Fluorotelomers are oligomers that are made up of fluorocrabons and some monomers with a process known as telomerization. The market for these flurotelomers is growing at a fast pace due to its increased demand and applications in a very diverse market place ranging from foams to packaging industry. The flurotelomers and their compounds also find their uses in making environmentally persistent carboxylic acids known as perfluorononanoate (PFNA) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). These PFNA and PFOA are used in wide range of applications owing to their eco-friendly nature and inability to bio-accumulate in animals. The market for flurotelomers is still in its nascent stage but is expected to grow rapidly in coming years due to its growing ability to replace other fluorocarbons.
Flurotelomers can be classified in different types according to their use in fluorotelomers iodide, fluorotelomers alcohol, and fluorotelomers acrylate. Flurotelomer alcohols such as TEOH-6 and TEOH-4 are widely used in consumer products markets. They have varied applications like firefighting foams for liquid fires, engineering coatings in semiconductors, tubing and piping and as a high performance surfactants in products that must flow evenly, such as paints and coatings. The flurotelomers coatings are also used in packaging industry (pizza box liners, fast food wrappers and popcorn bags etc.) due to its ability to resist absorption of oil and fatty products.
There are various drivers that are responsible for the ever increasing acceptance of flurotelomers. The ability of these telomers to provide durability and resilience to products large and small is the largest contributor to its use. Its applications in end-user industries are also increasing fast due to various innovations and new product developed by the vendors that are industry specific. The fluorotelomers are biodegradable, nontoxic and non bio-accumulative in nature. This contributes a lot to its acceptance in various industries where environmental compatibility is an issue. The Government regulations concerning environmental and health issues can further bolster the use of flurotelomers.
The market for fluorotelomers is segmented on the basis of its applications in following segments, Fire fighting foams, food packaging, stain resistant, textiles and others. The textiles segment is the largest contributing segment in terms of market share and fire fighting foam and textiles industry together make up more than half of the fluorotelomers application market. It is anticipated that the food packaging industry together with various untapped end-use markets such as semiconductors, metal plating and magazine papers will provide ample opportunities to grow.
The fluorotelomers market is segmented on the basis of products into three segments namely, Fluorotelomer Alcohol, Fluorotelomer Acrylate and Fluorotelomer Iodide. The Flurotelomer alcohols segment is the largest product based global segment which is mostly used in textile industry as a stain repellant. The fluorotelemer iodide segment is expected to grow fastest in foreseeable future.
Segmentation of Fluorotelomers market based on region is done in five major zones, namely, North America, Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America. Of these, the Asia-Pacific market is the largest market segment in terms of global consumption followed by North American market. The Asia-Pacific market is expected to grow the fastest, owing to a large number of textile and carpet industries present there and the growing market for packaged food.
There are many key vendors in the fluorotelomer market but the majority of share is held by Dupont. Other vendors include, Fluoryx Inc., Fluorous Technologies Inc., Wilshire Technologies and TCI Chemicals, Asahi Glass, Clariant, Daikin America, and Sigma-Aldrich Corporation
The global fluorotelomers market is largely technology centric and regularized. Hence vendors are using various strategies like new product development and product enhancements to capitalize on the opportunities. Application specific product developments are also sought due to the presence of a large untapped market and the phasing out of other harmful telomers. Technological advancements in the flurotechnolgy, has proved to be the only means to maintain a competitive edge in the market.
In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration U.S., banned the use of food contact substances (FCSs) that have been perfluorinated, that is, contain PFOA based toxins. This has led to a shift towards bio-degradable and non bio-accumulative substitutes in all applications.
In December 2015, Dupont and Dow merged together to form a single entity called as DowDupont. The merger was one of the largest globally and created the biggest organization in the chemicals industry as well as specialty materials industry.
Research Support Specialist, USA