Asia Pacific thermoplastic elastomers market size was USD 4.63 billion in 2014 and is anticipated to reach over USD 7.82 billion by 2022. It is expected to witness substantial growth over the forecast period owing to growing automotive manufacturing in countries such as India, China, Indonesia and Thailand. The introduction of government policies that support investment along with private players emphasizing on enhancing technologies is anticipated to further fuel market demand.
TPEs have superior properties such as moisture resistance, excellent elasticity and flexibility and tactile grip and hence are widely used in automotive components. Demand from other industries such as footwear, medical devices, and electronics is expected to remain a key driving factor for growth over the forecast period. Growth in demand is expected owing to the ease of recycling and processing with negligible emission is anticipated to result in higher demand. They have replaced thermosets in varied applications including medical devices and electronic components. TPE are gaining prominence mainly on account of the high degree of purity, low level of extractable compounds, cost effectiveness and recycling ability. They are popularly known as an ideal substitute for latex and PVC owing to above-mentioned factors.
Block copolymers and ionomers are the major raw materials for manufacturing TPE. Block copolymer process utilizes SBS rubber (styrene-butadiene-styrene) formed by combining a long block of polybutadiene with a short block of polystyrene where as ionomer process includes copolymers of ethylene and methacrylic acid. Increasing disposable income, rapid industrialization, and economic progress has progressively fostered automotive, electronics and consumer goods sectors, resulting in higher demand for component manufacturing end-uses. This aspect is likely to boost market growth, especially in India and China.
Improvement in the production process has propelled demand for biodegradable and recyclable TPE producing less scrap material. Additionally, packaging application segment is expected to witness exponential growth owing to increasing demand for transparent product packaging in different markets including consumer goods, electronics and medical applications. Other growing industries are projected to boost thermoplastic elastomers in personal care products, footwear, wire and cable, clothing applications and sports and leisure equipment.
Market players may have to confront major barriers to substitute rubber materials. Key companies are gradually undertaking new product development and innovation to allow entry into new marketplaces where rubber remains the dominant most applications.
SBC accounted for 50% of the overall volume and emerged as the largest application segment in 2014. Demand for hydrogenated SBC is catching momentum in sealants, adhesives, coatings, films and coating applications on account of its superior pressure sensitivity. Rising demand from applications including footwear, advanced materials and paving & roofing is expected to further improve industry growth over the forecast period.
TPO finds its widespread applications in automotive industry such as fascia systems, instrument panels and bumpers. It emerged as the second most consumed product in the market. Key automotive OEMs are increasingly adopting plastics in automotive components as a substitute for alloys and metals in order to reduce weight, improve structural strength and gain chemical resistance.
TPV is estimated to experience the highest growth at a CAGR of 7.4% over the forecast period amongst all products from 2015 to 2022. TPV is broadly used in fluid handling, consumer good sand automotive applications. Growing usage of TPV in the automotive sector, such as interiors and under the hood components, on account of its high oil and heat resistance, is anticipated to be an important driving factor for market growth over the forecast period. TPU is mostly used in construction, hose & tubing, wire & cables and automotive. Its superior thermal insulation and acoustic properties, when compared to thermoset PU, plays a vital role contributing toits consumption in the above-mentioned applications.
China TPE market was the market leader in Asia Pacific with an estimated revenue exceeding USD 2 billion in 2014. The market in the region experiences a high demand for TPU and TPV in automotive and medical applications respectively. Thermoplastics consumption in automotive applications is used as an alternative to alloys and metals owing to favourable government policies. In addition, increasing production of passenger cars is anticipated to further augment the regional market demand from 2015 to 2022.
In 2014, Japan constituted for approximately 20% of the overall market share by volume. The market in the region is identified by supportive regulatory regulation spertaining to plastic usage in automotive component applications. In addition, automotive OEMs are dynamically implementing thermoplastics as a substitute for metals to make available automobiles with improved performance and fuel efficiency simultaneously reducing total curb weight of the automobile.
In 2014, India contributed to over 10% of the overall market volume. Favourable manufacturing conditions including cheap raw material, availability of skilled labour and low capital investment have resulted in many global automotive OEMs preferring their production bases to shift to India thus benefitting small scale TPE manufacturers in terms of supply and demand.
The market is fragmented with numerous players including BASF, DuPont, Arkema, Huntsman Corporation, Dow Chemical Co. Other key participants include Bayer Material Science, Advanced Elastomer Systems L.P., EMS Group, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, Dynasol Elastomer LLC, Kraton Polymer LLC, Evonik Industries,LG Chemicals, LyondellBasell Industries, LCY Chemical Corporation,Lubrizol Corporation, PolyOne Corporation, Nippon Polyurethane Industry Company Ltd,Teknor APEX Company, Kraiburg TPE,TSRC Corporation, Polymax TPE and RTP Company.
Asia Pacific Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) Product Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2012 - 2022)
• Styrenic block copolymers (SBC)
• Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)
• Thermoplastic polyolefins (TPO)
• Thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPV)
• Copolyester elastomers (COPE)
Asia Pacific Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) Regional Outlook (Volume Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2012 - 2022)
• Rest of Asia Pacific (RoAPAC)
Research Support Specialist, USA