billion. This along with the 100% FDI in this sector in the country has attracted investors such as Bosch, Continental Engines, ZF, Aisin Seiki Company, Delphi, FAG, Denso, Magneti Marelli, WABCO, TRW and Valeo. This trend is expected to continue over the forecast period, in turn propelling growth of the fluoroelastomer market.

High initial price is one of the restraining factors for the fluoroelastomer market. Mergers and acquisitions and development of innovative portfolio are some of the key strategies adopted by the top players in the global fluoroelastomer market. In March 2017, 3M signed an agreement with Johnson Controls for the acquisition of Scott Safety. Scott Safety is a leading manufacturer of innovative products such as self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) systems, gas and flame detection instruments, and various safety devices that will widen 3M’s product portfolio in safety. Some of the companies operating in the Global Fluoroelastomer Market are E. I. Du Pont De Nemours and Company (U.S), 30+., Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd., Daikin Industries, Ltd., Solvay AG, and 3M Company (U.S.)

Key Developments

  1. Major companies in the market are focused on various business strategies such as capacity expansion, in order to expand their product portfolio. For instance, in October 2018, Solvay, a Belgian chemicals company, expanded production of Tecnoflon, a fluroelastomer, to meet increasing demand from customers for high performance sealing applications.
  2. Key players in the market are adopting various growth strategies such as new product launches, in order to expand their product portfolio. For instance, in April 2019, Greene Tweed, a provider elastomers, launched a new-generation ultra-flow temperature and chemical-resistant fluroelastomer.
  3. Major companies in the global market are involved in various growth strategies such as capacity expansion, in order to enhance their market presence. For instance, in July 2017, AGC Chemicals Americas, Inc., a specialty chemicals producer, expanded its AFLAS testing lab in Pennsylvania, U.S., which includes installment of new fluroelastomer testing equipment.

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