Asia Pacific thermoplastic elastomers market size was USD 4.63 billion in 2014. The market is anticipated to witness significant growth over the next seven years owing to increasing automotive production in countries such as China, India, Thailand and Indonesia. Government policies to investment liberalization coupled with private players focusing on improving technologies are expected to fuel demand.
TPEs are widely used in automotive components due to superior properties such as tactile grip, moisture resistance and excellent elasticity and flexibility. Strong demand from other end-use industries such as footwear, medical devices, and electronics is expected to remain a key driving factor for growth over the forecast period.
Ease of processing and recycling with negligible emissions is expected to lead towards higher demand. They have successfully replaced thermosets in various applications such as electronic components and medical devices. TPE are gaining wide popularity due to a high degree of purity (low level of extractable compounds), recycling ability and cost effectiveness. They are being touted as ideal substitute for PVC and latex owing to aforementioned factors
They are manufactured using either ionomers or block copolymers manufacturing process. Ionomer process includes copolymers of ethylene and methacrylic acid while block copolymer process uses SBS rubber (styrene-butadiene-styrene) created by linking a short block of polystyrene along with a long block of polybutadiene.
Rapid industrialization, economic progress, and increasing disposable income have fostered the development of automotive, consumer goods, and electronics sectors, leading to higher demand in component manufacturing applications. This factor is expected to fuel market growth specifically in China and India.
Development of enhanced production processes has boosted demand for recyclable and biodegradable TPE generating less scrap material. Exponential growth is expected to be witnessed in the packaging application segment on account of rising demand for transparent product packaging in various markets such as medical, consumer goods, and electronics. Other growing industries are expected to drive thermoplastic elastomers to demand footwear, personal care products, wire and cable, sports and leisure equipment, and clothing applications.
Industry participants will have to overcome significant barriers to replace rubber materials thoroughly. As market penetration is achieved in existing applications, market development is expected to be hampered, and key companies are increasingly undertaking product innovation to permit entry into new markets where rubber still dominates most applications.
Asia Pacific Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) market revenue, by application, 2013
SBC was the largest application segment and accounted for over 50% of the total volume in 2014. Hydrogenated SBC is gaining prominence in adhesives, sealants, coatings, and films applications owing to its superior pressure sensitivity. Increasing demand from major applications such as paving & roofing, footwear, and advanced materials is anticipated to uplift further industry growth over the next seven years.
TPO was the second most consumed product in the overall market. TPO is widely used in automotive applications such as bumpers, fascia systems, and instrument panels. Major automotive OEMs are increasingly incorporating plastics in automotive components as a replacement for metals and alloys aimed at weight reduction, chemical resistance, and structural strength.
TPV is projected to witness the highest growth rate of 7.4% over the next seven years among all products over the forecast period. TPV is widely used in automotive, fluid handling, and consumer goods applications. Increasing TPV consumption in automotive applications, such as under the hood components and interiors, owing to its high heat and oil resistance is expected to be a major driving factor for its growth over the forecast period.
TPU is largely used in automotive, hose & tubing, construction, and wire & cables. Its superior acoustic and thermal insulation properties as compared to that of thermoset PU is a major factor contributing towards its consumption in the aforementioned applications.
China TPE market dominated the regional demand with a valuation of over USD 2 billion in 2014. The industry in the region is characterized by high demand for TPV and TPU in medical and automotive applications respectively. Favorable regulations pertaining to thermoplastics consumption in automotive applications as substitutes for metals and alloys along with growing passenger car production is expected to further complement the regional market growth over the forecast period.
Japan accounted for over 20% of the total volume share in 2014. The market in the region is characterized by favorable regulatory policies regarding plastics usage in automotive component applications. Additionally, automotive OEMs in the region are actively incorporating thermoplastics as a substitute for metals to provide automobiles with better performance and fuel efficiency while reducing overall curb weight of the vehicle.
India accounted for over 10% of the total market volume in 2014. With global automotive OEMs shifting their production bases to India due to favorable manufacturing conditions such as low capital investment, availability of skilled labor and cheap raw material availability, small scale TPE manufacturers benefited in terms of demand & supply.
The market is currently fragmented with several major players such as DuPont, BASF, Arkema, Dow Chemical Co., Huntsman Corporation. Other key players include Advanced Elastomer Systems L.P., Bayer Material Science, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, EMS Group, Dynasol Elastomer LLC, Evonik Industries, Kraton Polymer LLC, LG Chemicals, LCY Chemical Corporation, LyondellBasell Industries, Lubrizol Corporation, Nippon Polyurethane Industry Company Ltd., PolyOne Corporation, Teknor APEX Company, TSRC Corporation, Kraiburg TPE, RTP Company and Polymax TPE.
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