The global phenolic resins industry is anticipated to witness stable growth from 2014 to 2020 owing to rising demand from transportation and construction sector. Phenolic resins find their applications in numerous segments on account of their properties including high heat resistance & flame retardancy, low smoke & toxicity, high mechanical strength and easy blending with other polymers to attain high performance.
Product demand is expected to rise owing to increasing use of fire retardant constituents in crucial aircraft and automotive components. Crude oil is the key raw material used in the manufacturing of phenolic resins and hence, price instability is expected to have a direct influence on demand for the product.
Conformance to environmental standards regarding formaldehyde emissions is likely to require significant funding and investments which are expected to slow down the market growth. However, increasing adoption of nanotechnology in the manufacturing of phenolic resins is expected to enhance their functional and structural characteristics and expand their potential application scope over the forecast period.
Global phenolic resin market, by application, 2013 (%)
Phenolic resins provide services to automotive, aerospace and construction via applications in laminates, insulation, wood adhesives and molding compounds. In 2013, wood adhesives were the leading application on account of increased use in particleboard and plywood. Phenolic resins form chemical bonds with phenol-like lignin wood which improves its properties. It is capable of retaining moisture and hence are preferred for exterior plywood applications.
Molding compounds are anticipated to witness high growth which can be attributed to the ability of the product to provide fire safety and amplify vehicular efficiency. Rising demand from the automotive segment is anticipated to play a critical role in the growth over the forecast period. They are used in numerous components in automobiles including cooling system, air supply system brake, suspension, powertrain, and fuel system.
Utilization of carbon fiber or long glass fiber in new molding compound products is expected to provide market opportunities in displacing ceramics, metals and filled high-performance thermoplastic resin systems. These products increase fuel efficiency by reducing weight and are projected to witness rapid growth in aircraft and automotive industries.
Molding materials that contain long fibers and carbon fibers are characterized by newly introduced phenolic reinforced structures that exhibit high mechanical strength and high impact strength at high temperatures for additional displacement of ceramics and metals.
Fiber-reinforced composites with phenolic resins are anticipated to flourish owing to increasing utilization in new aircraft including Airbus (787, A380, and A350) and Boeing. These are being used in cargo liners, aircraft interiors, and lightweight paneling. Moreover, the product has potential application as a replacement of balsa sandwich panels in the. Carbon foam is anticipated to witness expansion into composite associated areas such as lightweight paneling and tooling.
Novolac and resol resins are the two primary varieties of phenolic resins. Novolac resins are expected to gain prominence over the forecast period owing to its ability to mold easily. These are being increasingly utilized in various applications including electrical laminates, hardeners, and photoresistors in structural laminates for the electronic circuit board and aerospace industries
In 2013, resol resins constituted for a significant market share on account of growing demand from laminates and wood adhesion sector. Furthermore, considerable demand from oriented strand boards (OSB) and production of engineered laminated composite lumber (LCL) also contributed to the significant demand in the past few years. It is expected to continue the similar trend over the forecast period from 2014 to 2020.
In 2013, Asia Pacific emerged as the market leader on account of widespread use in construction applications and growing consumption of molding compounds in India and China. China is a major consumer of the product at the global level.
Within North America, U.S. is one of the leading consumers in wood adhesive applications. Also, demand for thermal insulation products is expected to rise on account of the legislation implemented in various countries and regional associations for constructing energy efficient buildings. Further, growing use of composites in marine, mass transit, and aerospace is anticipated to boost the market.
Key market players have been expanding their manufacturing facilities to suffice the growing demand. For instance, in 2013, BASF set up a new manufacturing unit at its Ludwigshafen Verbund facility as a part of its modernization and expansion plan. Other companies include Hitachi Chemical Co. Ltd., Kolon Industries Inc., Georgia Pacific Chemicals LLC, SI Group, Inc., Prefere Resins, DIC Corporation, Momentive Specialty Chemicals Inc., Sumitomo Bakelite Co. Ltd., Dujodwala Paper Chemicals Ltd., and Mitsui Chemicals Inc.
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