US Demand for Custom Compounded Thermoplastics to Exceed 11 Billion Pounds

US demand for custom compounded thermoplastics is forecast to rise 5.0 percent annually to 11.4 billion pounds in 2017, valued at $14.3 billion (resin content only).  Advances will be fueled by continuing 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.  These and other trends, including market share and product segmentation, are presented in Custom Thermoplastic Compounding, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Construction will 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.  Strong 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.  However, pipe and siding processors frequently perform 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 to comply with increasingly stringent fuel economy standards.  Compounded plastics will also benefit from their durability, design flexibility, and relatively low cost.  Long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene is making significant inroads, serving as an alternative to steel in semi-structural applications and also expanding into aesthetic and under-the-hood uses.

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.  Rising construction activity will also create substantial opportunities for polyethylene in areas such as pipe, decking, and vapor barriers.  Moreover, healthy gains are 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. 

The Freedonia Group is a leading international business research company, founded in 1985, that publishes more than 100 industry research studies annually. This industry analysis provides an unbiased outlook and a reliable assessment of an industry and includes product segmentation and demand forecasts, industry trends, demand history, threats and opportunities, competitive strategies, market share determinations and company profiles. 

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