This study analyzes the US independently custom thermoplastic compounding industry. It presents historical demand data for 2002, 2007 and 2012, with forecasts for 2017 and 2022 by resin (e.g., polyvinyl chloride, engineering thermoplastics, polypropylene, polyethylene) and market (e.g., construction, motor vehicles, consumer and institutional). The study also considers key market environment factors, evaluates company market share and profiles 36 industry competitors, including Ampacet, DuPont, and PolyOne.
US demand to surpass 11 billion pounds in 2017
US demand for custom compounded thermoplastics is forecast to surpass 11 billion pounds in 2017, valued at over $14 billion (resin content only). The total value of custom thermoplastic compounding, including resins, additives, fillers, and other production costs, will reach more than $18 billion at that time. Advances will be fueled by ongoing efforts among custom compounders to develop new and innovative products that will broaden the range of applications for thermoplastics, making them more competitive with alternative materials.
Advances will also be propelled by strong growth in the large construction and motor vehicle markets, which are expected to rebound from the 2007-2009 recession. The expansion of the construction and motor vehicle industries will also promote demand in the wire and cable sector, where thermoplastics serve as insulation and/or jacketing. In the consumer and institutional market, health care applications will see rapid gains, with catheters and medical devices used for drug delivery representing key areas of growth.
Construction market to offer best growth prospects
Construction is anticipated to offer the best prospects, as it was just beginning to emerge from its post-recession trough in 2012, leaving significant room for expansion going forward. Gains in the pipe and fittings segment will be supported by plastic pipe’s competitive cost structure, light weight, corrosion resistance long service life, and lower installed costs relative to competitive materials. Thermoplastic compounds also find favor in applications such as decking, fencing, siding, and windows due to a number of advantages over traditional wood products, including greater durability and lower maintenance requirements. However, pipe and siding processors frequently perform commodity compounding in-house, thus restricting opportunities for custom compounders.
Demand for thermoplastics used in motor vehicle parts and components will be driven by ongoing efforts on the part of automakers to comply with increasingly stringent fuel economy standards. This will generate demand for thermoplastics that can be used in place of metals to help reduce vehicle weight. Compounded plastics will also benefit from their durability, design flexibility, and relatively low cost. In particular, long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene (LGFPP) is making significant inroads, serving as an alternative to steel in semi-structural applications and also expanding into aesthetic and under-hood uses.
PVC is largest, fastest growing compounding resin
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) represents the largest, fastest growing resin in the custom thermoplastic compounding market. Advances will be based on the dominance of PVC in the rebounding construction market, where it is widely used for pipes, fittings, and siding. Risingconstruction activity will also create substantial opportunities for polyethylene in areas such as pipe, decking, and vapor barriers. Healthy gains are also anticipated for polypropylene, engineering thermoplastics, and thermoplastic elastomers, with each deriving strength from the motor vehicle market, where they are valued for their ability to reduce vehicle weight and cut costs while providing enhanced aesthetics and innovative design features.
Company Profiles for 36 competitors in the US industry, including Ampacet, DuPont, Mitsui Chemicals, and PolyOne
This study covers the US market for custom thermoplastic compounding. Historical (2002, 2007, and 2012) data and forecasts for the years 2017 and 2022 are presented by resin type and market. Compounding is defined as the mechanical mixing of one or more resins and one or more other additives, with the different components combining to form a new material possessing performance properties and other characteristics different from the original constituent components. This study covers thermoplastics compounded by resin producers and independent compounders, but not processors/end users. In-line incorporation of additives during the resin production process is also excluded. The report does not include thermoset resins or compounds, as these materials require totally different processing methods and are essentially a completely separate product family from thermoplastic materials. With respect to thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), this study includes the compounding of TPEs with additives for use in particular applications, and excludes the compounding involved in the actual production of TPEs. Additive and color concentrates are included within the context of this study.
Data are stated in pounds unless otherwise noted, reflect the weight of individual resins alone, and do not include other materials added during the compounding process such as other polymers, fillers, or other additives. The term “demand” is used synonymously with “consumption” and equals production plus imports, minus exports. Throughout this study demand is related to various indicators for comparative purposes and to facilitate further analysis. Tabular details may not add to totals due to independent rounding, and calculated ratios reflect unrounded numbers. The macroeconomic indicators used in this study were obtained from The Freedonia Group Consensus Forecasts dated December 2012. Due to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ use of chain-weighted price indices, inflation-adjusted gross domestic product components (2005 dollars) do not add to the total.