Low profile additives (LPA) are thermoplastic or elastomeric polymers which are added to unsaturated polymer resins and glass composites during production to reduce shrinkage and improve surface stability and finish. The industry is estimated to exceed USD 1.02 billion by 2020 owing to its ability to resist thermal degradation.
Implementation of Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) in the U.S. to improve fuel efficiency has been an important factor for growth in the market. Demand for LPA is expected to rise due to increased preference of lighter plastic parts over metal components
Widespread application of sheet molding compound (SMC) and bulk molding compound (BMC) for manufacturing of vehicle components is expected to spur demand for low profile additives from 2012 to 2020. Demand for SMC and BMC was estimated at 174.3 kilo tons in 2013 on account of increasing demand from construction and automotive industry, primarily in Asia Pacific. It was the leading application segment which constituted for about 62.0% of the overall market by volume.
The use of low profile additives in resin transfer molding (RTM) techniques and pultrusion which are highly used in the construction industry is expected to have a positive impact on market growth. LPA in pultrusion process offers corrosion resistance, dimensional stability and electrical insulation to the end product.
Global low profile additives demand in 2013 was estimated at 280.9 kilo tons and is projected to reach 406.3 kilo tons at a CAGR of 5.4% from 2014 to 2020. Products including polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polyvinyl acetate (PVAc), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polystyrene (PS) are largely used as LPA.
North America demand for low profile additives, by product, 2013 – 2020 (Kilo Tons)
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PVAc demand was over 113.8 kilo tons in 2013. It occupied over 40.0% of the total market and is expected to be the most rapidly growing segment. It is projected to increase at a CAGR of 5.8% over the forecast period. Zero shrinkage on the finished surface and high compatibility with unsaturated polyester resins are expected to propel utilization of PVAc over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific dominated the market and contributed to approximately 59.2% in 2013. China is likely to be a key market owing to the high production of automotive and rapid growth in infrastructural development.
Key companies include PolyOne Corporation, Ashland Inc, Reichhold Chemicals, CCP Composites, Wacker AG, Arkema, Cray Valley Hydrocarbon, FRP Services & Company, Lucite International, and Momentive Specialty Chemicals.
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