Global synthetic thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) market size was estimated at over 4 million tons in 2015 and is likely to witness gains with an estimated CAGR of more than 4.5% up to 2023. Thermoplastic elastomers market revenue is likely to be valued at USD 19.76 billion by 2023.Asia Pacific was the leading region and accounted for more than 40% of the total demand in 2014.
Japan, China and India thermoplastic elastomers market dominated Asia Pacific and accounted for more than 85% of the total demand in 2015. Shift of footwear industries to Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam coupled with growth of automotive & construction industry in India and China is likely to drive regional demand.
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Increase in lightweight plastics demand for automobile component manufacturing is likely to drive TPE market over the forecast period. Global automobile demand in 2015 was over 86 million units which are expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 4% and reach above 100 million units by 2018.
Regulatory policies by environmental agencies to reduce carbon emissions and increase in vehicle fuel economy by reducing weight has pushed many automobile OEMS towards adopting plastics in place of metals & alloys for manufacturing components. Automobile weight reduction is witnessed as a priority in the industry as it lowers carbon emissions.
Stringent environmental norms are backed by regulatory bodies in North America and Europe. According to sources, achieving vehicle weight reduction by 450 kg enables an average reduction in emission of CO2 by 40kg and also helps in increasing the fuel efficiency by around 10%.
Key TPE products include styrenic block copolymers (SBC), thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU), thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPV), thermoplastic polyolefins (TPO) and copolyester elastomers. SBC was the largest consumed product and accounted for more than 45% of the total volume in 2014. Increasing application scope in paving & roofing is likely to drive SBC market demand.
Increasing preference of TPU & TPO over EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) in construction material applications is likely to drive thermoplastic elastomers market growth. The TPU market is gaining considerable importance in construction sector owing its properties such as acoustic and thermal insulation. Increase in construction of energy efficiency buildings coupled with support of regulations backing zero energy building is likely to drive TPU demand.
In order to reduce dependency on depleting fossil fuel reserves, manufacturers are focusing to develop sustainable products. Innovations are taking place to develop new technologies based on bio-renewable sources.
Companies have focused on bio based thermoplastic elastomers market development, over the past few years under different brand names. Arkema’s Pebax Rnew is PEBA (polyether block amide) consisting of amino-11 segments derived from castor oil. Arkema bio TPE contains anywhere between 26% and 100% renewable content and are designed for applications such as automotive, shoes and electronics. Bio thermoplastic elastomers market price trend is going to be critical for industry penetration.
DuPont has made renewable Hytrel RS thermoplastic polyester elastomers and are derived from bio-based 1,3-propanediol using corn sugar as feedstock from its patented bacterial fermentation process. Hytrel RS thermoplastic polyester elastomers has 20-60% of renewable content and used for applications such as tubing boots, hoses, airbag doors and energy dampers.
Merquinsa has launched Pearlthane ECO TPUs derived drfom vegetable based polyols whereas GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers launched tow ranges of OneFlex Bio renewable TPE which incudes OneFlex Bio 5100 and OnFlex Bio 5300 in 2008. OneFlex 5100 cater to industrial applications and sport equipment components for cast wheels & ski bindings while OneFlex 5300 caters to applications such as interim trim, door & instrument panel skins, shoe soles, gear knobs and sport equipment grips.
North America is likely to witness steady growth rates owing to structured regulatory norms pertaining to plastic consumption & disposal. Post recessing recovery of automobile & construction sector in the U.S. and Mexico is likely to drive regional growth.
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Global thermoplastic elastomers market share is consolidated moderately and top four companies cater to more than 47% of the total demand. Major companies are shifting TPE production capacity to China, Brazil, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam owing to ease in raw material procurement and cheap labor cost along with supporting manufacturing policies.
Key companies include BASF, Bayer, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp and Evonik Industries. Other manufacturers include Dow Chemical, LyondellBasell, Huntsman, Lubrizol Corp, PolyOne Corp, LYC Chemical and LG Chemicals.