Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are a family of polymers which despite stretching repeatedly does not lose its intrinsic shape. These are considered to be real thermoplastics, and hence do not require vulcanization or curing. Thermoplastic elastomers are processed using methods such as injection molding, extrusion, and blow molding. This material has the advantage of both rubbery materials and plastic. For instance, thermoplastic elastomers are can be easily processed, colored, extremely resistant to harsh weather conditions, good UV resistance, soft, resistant to chemicals, and impervious to ozone. Owing to these qualities, thermoplastic elastomers are increasingly used in making automotive parts, sealants, gaskets, overmolding, sporting goods, automotive interiors, medical and healthcare products, consumer goods, and many other general purposes.
A few days ago Transparency Market Research published a report about the Thermoplastic Elastomers Market (http://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/article/thermoplastic-elastomers.htm).
According to the report, the global market for thermoplastic elastomers is expected to grow at CAGR of 21.3% from 2013 to 2019. The market’s valuation is expected to reach at $2,937.3 million by 2019. This exponential growth is primarily driven by the automobile industry that demands a high performance and light weight material. In the coming five years, the urgency to replace PVC with thermoplastic elastomers will also shoot up the demand this product. According to statistics, styrenic block copolymers (SBCs) accounted for 48% of total thermoplastic elastomer demand in 2011. However, SBC is expected to stagnate in the coming years. On the other hand, market for thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs) is expected to grow the fastest at a CAGR of 6.6% from 2012 to 2018.
Asia Pacific has been the biggest consumer of thermoplastic elastomers and accounted for more than 40% of global demand in 2011. The demand for TPE is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% from 2012 to 2018. The main factor contributing to this growth is expansion of automobile industry in China and India. Europe follows this region closely, however, the demand has been rather stagnant due to economic slowdown.
Some of the top players in the thermoplastic elastomers market who are closely studied in this report are Sinopec, Bayer, BASF, Kraton, Huntsman Corporation, Dow Chemical Company, LCY Chemical, Dynasol, Nippon, Yantai Wanhua, TSRC, LG Chemicals, and Dushanzi.
A company that should benefit from the findings listed in the report is Swedish listed Nexam Chemical, which develops technology and products that make it possible to significantly improve the properties and performance of most types of plastics in a cost-effective manner. The properties that are improved include temperature resistance and service life. The property improvements that can be achieved by using Nexam’s technology make it possible to replace metals and other heavier and more expensive materials with plastics in a number of different applications. Nexam has successfully developed a new crosslinkable Nylon66 together with BASF and in early 2014, the companies agreed to initiate the commercialization phase of this compound. The initial targeted application areas are within the Automotive and Electrical & Electronics sectors. In its recent Q2 2014 report, Nexam stated that it has entered into two confidentiality agreements with an elastomer manufacturer and with a European defence industry supplier. Both projects were jointly commenced. Since Nexam’s technology was introduced in 2009, a number of development projects and partnerships have been entered into with a range of leading parties. They include BASF, Repsol, IRPC, Sumitomo, ABB, Nasa and Rolls Royce. Nexam currently works with over 20 of the world’s 100 largest chemicals and materials companies.