The global foamed plastics (polyurethane) is one of the largest segments in cellular polymeric materials produced either in rigid or flexible foams. Rigid polyurethane (PU) foam is used primarily in the form of insulation material for construction and refrigeration and freezer applications while flexible PU foams find use for cushioning in furniture, bedding and transportation applications to offer durability, safety, support and comfort.
Additionally, semi-flexible or semi-rigid foams are also manufactured for specific applications that require combination of both elasticity and stiffness features. Myraid benefits of PU foams that are driving increasing adoption over the years include superior electrical insulation, cost advantages and performance benefits owing to their mechanical strength, lightweight nature, resistance to fatigue, and resistance to oils, chemical resistance, elastic properties and also insulation attributes.
Population growth especially in developing countries, growing focus on energy efficiency, stringent regulations, growing automotive production and increasing deployment in appliance and industrial equipment insulation on account of rising awareness of energy efficient freezers, manufacturing process equipment and refrigerators represent key growth drivers in the coming years.
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New construction activity and rising consumer spending are also expected to stimulate demand for flexible foams used in household products such as mattresses, appliances, bedding and furniture. Wide ranging product offerings for diverse application areas and the shift towards the green way of manufacturing eco-friendly PU foams given the growing focus on environment conservation represent other important factors that are expected to benefit market expansion in the coming years.
While sales of PU foams globally is expected to witness steady growth, the market is however not without challenges with the most critical ones being government regulations, volatility in raw materials (TDI/ MDI) prices, environmental concerns and overcapacity situation in China.
The global foamed plastics market is segmented on the basis of product type, application and geography. On the basis of product type, the global foamed plastics market is segmented into polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, phenolic resin and so on. On the basis of application, the global foamed plastics market is segmented into computer, telecom, medical device, automotive electronic and so on.
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On the basis of geography, the global foamed plastics market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific represents the largest market across the globe. The region also ranks as the fastest growing market worldwide, led by countries such as China and India and end-use sectors such as furniture, bedding and construction.
The key players of global foamed plastics market are Trelleborg AB, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Avery Dennison Corporation, Sika AG, DUNMORE Corporation, BASF SE, Johns Manville Inc., Knauf Insulation, 3M Company, Owens Corning, Armacell International S.A., BASF Polyurethanes GmbH, Bayer AG, British Vita PLC, Carpenter Company, Baxenden Chemicals Ltd., Chemtura Corporation, Foamex Innovations, Huntsman International LLC, Joyce Foam Products, Mitsui Chemicals Inc., Rogers Corporation and Woodbridge Foam Corporation.
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