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The global medical elastomers market is mainly driven by factors such as advancements in the thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) processing technology, growing demand for medical products incorporating elastomers, increasing government support, and rising awareness among people on improved healthcare facilities. Key market players, such as BASF SE, Kuraray Co. Ltd., and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, are working toward the development of low-cost TPEs to maximize the use of these materials in medical applications. In addition, medical device manufacturers are increasingly using environment-friendly alternative elastomers in place of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for imparting flexibility to their products.
Healthcare facilities, across the globe, are improving on account of increasing government initiatives, growing medical awareness and health concerns among people, and rising disposable income of people. This, in turn, is resulting in huge spending on the research and development of medical products that are more compatible and less harmful to the human body. Thus, medical elastomers are replacing harmful latex and PVC in various products used in the healthcare industry, such as catheters, syringes, tubes, implants, and gloves. Altogether, these factors are contributing to the growth of the medical elastomers market.
Moreover, increased demand for these elastomers in emerging economies is expected to continue providing ample growth opportunities to the players in the medical elastomers market. This has also led to the establishment of new production lines or sites by various players in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. For instance, in February 2018, PolyOne Corporation announced the expected initiation of TPE production in its Pune facility (India) in May–June 2018. Besides, in January 2018, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation started the production of styrenic TPE in its Thailand-based subsidiary to meet the local demand. Also, in February 2017, Teknor Apex started the production of medical-grade TPE in Singapore to save time and shipping costs.
Medical elastomers are versatile, engineered, and biocompatible materials that serve a wide range of applications in the healthcare industry, such as medical tubing, wrapping, and packaging. These materials demonstrate high elasticity and resilience. They find wide application in products utilized in the healthcare industry, such as infusion solution bags, medical device components, disposables (such as syringes and tubes), and implants (such as artificial heart valves and joints).
Based on type, the medical elastomers market is categorized into thermoset elastomers (TSEs) and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). TSEs are further classified into liquid silicone rubber (LSR), high-consistency rubber (HCR), and others. TPEs, on the other hand, are further classified into thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), styrene block copolymers (SBCs), and others. TPEs are low-modulus rubber-like materials that exhibit the properties of thermoplastic polymers, such as flexibility, recyclability, and processability. These properties of TPEs, in addition to their low cost, continue to contribute to their increasing demand for the replacement of silicone, rubber, and PVC in different products used in the healthcare industry.
Based on application, the medical elastomers market is categorized into medical tubes, catheters, gloves, syringes, medical bags, implants, and others. The demand for these elastomers is increasing for medical tubes, as they do not contain harmful latex, PVC, or bisphenol A. In addition, they are easy to sterilize, recyclable, and flexible, and therefore find large application in products used in the healthcare industry, such as medical bags, catheters, and gloves.
Some of the major players operating in the global medical elastomers market are BASF SE, Celanese Corporation, DowDupont Inc., Eastman Chemical Company, Kuraray Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Momentive Performance Materials Inc., Polyone Corporation, Royal DSM, RTP Company, Solvay S.A., Teknor Apex, and Trelleborg AB.