Polyurethane is formed by the reaction of a polyol (an alcohol with more than two reactive hydroxyl groups per molecule) with a diisocyanate or a polymeric isocyanate in the presence of suitable catalysts and additives. Polyurethane can be categorized into two major types; polyester, and polyether. These are both elastomers. Both are abrasive resistant, while polyester has a sliding quality and polyether is abrasion-resistant. Polyester and polyether polyurethanes can be used in the following ways:
Flexible polyurethane foam: It is used as a cushioning or protective material in furniture, mattresses, and bedding, and vehicle interiors.
Rigid polyurethane foam: These foams are used in commercial and residential insulation as it keeps buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Binders: This type of polyurethane is used to bind different materials and is commonly used in wood panels, flooring materials, and sand casting.
Coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers (CASE): This collection of polyurethanes are used to increase the durability and lifespan of various products by covering or sealing them.
Reaction injection molding: This polyurethane molding is used for items like car bumpers and computer enclosures.
Thermoplastic: It is commonly used in construction and automotive applications.
Waterborne polyurethane dispersions: This type of polyurethane is used as coatings or adhesives, but with a water-based solvent.
The rising demand of polyurethane foam from construction and automotive industries have increased the procurement need for polyurethane.
The global polyurethane market is valued at USD 70 billion in 2020 and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.8% from 2020 to 2025 due to high demand from multiple industries such as construction, automotive, electronics, packaging, and footwear. Construction application is leading the polyurethane end-user segment with more than 25% market share. APAC is the largest producer of polyurethane with ~45% share followed by North America and Europe. The global production based on polyurethane is shifting towards emerging countries in the APAC region.
Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) are the two major raw materials and cost drivers of polyurethane production. TDI and MDI cost holds the largest share (~30%) of the overall polyurethane production cost followed by machinery and labor cost. Other raw materials include polyol, CaCo3, Amine, etc.
The toxicity of polyurethane used in bedding, building insulation, footwear, and paints is one of the major concerns of the polyurethane market. Moreover, the short lifespan of polyurethane mattresses due to its water-absorbing ability, and less durability of polyurethane paints that are adversely affected when exposed to direct sunlight or organic solvents, are forcing end-users to look for other alternatives.
Dow, Inc., BASF SE, Covestro AG, Huntsman International LLC, Eastman Chemical Company, Mitsui & Co. Plastics Ltd., Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., Recticel NV/SA, Woodbridge, DIC Corp., RTP Company, The Lubrizol Corp., RAMPF Holding GmbH & Co. KG, and Tosoh Corp. are some of the leading suppliers of polyurethane. The polyurethane market features a highly fragmented landscape with an increasing number of small regional suppliers are entering the market. Leading suppliers are strengthening their presence through multiple mergers and acquisitions. Grand View Research will help our client identify the best-suited suppliers by mapping their core capabilities and operational efficiency.
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