Global Thermoplastic Elastomers Market – Insights
Thermoplastic elastomers are adaptable materials, which can be extended without distorting the shape permanently. Thermoplastic elastomers are a physical blend of polymers, which is typically plastic and elastic, and they are manufactured by injection, molding, and extrusion. It is utilized in various applications in the automotive sector, such as airbags, anti-slip mats, window trims, cowl panels, spoilers, and seals & air duct components. Rising demand for automobiles and automotive parts along with increasing consumer spending on automobiles are expected to drive growth of the thermoplastic elastomers market.
Superior properties of thermoplastic elastomers include its glass transition temperature and outstanding material stability when exposed to a broad range of temperatures and non-polar materials. Moreover, less energy is consumed in case of manufacturing TPEs and it can be colored using ordinary dyes.
Furthermore, thermoplastics can be crushed and turned into 3D printing filament. TPE requires little to no compounding, without the need for addition of reinforcing agents, stabilizers or cure systems. Hence, TPE materials and end products manufactured using TPE are consistent in terms of their properties.
Among product type, styrenic block co-polymers segment dominated the global thermoplastic elastomers market in 2017, owing to its various applications in sealants, gasket materials, hot-melt adhesives, rubber bands, toy products, shoe soles, and bitumen products for road paving, and roofing applications. Increasing initiatives by major players to upscale its styrenic block co-polymers business is expected to drive growth of this segment in the global TPE market. For instance, in November 2017, Versalis, a petrochemical company in Europe, inaugurated ‘Lotte Versalis Elastomers’ plant in Yeosu, South Korea which is a joint venture with Lotte Chemical. This plant produces 200,000 metric tons/year of elastomers, including 100,000 metric tons/year of ethylene-propylene-diene monomer (EPDM) and 100,000 metric tons/year of solution-styrene butadiene rubber (SBR).
Among application, automotive parts segment accounted for the largest market share, followed by housewares & appliances segment, owing to TPE’s heat resistance, shock absorption, vibration damping, and chemical resistance to various appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, electric kettles, and others. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the electronics market was valued at US$ 100 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach US$ 104 billion by 2020. Moreover, in 2017, the consumer durables electrical market was valued at US$ 21.70 billion and increased 13% in Q1 of 2018 and 16% in Q2 of 2018. Therefore, increasing adoption of housewares and appliances is expected to propel demand for TPEs during the forecast period.
However, high cost of TPE materials over conventional plastics, rubbers, and thermoset materials will restrict the use of TPE in case of fillers for products where large volume of materials are required at a low cost.
The global thermoplastic elastomers market was valued at US$ 22.57 billion in 2017 and is expected to register a CAGR of 6.1% in terms of revenue, over the forecast period (2018 – 2026), to reach US$ 37.03 billion by 2026.
Figure 1. Global Thermoplastic Elastomers Market Share (%), By Region, 2017
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2017-18
Asia Pacific held dominant position in the thermoplastic elastomers market in 2017 and accounted for market share of 47.1%, owing to increasing demand from various industries such as automotive, packaging, medical, and others, with China, India, and Japan contributing the major revenue share in Asia Pacific thermoplastic elastomer market.
Furthermore, various key players are focused towards expanding the manufacturing of thermoplastic elastomers, which is a key factor driving growth of the thermoplastic elastomers market. For instance, in November 2018, DuPont announced that it is investing over US$ 80 million to build a new manufacturing facility in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province in East China. This new facility will produce compounded high-end engineering plastics and adhesives to serve customers in transportation, electronics, industrial and consumer products markets. This planned site is expected to become operational in 2020 with expansion through 2023, thereby driving the overall TPE market growth in the Asia Pacific region.
Figure 2. Global Thermoplastic Elastomers Market Share (%), By Application, 2017
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2017-18
Players operating in the global thermoplastic elastomers market are adopting various growth strategies such as plant’s capacity expansion to cater to increasing demand for thermoplastic elastomers. For instance, in June 2018, Arkema Group announced plans to launch a new project by mid-2020, to increase the production capacity of ‘Polyamide 12’ by 25% in China. Also, in May 2018, Elastron Kimya SA announced plans to open its TPE manufacturing plant in Gainesville, U.S. The manufacturing of this plant would cost around US$ 10 million. It will promote its TPE brand in the U.S. and will attract new clients from the region.
Major players operating in the global thermoplastic elastomers market include DowDuPont Inc., Arkema Group, Asahi Kasei Corporation, PolyOne Corporation, Elastron Kimya SA, Kraton Corporation, Evonik Industries, and Covestro AG.