The global rubber market is expected to witness steady growth in the coming years owing to increasing applications is industries, such as medical, consumer goods, automotive, and electrical and electronics. Rising sales of private and commercial vehicles can fuel market growth in coming years. Increasing number of remanufacturing units and extensive use of the product in non-tire application can also bode well for the market. In addition, increasing R&D efforts to develop new products is expected to support market growth in the coming years.
Growing demand for food grade and medical grade rubber is expected to create several opportunities in the market. For instance, medical devices manufactured from liquid silicon rubber (LSR) help in reducing pain and are beneficial in the manufacturing of artificial joints and devices, such as pacemakers. For instance, Dow Medical Solutions, a part of DowDuPont Specialty Products Division, introduced DOW CORNING brand medical silicones, such as Dow Corning QP1-5040 Self-Adhesive LSR grade and Dow Corning QP1-33X0LSR grades. These are based on low-temperature cure (LTC) technology. These LSR products are used in overmolding applications and can enhance patients’ experiences.
Food grade LSR is used to manufacture products, such as liquid feeding bottles, cushioning pads, closures, gaskets, stoppers, and rings. In addition, it is used in the making of bakeware and kitchenware, which offer better temperature resistance. Other products include grips for knives, sippy cups, and other baby products and toys.
Natural rubber, also known as caoutchouc, is extensively utilized in manufacturing numerous products, such as elastic bands, electrical insulation, and erasers. However, synthetic material is highly preferred over natural material due to volatile prices of caoutchouc. Demand for synthetic materials is likely to rise in automotive sector which, could, in turn, drive the market. Most of the synthetic rubbers are obtained from the copolymerization of styrene and 1,3-butadiene. These can be used in the making of tire, window profiles, door, hoses, flooring, matting, and belts. In addition, they are used in footwear, industrial goods, and adhesives.
Several types of synthetic rubbers include butadiene rubber (BR), acrylic rubber (ACM), ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSM)/Hypalon, nitrile rubber (NBR), fluoroelastomers (FKM)/Viton, isoprene rubber (IR), perfluoroelastomer (FFKM), polysulfide rubber (PSR), polychloroprene (CR)/neoprene, styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), and silicone rubber (SiR). SBR holds a prominent share in the market due to its easy process along with better heat aging. It provides better resistance to abrasion and is used in tire manufacturing by mixing with caoutchouc. It is also utilized in the manufacturing of conveyor belts, gaskets, hoses, floor tiles, footwear, and adhesives.
North America is a leading region in the market due to increasing demand in several end-use industries, such as automotive, medical, electronics, and construction. Asia Pacific is projected to witness momentous growth in the years to come owing to rapid growth of industries, such as healthcare, construction, and automotive. Developing countries, such as India, China, Thailand, and Indonesia, are key contributors to regional market growth. Growing production of rubber in these countries and growth of automotive industry are likely to create lucrative growth opportunities in the market. Many companies are focusing on expansion of the production facilities in the emerging countries of the region in order to reduce the demand and supply gap in the region. Thailand is the leading producer of the caoutchouc. China is considered one of the largest consumers of caoutchouc followed by Europe and the U.S. China is also known as the world’s leading producer of synthetic products.
Some of the leading companies operating in the rubber market are Asahi Kasei Corporation; The Dow Chemical Company; Versalis S.p.A.; KUMHO PETROCHEMICAL; and DuPont. Companies are increasingly focusing on manufacturing of products that comply with the instable crude oil prices.
In addition, increasing R&D efforts for the replacement of smoked rubber suppression with vulcanization in chloroprene manufacturing process owing to benefits, such as retention of nonabsorbent properties are expected to create growth opportunities in the market.
Research Support Specialist, USA