Fluoropolymer Materials Market Overview
The fluoropolymer materials market stood at 336.9 kilotons in 2015 and is projected to advance at a CAGR of 5.1% during the forecast period 2016–2022. The market is primarily being driven by the growing utilization of fluoropolymer-based materials by electrical and electronics as well as automotive manufacturers across the world.
Fluoropolymer materials are fluorocarbon-based polymers in which the carbon–fluorine bonds are solid. Fluoropolymers possess a semi-crystalline structure and hence thermoplastic properties, which means that these become liquid or viscous at a certain temperature, after which these can be molded and shaped as needed. These also demonstrate strong resistance to bases, solvents, and acids. Fluoropolymers are either homopolymers (just one type of monomers) or copolymers (more than one type of monomers). The fact that fluorine offers better stability than chlorine makes fluoropolymers impervious to aggressive media.
Aerospace, automotive, transportation, chemical and industrial processing, and construction are the key industries where fluoropolymer materials find application. Further, these are widely utilized for non-stick cookware and all-weather clothing.
On the basis of type, the fluoropolymer materials market is mainly categorized into polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), fluoroelastomers, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), and fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP). Among these, PTFE accounted for 60.9% sales volume, amounting to 205.1 kilotons, in the market in 2015. The material is heavily used in the electrical and electronics and chemical processing industries. During the forecast period, the market is expected to witness the fastest growth in the fluoroelastomers category, with 6.5% CAGR. This can be attributed to the increasing adoption of fluoroelastomers owing to their strong resistance to chemicals, oil, and heat. Further, these materials can last longer over 200 °C, compared to other fluoropolymer types.
On segmenting by application, major categories of the fluoropolymer materials market are electrical and electronics, automotive and transportation, industrial processing, and building and construction. Of these, electrical and electronics constituted the largest category in the market in 2015 in terms of revenue, and it is also expected to advance with the highest CAGR, of 5.7%, during the forecast period. The growing application of fluoropolymer-based materials in cable and wire insulation, jacketing, and semiconductor fabrication along with their wide usage in lithium-ion batteries is expected to contribute to their high demand in the near future. Further, industrial processing, as an application area of fluoropolymers, is projected to witness significant growth, owing to the non-adhesiveness and low friction of fluoropolymers, as well as the resistance offered by them against weather, heat, and chemicals.
In terms of sales volume, Asia-Pacific (APAC) held the largest share, amounting to 40.3%, in the global fluoropolymer materials market in 2015. Moreover, the market is predicted to grow the fastest in this region, registering a CAGR 5.4% during 2016–2022. Rapid industrialization is supporting the market growth in the APAC region. Besides, the construction, automotive, and electronics industries are expanding at a considerable rate in the region, further generating the demand for fluoropolymer-based materials.
Fluoropolymer Materials Market Dynamics
Fluoropolymer materials are extensively used in automotive, electrical and electronics, and aerospace applications, a factor that continues to drive the fluoropolymer materials market across the world. In the electrical and electronics industry, fluoropolymers find application during the coating of data communication cables, automotive cables, and electronic cables. In the automotive industry, the elastomer and thermoplastic forms of fluoropolymers are widely used, as these offer resistance to high temperatures, lubricants, and fuels. Fuel tank filler necks, vapor and fuel management hoses, wire insulations, diaphragms, seals, and O-rings are the various automotive components wherein fluoropolymers are used.
Developing countries in the APAC region, including China, India, and Indonesia, are also contributing to the growth of the fluoropolymer materials market. The key factors driving the growth of the market in the region are infrastructure development, rapidly expanding electronics industry, and increasing demand for automobiles. Further, the purchasing power of the people in the region has grown significantly, resulting in a better living standard and more spending on housing, automobiles, and electronics.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is an acid responsible for several health and environmental problems. Stain-resistant carpeting, furniture sprays, paints, cookware, food packaging, cosmetics, and water-resistant fabrics, which are the end-use products of fluoropolymer materials are the primary sources of PFOA. Thus, the presence of PFOA in these products and its associated harmful effects can restrict the growth of the fluoropolymer materials market.
Further, PTFE, which is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene with various applications, is often subject to price volatility. The prices of PTFE had fluctuated continuously in the past, increasing till July 2011, with a gradual decline thereon. Thus, volatility in the prices of PTFE is expected to hinder the growth of the global fluoropolymer materials market to some extent.
Fluoropolymer Materials Market Competitive Landscape
Solvay S.A., Daikin Industries Limited, Shandong Dongyue Polymer Material Co. Ltd, Arkema S.A., Kureha Corporation, Halopolymer OJSC, AGC Inc., E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Compagnie de Saint-Gobain S.A., 3M Company, The Chemours Company, and Fuxin Heng Tong Fluorine Chemicals Co. Ltd. are among the key players operating in the fluoropolymer materials market.