Overview of thermoplastic elastomers market
Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are a physical mix of polymers comprising properties of both thermoplastic and elastomers. The thermoplastic elastomers market caters to several industries worldwide. TPEs posses benefits of plastic and rubber, and hence are sometimes referred to as thermoplastic rubbers. Compared to thermoset elastomers, TPEs are easier to use in manufacturing. The main difference between the two is the kind of crosslinking bond in their makeup, which lends the elastomers high elastic properties. The most commonly used manufacturing processes with TPEs are injection molding and extrusion. The TPE market continues to find new applications as new materials replace their conventional counterparts.
TPEs can be extruded, molded and reused just like plastics, and require no added reinforcing agents. TPEs can also be easily colored and consume less energy, which is one of the drivers of the thermoplastic elastomers market.
Market segmentation of the thermoplastic elastomers market
The entire thermoplastic elastomers market is segmented based on product type:
- Styrenic Block Copolymers
- Thermoplastic Vulcanizates
- Thermoplastic Polyolefins
- Copolyester Elastomers
- Thermoplastic Polyurethanes
Each of types within the TPE market can be further fragmented based on product type, geography and their individual applications. The main regions where the thermoplastic elastomers market is flourishing for each TPE are North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World.
Styrenic Block Copolymers (SBCs): The main types of SBCs are Styrene Isoprene Styrene, Styrene Butadiene Sytrene and Hydrogenated SBCs. These are used in footwear, paving and roofing, adhesives, coatings and sealants, and personal care.
Thermoplastic Vulcanizates (TPVs): The key TPV applications include fluid handling, medical, automotive and consumer goods.
Thermoplastic Polyolefins (TPOs): TPOs are mainly used in the automotive industry and other functions include packaging, medical and construction.
Copolyester Elastomers (COPEs): The major uses of COPEs are industrial, electrical and electronics, medical, automotive and personal care.
Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPUs): Some of the primary sectors where TPUs are used include electronic and appliances, footwear, construction, automotive, wire and cable, and hose and tubing.
Analysis, scope and future of the thermoplastic elastomers market
The global TPE market is largely driven by escalating demand for superior-performance and reduced-weight materials by the automotive sector. Use of TPEs as a substitute for PVC for big end-use industries and an ever-growing global footwear industry is expected to accelerate the market growth. However, analysts predict that environmental regulations and the volatility of the prices of raw material could hinder the development of thermoplastic elastomers market. A major sector that existing or new vendors can venture into is bio-based TPE.
The worldwide demand for TPEs in 2011 was 3,480.4 kilo tons and is estimated to be 4,879.7 kilo tons by 2018 with an annual growth rate of 5.0% during the period. As far as revenue generation is concerned, the global thermoplastic elastomers market was estimated to be USD 9.9 billion in the year 2011 and the value is expected to climb to USD 15.3 billion by the end of 2018 recording a 6.4% CAGR between 2012 and 2018. This indicates a steady pace of growth of the TPE market.
SBCs accounted for almost 48% of the total TPE consumption in 2011, forming the largest of all TPE segments. However market research suggests that the SBC segment has already matured and there is no further scope for growth. This gives room to TPVs, which is expected to be the fastest developing sector within the TPE market, growing at a CAGR of 6.6% in the forecast period.
Geographically, Asia-Pacific has been dominating consumption in the thermoplastic elastomers market, with over 40% of the global demand. The consumption here is anticipated to grow at 5.4% CAGR from 2012 to 2018. While Europe is currently the third largest consumer of TPEs, the demand is likely to stand still or reduce due to economic concerns.
Some of the leading TPE market players are Dow Chemical Company, Kraton, Bayer, Sinopec, Dynasol, BASF, Huntsman Corporation, LCY Chemical and LG Chemicals.