U.S. Demand for Custom Compounded Thermoplastics to Reach 11.4 Billion Pounds in 2017

U.S. demand for custom compounded thermoplastics is forecast to rise 5.0 percent annually to 11.4 billion pounds in 2017, valued at US$14.3 billion (resin content only) according to Custom Thermoplastic Compounding, a study from market research firm The Freedonia Group, Inc. Advances will be fueled by continuing efforts among custom compounders to develop new and innovative products that will broaden the range of applications for thermoplastics, making them more competitive with alternative materials.

Construction will offer the best prospects, as it was just beginning to emerge from its post-recession trough in 2012, leaving significant room for expansion going forward. Strong gains in the pipe and fittings segment will be supported by plastic pipe’s competitive cost structure, light weight, corrosion resistance, long service life and lower installed costs relative to competitive materials. Thermoplastic compounds also find favor in applications such as decking, fencing, siding and windows due to a number of advantages over traditional wood products. However, pipe and siding processors frequently perform compounding in-house, thus restricting opportunities for custom compounders.

Demand for thermoplastics used in motor vehicle parts and components will be driven by ongoing efforts to comply with increasingly stringent fuel economy standards. Compounded plastics will also benefit from their durability, design flexibility and relatively low cost. Long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene is making significant inroads, serving as an alternative to steel in semi-structural applications and also expanding into aesthetic and under-the-hood uses.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) represents the largest, fastest growing resin in the custom thermoplastic compounding market. Advances will be based on the dominance of PVC in the rebounding construction market, where it is widely used for pipes, fittings and siding. Rising construction activity will also create substantial opportunities for polyethylene in areas such as pipe, decking and vapor barriers. Moreover, healthy gains are anticipated for polypropylene, engineering thermoplastics and thermoplastic elastomers, with each deriving strength from the motor vehicle market, where they are valued for their ability to reduce vehicle weight and cut costs while providing enhanced aesthetics and innovative design features.

Custom Thermoplastic Compounding (published 02/2013, 285 pages) is US$5,100 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326. For further details, contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600, fax 440.646.0484 or e-mail pr@freedoniagroup.com. Information may also be obtained through www.freedoniagroup.com.

IAPD Member companies are entitled to a 10 percent discount on all studies from The Freedonia Group, Inc.


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