LONDON - IAL Consultants, London, has announced the first edition of a new publication for the polyurethane industry, A Global Overview of the Polyurethane Dispersions (PUD) Market.
The global market for PUDs in 2009 has been estimated at 227,350 tons and is expected to grow at about 5.2 percent per annum over the coming five years, to reach a market of about 292,300 tons by 2014. The main drivers for growth are PUD’s excellent performance attributes and the substitution of solvent-based products with more environmentally-friendly equivalents.
Strongest growth in the application segments is expected to show in the leather and textile industries (6.2 percent per annum), with the slowest growth in the industrial coatings sector (4.5 percent per annum). Market growth in adhesives and fiberglass sizing is expected to fall within this range.
Europe, the Middle East and Africa are the most important regions for the production of PUDs, output in these regions amounts to about 103,000 tons in 2009. Despite rising competition from Asian and Latin American sources, these are still the leading regions for the production of PUDs for leather and textile applications, with Italy and Turkey being key markets. In Europe, there has been a trend towards consolidation in the PUDs segment.
In the Americas, the emphasis on PUD production is very strongly geared towards industrial coatings, which account for 43,300 tons out of a total of 669,000 tons in 2009. However, leather and textile PUD output tends to be concentrated more in South America and Mexico.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the balance between leather and textile applications and industrial coatings is almost equal. China is the single most important driving force in this region; it is fairly fragmented as an industry, while the Japanese industry is much more organized and home to regional and multinational players that supply to other parts of Asia, Europe and North America. China is currently the source of many PUD manufacturing expansion plans for the region.
Development of the market has been limited mainly by the fact that PUDs are high-end products and so their relatively high price has had a prohibitive effect on consumption, especially in sectors such as the coatings industry where there are many cheaper alternatives still available. However, the constant emphasis on the need for water-based products and the continued refinement and enhancement of the product qualities generated through the use of PUDs almost guarantee strong growth throughout the coming years.
Europe has the largest market for UV-curable PUDs at about 6,500 tons. Up until the effects of the economic crisis during the first quarter of 2009, it was a market growing at 20 percent per annum. Growth is expected to resume at this level before long, being driven by wood and PVC flooring applications. Plastic finishing is another potential growth area, particularly where aesthetic advantages can be achieved.
In the United States, the market is noticeably different from that of Europe. Less legislation is in place to generate the impetus necessary for conversion to water-based coatings. This reduces the level of interest in environmentally friendly products such as UV-PUDs. Hotspots of environmental regulation, such as California, may yet lead the way in the greater acceptance of such products in the coming years.
In Asia, the market for UV-PUDs is smaller than that of Europe but growing strongly. This is due to the electronics industries in China and Taiwan. In particular, the manufacture of consumer electronics goods with greener finishes is driving consumption of such environmentally friendly products. High solvent prices in China are also responsible for turning industry eyes to water-based products.