The global ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) market size is expected to attain a valuation of USD 2.6 billion by 2022, says a report by Grand View Research, Inc. It is projected to exhibit an 11.4% CAGR during the forecast period (2012 to 2022). High demand for UHMWPE for joint replacement surgery and growing geriatric populace in the U.S., Japan, and Europe are anticipated to augur market over the forecast period. The market size is predicted to reach 410 kilotons (KT) by 2022.
Properties of UHMWPE such as low friction coefficient, superior impact strength, and high flexibility are expected to drive market over the forecast period. Changing government policies regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) to military and law enforcement agencies can positively impact the market. In addition, favorable regulations encouraging developments in ultra high molecular weight polyethylene which can lead to long life of prosthetics can further benefit the market.
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An upsurge in joint replacement surgeries and rising patient preference can drive market for UHMWPE in near future. Demand for the polymer in applications such as pulleys, bin liners, chain guides, and wear strips can augment market growth. Development of new applications due to its properties can widen the scope of the market in the forthcoming years. However, high production cost compared to other polymers can impede market growth during the forecast period.
The ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) market is segmented by application and region. By application, the market is divided into membranes, filtration, additives, batteries, fibers, medical grade and prosthetics, and others. The medical grade and prosthetics segment accounted for over 28% market share in 2014. It can reach 121 KT by 2022 due to a recent spate of joint replacement surgeries. The fibers segment can display a strong growth rate due to rising applications in end-use industries such as healthcare, construction, sports equipment, and defense. The growing healthcare and sports sectors can also drive segment in the forthcoming years.
Regions covered in the report include Central & South America (CSA), North America, Asia Pacific (APAC), Middle East & Africa (MEA), and Europe. North America is expected to exhibit a CAGR above 10% during the forecast period due to increase in geriatric numbers and a hike in preference for joint replacement surgeries. The plethora of automotive manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and Canada can drive the ultra high molecular weight polyethylene market. Rising demand for battery separators can provide an impetus to market growth. Presence of advanced healthcare infrastructure and abundance of hospitals can also positively influence market over the forecast period.
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The APAC market for UHMWPE is anticipated to display an 11.7% CAGR from 2015 to 2022 due to increase in healthcare budgetary spending and growth of end-use sectors across India and China. Presence of automotive manufacturing hubs in South Korea, Japan, and China can expand demand in the forthcoming years. Increase in expendable incomes of consumers is also projected to bode well for the market.
The Europe market can exhibit a steady growth rate over the forecast period on account of countries in the European Union (EU) opting for joint and hip replacement surgeries. This can positively impact the medical grade and prosthetics sector, which in turn can spur market demand.
Prominent players in the ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) market include Braskem; Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corporation; Crown Plastics, Inc.; Celanese Corporation; and LyondellBasell Industries N.V. In 2014, Braskem, LyondellBasell, and Celanese accounted for 75% of the market in 2014.
Mergers and acquisitions are a common strategy used by these players to gain upper hand in the market. In 2014, Celanese acquired Cool Polymers and invested in a commercial center in Mexico to expand its reach in Latin America. In the same year, Braskem announced the plans to commence the construction of a UHMWPE plant in Texas to buttress the production capacity of its plant in Brazil. The competitive nature of the market can lead to establishment of additional production units in North America and APAC to cater to rising UHMWPE demand. In addition, companies are focusing on R&D to develop lasting PPE and expanding their product portfolio to sustain their foothold.
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