Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) Rope Market – Insights
Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) rope is an extremely tough plastic having high friction and abrasion resistance. UHMWPE ropes are 3 times stronger than polyester and 7-9 times stronger than steel of equal weight. Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) ropes are majorly used in industries such as marine, oil & gas, and aerospace for efficient and safe lifting and dragging of heavy loads. The market is projected to reach US$ 368.2 million by the end of 2027, at a CAGR of 5.7% over the forecast period, owing to benefits offered by UHMWPE ropes such as its light weight, high strength & durability, and its floating ability on water.
Emerging applications such as sports and leisure activities where UHMWPE ropes are used are expected to create growth opportunities for players operating in the UHMWPE rope market over the forecast period. UHMWPE ropes intended for application in sports & leisure activities and in the healthcare industry are being developed by key players, in order to expand their product portfolio and strengthen their consumer base. For instance, USA Rope and Recovery LLC, a manufacturer of synthetic ropes headquartered in Pennsylvania, U.S., offers UHMWPE fiber string, line, and rope with high durability for medical as well as sports applications, such as bowstrings and suspension lines on parachutes and paragliding equipment. UHMWPE ropes can be used in sports applications, owing to the benefits it offers such as wear resistance and impact resistance. These ropes can also be used in the healthcare industry, as it is chemically inert and also biocompatible.
These ropes are gaining popularity in the aerospace industry, owing to physical and chemical properties of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene ropes such as high resistance to chemicals, water, and ultraviolet light, high strength, corrosion resistance, resistance to abrasion, flexible, light-weight, and high safety performance. Therefore, growth of aerospace industry is expected to drive growth of the UHMWPE rope market over the forecast period. For instance, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, in China, aerospace industry was valued at US$ 7,859 million in 2016, which increased to US$ 8,274 million in 2017.
Availability of alternatives such as polyester and polypropylene is expected to restrain growth of the global UHMWPE ropes market. Key players in the global market are focused on producing ropes made from other materials. For instance, in April 2019, TEUFELBERGER increased the production of soLITE ropes, which feature a unique fiber-rope-based steel wire rope which finds application in construction industry.
The global ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) rope market was valued at US$ 225.7 million in 2018 and is expected to register a CAGR of 5.7% in terms of revenue over the forecast period (2019– 2027).
Figure 1. Global Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) Rope Market Share (%), By Region, 2018
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2018
North America accounted for the largest market share of around 32.7% in 2018. Key players are focusing on adopting inorganic growth strategies such as mergers and acquisitions, and partnerships, in order to strengthen their position in the North America ultra high molecular weight polyethylene rope market. For instance, in 2012, WireCo World Group Inc., a company focused on producing and marketing of ropes and cables, acquired Royal Lankhorst Euronete Group to manufacture synthetic rope.
Figure 2. Global Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) Rope Market Share (%), By Application, 2018
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2018
Among application, oil & gas segment held significant market share of 24.5% in the global ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) rope market in 2018. The traditional steel wires used in oil & gas industry are reliable & strong, however, they are heavy, hard to handle, and potentially dangerous. Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene ropes are much stronger than steel wire & facilitate safer, faster, easier, and accurate operations in the oil & gas industry. Therefore, demand for ultra high molecular weight polyethylene ropes in oil & gas applications is expected to increase during the forecast period.
Players operating in the global ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) rope market are adopting various growth strategies such as new product development, in order to strengthen their market presence. For instance, in 2017, Samson Rope Technologies introduced their new EverSteel-X wire rope line. This is specifically designed for FSRUs (Floating Storage Regasification Units) and other semi-permanent mooring applications. This can be used for mooring operations in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry. EverSteel-X is a high strength rope with high durability and is made with ‘Dyneema DM20’, which is an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber.
Major players operating in the global ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) rope market include Marlow Ropes Ltd., Yangzhou Hyropes Co., Ltd., Taizhou Hongda Rope&Net Co., Ltd., Katradis Marine Ropes Ind. S.A., Samson Rope Technologies, Inc., Southern Ropes, Dynamica Ropes ApS, Cortland Limited, Teufelberger Holding AG, and Yale Cordage Inc.