The growth rate of the European fluoropolymers market was less than 3% in 2001 owing to reduced demand from end users. A new study from international market consultants Frost & Sullivan forecasts that the market will grow in the region of 5% over the next three years.
‘The success of the European fluoropolymer market rests with the ability of suppliers to improve processibility, bonding and the mechanical properties of their resins,’ said Ivan Fernandez, Research Analyst and author of the report. ‘This calls for not only an increased commitment to R&D, but also a keener understanding of end-user needs.’
The Automotive Industry is the largest end-user of fluoropolymers and is the main driver behind the increasing numbers of applications for and technological innovation of fluoropolymers.
The main opportunities for fluoropolymers in the automotive industry lie in the industry’s drive for lower emissions and improved fuel efficiency. Emissions reduction targets highlight the need for improved permeation resistance in both gasoline and diesel systems whilst the replacement of metals with plastics to reduce the weight of the vehicle aids in achieving fuel efficiency.
However, whilst most module manufacturers confirm their satisfaction with the performance of fluropolymers the high cost of the material is seen as a deterrent to its increased application.
The single most important long-term growth potential for fluoropolymers in the automotive industry comes from the future expansion of passenger car markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The transition of the passenger car from a luxury to a necessity is expected to boost demand in these regions, boosting the demand for fluoropolymers.
Another important sector for Fluoropolymers is that of Electronics where semiconductors are said to represent the largest market. Apart from the general shift away from metals to plastics, fluoropolymer use has been driven by end-users being able to successfully match fluropolymers’ unique properties with their changing processing demands.