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Global opportunities for adhesives and sealants to continue.

The global adhesive and sealant market topped $16 billion in 1992 and is expected to continue its growth through 1997. This is in spite of the current economic recession experienced in Western Europe and Japan. Factors influencing the industry, for the remainder of the 1990s, include the greater acceptance of bonding as a fastening means, stricter environmental regulations, formation of new trading blocks, raw material availability, currency exchange rates and political changes. These are part of the findings of a new study recently issued jointly by DPNA International and Chem Research GmbH.

The next five years will see continuing globalization of the user base, new bonding and sealing applications, and rationalization of the suppliers as well as a shift to more environmentally friendly formulation technologies and bonding processes.

Regional markets

North America and Europe account for about 75% of the global demand for adhesives and sealants. The markets in the industrialized countries of these regions are mature and growing at maximum of the global average of 2.8% annually between 1992 and 1997.

The highest rates of growth are reported for the Far East. The less industrialized countries such as China, Korea, Taiwan and others exhibit growth in the range of 4% to 8% annually. Japan, in spite of the current economic recession, will experience a growth rate near 3% for the five-year period analyzed.

Latin America, despite its unbalanced economic situation and high inflation rate, shows a positive overall growth rate in demand ['or the major individual countries. Growth in the other regions is below or near the global average (2.8%).

Market segments

The total market demand for adhesives and sealants was broken down into 12 major segments. Of these, five show higher than average growth and represent nearly 50% of the market (figure 1).

Selected market segments are showing a definite trend toward globalization while others are more regional in character. Examples of globalized market segments include transportation, flexible food packaging, disposable and personal hygiene products, pressure sensitive adhesives and selected construction products.

This globalization of key market segments is supported by the increasing activities of a select group of internationally active adhesive and sealant suppliers such as Henkel, Morton, H.B. Fuller, 3M, National Starch, Bostik (Total), Loctite and Lord Corp.

Raw materials

There are twelve principal resin binder raw materials used for formulating adhesives and sealants. These can be grouped into three major classes, which include:

* Synthetic resins - acrylic, vinyk epoxy, urethane, polysulfide, polyester, etc. The largest class of binder resins represents 66% of the formulated adhesive and sea[ant demand. Globally, acrylics, styteac copolymers and blocked copolymers, epoxy and acrylic types are growing at a rate faster than the 2.8% recorded for the marketplace.

* Natural products - starches, dextrins, bitumens, albumen, casein, gelatins, rosin. These binders represent 18% of the total demand. Growth has slowed to about 2.5% per year. A significant part of the demand for these binders is in paper and wood bonding. Casein and gelatin are experiencing a resurgeace in use due to new interest in recyclable adhesives.

* Elastomers - synthetic, natural rubber, reclaimed or recycled (unvulcanized). Rubber products (elastomers) continue to play a significant part in the adhesive and sealant market. They represented a 16% share of the market in 1992.

Initially, natural rubber was a major component of early adhesive and sealant systems (solvent based products). Later formulations incorporated synthetic types as well. Rubber is still important for many applications such as pressure sensitive and contact adhesive, tapes, sealants, shoe bonding and cured rubber attachment. Worldwide, elastomer adhesives are projected to grow about 2% per year through 1997.

With the advent of environmental regulatory pressures, solvent based rubber adhesives and sealants are gradually being displaced by solvent free systems (e.g., aqueous and hot melt products).

Rubber producers in the industrialized countries are answering this demand with improved latex systems. Rubber growth in hot melts is also increasing.

The shift between natural and synthetic continues. The new emphasis on recycling is driving the development of more uses for reclaimed rubber as an adhesive binder ( figure 2).

Reclaimed rubber, in sealants and roofing adhesive formulas, is either the principal binder or an additive. Although it is most common in developing countries, it is also increasing in use by industrialized countries as new applications for rubber scrap and discarded tires are found. New reclaiming processes offer the promise of providing an economical product for formulating with scrap rubber in value added products, such as adhesives and sealants.

Adhesive and sealant growth, for all binder resins is favoring non-solvent types with highest growth exhibited by hot melts, water born and high solids reactive systems in that order.
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Title Annotation:Market Focus
Publication:Rubber World
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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