This research report analyzes the Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) industry, a synthetic high molecular weight solid state fluorocarbon consisting entirely of carbon and fluorine atoms. PTFE is also widely recognized as Dupont’s Teflon, commonly used in nonstick cookware. PTFE is an important fluoropolymer, accounting for a significant chunk of the global market. PTFE is commonly available in granular, micro-powder, fine-powder and dispersion forms, based on application. Products are generally resins, with 15% glass reinforced, 25% glass reinforced and chemically modified being key PTFE products.
Fluorspar, chloroform and hydrochloric acid are essential raw materials for PTFE. Fluorspar is a halide mineral made up of calcium fluoride CAF2. Fluorspar is used to prepare Hydrogen fluoride (HF) the basic ingredient of PTFE. Global PTFE demand was estimated to be 248.5 kilo tons in 2012, corresponding to market revenues of USD 3,465 million. PTFE is an ideal choice for non-stick cookware, owing to its chemical inertness, low co efficient of friction and thermal stability. Cookware demand is a key driver for PTFE consumption. In addition, wire and cable demand also plays a significant role in global PTFE sales. With market revenue of USD 100 million in 2012, and an estimated CAGR of over 6% from 2013 to 2020, wire and cable market is expected to be a key avenue for PTFE producers. Positive automotive industry outlook, especially in China, India, Malaysia, South Korea and Brazil is also expected to have a positive impact on the market over the next six years. Volatile raw material prices and an unfavorable regulatory environment are expected to be key industry challenges over the next few years.
Key product segments analyzed and reported in this study include granular, micro powder and fine powder PTFE. Other product segments such as dispersions and liquid have also been accounted for in the report. Granular PTFE emerged as the leading product segment consumed worldwide and accounted for 33% of the total market in 2012. Granular PTFE is produced by suspension polymerization. It has high molecular weight and is normally used in molding applications and as a feedstock for filled compounds. Granular PTFE is used for the production of sheets, rods, billets and other general moldings.
Fine powder PTFE is prepared by emulsion or dispersion polymerization. It is also called coagulated dispersion and is generally used in moldings. Another important application of fine powder PTFE is wire insulation primarily for automotive, industrial and aerospace applications where high temperatures and high chemical resistance is required. Fine powder PTFE demand was estimated to be 58.6 kilo tons in 2012, with the automotive industry accounting for over 50% of fine powder PTFE demand. Micro powder PTFE is used in thermoplastics, elastomers, coatings, lubricants and grease. It is a low molecular weight micronized white particle, used as an additive in polymers, inks, paints, coatings and grease. Micro powder can improve abrasion resistance, as well as reduce coefficient of friction, surface contamination and mechanical wear. Micro powder PTFE is expected to account for over 20% of the overall PTFE demand by 2020.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) market volume share by product, 2012
Key application markets analyzed and reported in this study include industrial & chemical processing, electrical & electronics, automotive & transportation and others such as cookware and construction. Growing need for improved efficiency and emission control has led to the extensive use of PTFE in the automotive and transportation sector. PTFE being lighter in weight is used to reduce the overall weight of the automobile. Automotive applications accounted for 28% of global PTFE demand in 2012.
Industrial and chemical applications of PTFE include gaskets, linings, washers, pump interiors, seals, spacers, etc. PTFE possessing higher wear resistance and chemical stability, is expected to continue experiencing demand surge for industrial applications, with close to 25% demand from this market by 2020. PTFE is increasingly being used in the electronics industry, particularly for semiconductor fabrication, lithium-ion batteries, wire and cable insulation etc. PTFE is also gaining acceptance in emerging applications such as PV modules and fuel cells. Positive outlook for solar energy is expected to play a key role for PTFE producers over the next few years.
Although PTFE was originally commercialized and most prevalent in North America and Europe, the situation has somewhat reversed in recent times. Europe was one of the leading markets for PTFE and accounted for over 21% of the global market in 2012. Current economic environment, especially in the U.S. and European Union has led to a moderate demand outlook for PTFE in these markets over the forecast period. Due to this, the growth of PTFE in these regions is largely driven by innovation and product differentiation based on latest advancements in technology. Fluoropolymer companies have also started to concentrate on reprocessing PTFE.
PTFE demand in North America and Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.3% and 8.7% from 2013 to 2020 respectively. Asia Pacific was the largest regional market for PTFE and accounted for 36.4% of the overall industry share in 2012. Cheap availability of raw materials, skilled labor, land, and equipment has resulted in Asia Pacific emerging as a key destination for PTFE manufacturers. Most of the manufacturers have production sites in Asia Pacific and have been aggressively increasing production capacities in recent times. Asia Pacific is also expected to be the fastest growing market for PTFE over the forecast period and as a result is expected to gain market share to account for 39% of the total market by 2020. Asia Pacific PTFE demand is dominated by China and India, together accounting for over 40% of total volumes in 2012.
The global PTFE market is moderately concentrated. There has been an increase in the PTFE production in countries like China, India, Russia, and South Africa over the last five years. Key market participants include DuPont, Solvay Solexis, 3M, Daikin and Ashai Glass. These companies are vertically integrated to a significant degree along with possessing a very established technology and manufacturing process, and a wide product portfolio. Also, there are a number of regional participants engaged in transforming semi finished PTFE to finished PTFE for different applications, primarily using semi finished PTFE in granular form as their starting raw material. R&D, product distribution and customization for various applications are some of the key strategic initiatives employed in the market.