Low profile additives (LPA) are increasingly used for improving surface finish and avoiding shrinkage during formulating polyester and glass composites. High volumetric shrinkage during unsaturated polyester resin polymerization results in fiber prominence, poor surface appearance, molded parts warpage and internal voids and cracks, which is expected to augment LPA demand in polymerization.
Growing application scope on account of reduced maintenance cost, lighter weight coupled with increasing demand for sheet molding, bulk molding, pultrusion and resin transfer molding (RTM) products in construction and automotive industry is expected to boost LPA market growth. Automotive manufacturers have shown keen interest in increasing fuel efficiency and decreasing carbon footprints of vehicles through weight reduction. Infrastructural development and industrialization in emerging markets of Asia Pacific and Middle East is expected to positively impact the LPA market. Growing automobile industry in Asia Pacific is expected to further boost market growth over the next six years. Limited application scope is expected to act as a major restraint for market growth in near future.
Polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) was largest consumed product exceeding 40% of global market volume in 2013. PVAc is increasingly used for resin thickening in SMCs owing to polar characteristics. PVAc has high compatibility with unsaturated polyester resin as compared to other products such as polystyrene (PS) and high density polyethylene (HDPE). Growing demand for PMMA in automotive production owing to properties similar to PVAc is expected to boost market growth over the forecast period. Easy product availability and low cost of PS and HDPE as compared to PVAc and PMMA are expected to augment market growth.
SMC/BMC emerged as the largest application segment exceeding 60% of global market volume in 2013. Growing demand for SMC and BMC in automotive and construction industry is expected to positively impact the LPA market over the next six years. Growing fiberglass demand in construction industry is expected to boost unsaturated polyester resins demand which will in turn fuel SMC/BMC growth resulting in increased LPA demand. Growing pultruded and RTM plastics use in construction industry owing to superior properties is expected to propel LPA demand.
Asia Pacific was largest regional market for LPA on account of growing sheet and bulk molding compounds demand in construction and automotive industry. China is one of the largest automobile manufacturers due to favorable government initiatives to promote investments and availability of low cost labor, which is expected to augment LPA demand in Asia Pacific. Growing automobile production in Malaysia and Indonesia is expected to further augment market growth in Asia Pacific. North America is expected to follow Asia Pacific over the forecast period on account of growing automobile production and increased construction activities in Mexico. Germany is the largest manufacturer of reinforced fiberglass, which is expected to have significant impact on LPA market growth in Europe. Government initiatives to promote infrastructural development in MENA region coupled with growing construction industry in emerging markets including Brazil and South Africa are expected to contribute to the market growth over the forecast period.
Research Support Specialist, USA