The market for low profile additives is expected to register a CAGR of more than 7%, during the forecast period. Major factors driving the market studied are the rising demand for high-performance SMC (Sheet Molding Compound) formulations from the automotive industry, and emerging applications in fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP). However, high polymerization shrinkage of unsaturated polyester resin with the crosslinking styrene monomer is expected to hinder the market growth.
- The injection and compression molding (sheet molding compounds (SMC) and bulk molding compounds (BMC)) application segment dominated the market. It is expected to grow during the forecast period, owing to its increasing consumption in end-users, like the automotive, aerospace and defense, and medical industries.
- The continuously growing trend of using recycled plastic materials is likely to act as an opportunity in the future.
- Asia-Pacific dominated the global market, with the largest consumption from China and Japan.
Key Market Trends
Increase in Demand for High-performance SMC (Sheet Molding Compound) Formulations from Automotive Industry
- The automotive industry is currently following an important energetic transition, with the development of vehicles in compliance to drastic environmental constraints.
- A vehicle weight reduction of 100 kg saves up to 12.5 g of CO2 emissions every kilometer. In other words, every kilogram in car weight reduction can save 20 kg of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the lifetime of a car. Furthermore, volatile and gradually increasing gas prices may lead to a higher demand for lightweight cars, with higher fuel efficiency.
- In this scenario, the reduction of the overall weight of cars is crucial. The substitution of heavy steel parts by lightweight composite materials is gaining momentum.
- In a typical automobile, the use of fiber composites is 50% by volume, while adding just 10% of the weight. In the United States, the government raised the fuel efficiency requirements for new automobiles to 54.5 miles per gallon, by 2025, for the US market. Therefore, the companies have started using composite materials, such as carbon fiber, to make vehicles lightweight and fuel-efficient.
- Sheet molding compounds (SMCs) are a class of composite materials that have been used in the automotive industry for a long time, owing to their low weight, low cost, and good mechanical properties. These SMC formulations are blended with a thermoplastic low profile additive (LPA), to compensate for polymerization shrinkage.
- Thus, the expanding automotive industry is fueling the demand for the low profile additives market. It also has the potential to propel growth in the near future.
North American Region to Dominate the Market
- With almost 35% of the global demand, North America is the most promising market for low profile additives. This domination can be attributed to the rising demand for the fiber-reinforced plastics market in the region.
- The United States accounts for over 80% of the demand for low profile additives in the region. With its technology-driven economic base, the United States is one of the world’s largest markets for composite materials. This huge market for composite materials is responsible for the country's current position in the low profile additives market.
- In the fast few years, SMC formulation and processing innovations have boosted the volume of SMC in EV and hybrid automotive parts, like battery covers, inductive charging plates, lift gates, and engine protectors, in the United States. This boosted volume of SMC is instrumental in propelling the market for low profile additives in the country.
- The transportation sector is the largest end-user industry for composite materials and low profile additives. The transportation industry is continuously looking for innovative materials, to help reduce vehicle weight and achieve fuel efficiency and carbon emission targets.
- Commercial aircraft, military craft, helicopters, business jets, general aviation aircraft, and spacecraft of the aerospace industry in the United States also make substantial use of composites and low profile additives.
- Overall, with consistent growth in the United States and Canada, the demand for low profile additives is expected to increase at a faster pace in the region, in the coming years. The huge growth of North America is quite instrumental in the expansion of the overall low profile additives market.
The market for low profile additives is partially fragmented and highly competitive in nature. The major players include Wacker Chemie AG, Ashland, Polynt, Poliya Composite Resins and Polymers Inc., and Swancor Manufacturing Inc, among others.
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