The global marine sealant market was worth USD 6 billion in 2015 and is expected to witness substantial growth on account of exponential technological developments and increasing customer preference for sustainable products. The rapid growth of shipbuilding industry owing to rising emphasis on boosting import and export has further fuelled the demand for marine sealants on a global scale.
Owing to tough consistency, firm adherence to surface and rubbery flexibility, marine sealants are predominantly sought by industries requiring adhesives providing flexible surface movement at the joints while retaining adhesion at the same time. Marine sealants primarily find their applicability in bonding material surfaces together, often with the help of mechanical fasteners, and isolating two surfaces to prevent vibration as well as the passage of noise and electricity.
The property of forming a watertight and airtight seal between two bodies is the prime characteristic shaping the marine sealants utility. Providing a relatively greater degree of flexibility and permitting a considerable degree of movement to the attached surfaces without losing cohesion are the prime factors which are expected to trigger the global marine sealant demand over the forecast period.
Commercial segments for the marine sealant market comprises of bulk-shipping companies, strong commercial fleet of vessels and cruise ship operators. The Ship-building industry is the major proponent responsible for driving growth in the marine sealants market. Leisure boats having higher sales volume as well as the craftsmen and packaging industry forms the consumer market for the global marine sealant industry.
Increasing emphasis on Maritime defense and Marine security developments in the recent times has triggered a positive response towards global marine sealants market. Amplified defense spending with greater stress on enhancing and updating the depository arsenal is one of the key drivers expected to propel the growth of marine sealants over the foreseeable future.
Depending on the chemical composition, the global marine sealant market is segmented into silicones, polyurethane, butyl and polysulfide based sealants. Amongst these, silicone based marine sealants are the most common and widely used sealant type. They are projected to be the fastest growing category and accounts for the major share of the overall marine sealants market on account of their versatility and high degree of cohesion with almost all the hardware materials.
Silicone based sealants are basically used in above-the-waterline caulking applications and are characterized by minimum thickness and strong vinegar-like smell which is caused by acetic acid. Owing to their property of being extremely resistant to chemicals, these types of sealants are highly preferred for separating unrelated surfaces. However, on account of their acid-curing properties, some of the silicon based sealants are not recommended for use on metal hardware.
Polyurethane sealants are differentiated by their strong and permanent adhesion strength on account which they are preferred for both above and below the waterline applications. Owing to their high gluing strength and permanent bonding, the silicon based sealants are highly sought after by ship-building and marine-infrastructure development industry. However, impossible segregation of the attached items after use and incompatibility with plastic items are expected to remain prime constraints in the product growth.
Butyl based marine sealants are basically recommended for above the water-level sealing applications. They are highly compatible with almost all the caulking products and thus are highly preferred for any hardware above the waterline. Congruency with any hardware and cost-effectiveness are the prime factors expected to drive the product demand. However, sensitivity to other chemicals and weak adhesion strength may hinder the product growth over the forecast period.
Polysulfide based sealants are much more flexible and elastic but possess less adhesive strength as compared to their other counterparts. Their special adhesive properties with teak make them highly preferable for bedding wooden material like cockpit coamings and rub rails. However, incompatibilities with common plastics like acrylic and polycarbonate may impede the product growth in near future.
Asia-Pacific is the key regional market for marine sealant industry with the significant developments witnessed in China, India and Japan. Asia-pacific is expected to maintain its global dominance in marine sealant market in the near future on account of increasing emphasis on ship-building, marine infrastructure development and naval defense activities in the region.
The major players in marine sealant industry include Royal adhesive and sealant, 3M Co., Bostik and Franklin International. Owing to highly volatile raw material prices, the global marine sealant market price decisions are greatly shaped by the raw material cost and supply equations. Thus, increased focus on R&D, mergers and acquisitions, and joint-ventures are the fundamental strategies adopted by top players with a view to streamline the operations and enhance the production efficiency.
Other crucial market players include Henkel AG & Company, Illinois Tool Works Inc, Avery Dennison, H.B. Fuller, Sika AG and RPM International Inc. Greater emphasis on developing sustainable, cost-effective and hardware-compatible products by the major players is expected to effectively leverage the market growth over the forecast period.
Research Support Specialist, USA