The global market for thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers topped $ 2.5 billion in 2018, and a new study by Fact.MR estimates sales will grow 5.4% in 2019. According to the study, increasing demand for TPU elastomers in emerging economies in Asia Pacific ex Japan (APEJ) continues to create significant opportunities for manufacturers. APEJ continues to hold over 50% of TPU elastomers worldwide.
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The study analyzes the key factors that are fueling demand for TPU elastomers in APEJ and reports that the strong presence of leading chemical companies and the increasing penetration of small and medium-sized companies remain key drivers of growth. According to the Fact.MR study, increasing investments from high-level players and fast-growing end-user industries continue to attract investments from market leaders.
The Fact.MR study also evaluates the business and product strategies of the key players in the TPU elastomer market. Investing and expanding in the Asia-Pacific region continues to be the focus of interest groups in the TPU elastomer market. BASF’s investment in Infinergy® made of expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (E-TPU) in Changhua, Taiwan, and Lubrizol Corporation’s investment in the Songjiang (Shanghai) plant in China are indicators of the growing importance of APEJ to stakeholders.
Environmental concerns trigger manufacturing innovations
The study notes that while TPU elastomers are experiencing increasing demand in a wide variety of industrial applications, meeting the evolving sustainability requirements continues to be a challenge for stakeholders. The negative environmental impact of thermoplastics has prevented manufacturers from exploring new niche applications. In doing so, leading players in the TPU elastomer market have focused on innovating their manufacturing strategies and technologies to discover biocompatible and biostable TPU elastomers. According to the study, the focus on finding sustainable solutions is also determined by strict compliance with environmental regulations. In many of APEJ’s countries, environmental regulations have become stricter over the years and manufacturers have had to adapt to the changing status quo.
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Some notable examples are:
- In March 2019, Lubrizol International, Inc. announced the introduction of a new, toluene-free Pearlbond ™ TPU for films and adhesives to expand its high-melt strength Pearlbond TPU portfolio. Exposure to toluene can have dangerous effects on the environment and human health. The company announced that the new Pearlbond TPU is toluene-free and recyclable and therefore environmentally friendly and can be used in various applications such as furniture, shoes, automotive films and clothing.
- In February 2019, API Applicazioni Plastiche Industriali SPA – an Italian chemical company – announced the launch of the new recyclable TPU APILONTM52 A / C series. The company stated that the new portfolio of its TPU elastomer products cuts production cycle time by around 70% while significantly reducing energy consumption and production costs.
- In October 2018, Covestro AG – a German stakeholder in the TPU elastomer market – discovered a new technology based on carbon dioxide (CO2) for the production of environmentally friendly TPU elastomers. In response to growing concerns about environmental impacts, Covestro entered into partnerships with research institutes and other companies to promote the use of CO2 technology as a synthesis platform for the large-scale production of TPU elastomers.
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The study by Fact.MR tracks the developments in the market for TPU elastomers for the assessment period 2019-2027. According to the study, impressive growth at a CAGR of 5.9% is expected for the TPU elastomer market during the assessment period.
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