Global Demand for Polyurethanes Continues to Grow
Polyurethanes are used in a wide range of applications: for car seats and mattresses, skis and shoe soles, sponges and carpet coatings, elastomeres, paints and coatings, but also for adhesives and sealants. Correspondingly high is the demand: In 2014, a worldwide turnover of USD50 billion was achieved with PU. A new study of the market research company Ceresana expects the sales to rise until 2022 by on average 4.8% p.a. - by that, USD 74 billion can be reached.
The prime area of application of polyurethane is the construction industry where PU is mainly used as insulation and assembly foam. Producers of plastic benefit from the recent discussion on climate protection or rather from the increasing importance of energy efficiency and conserving of resources. In several countries measurements of government aid lead to an increase in sales of insulation materials. Ceresana expects the worldwide demand for PU in the construction segment to increase by 4.6% p.a. in the near future.
The characteristics of polyurethane depend on the primary products. In order to create a full transparency of the PU market, the analysts of Ceresana examined the two most important primary products as well: Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and Toluene diisocyanate (TDI). Application areas of PU products vary depending on the production either with TDI or MDI. MDI-based PU generated almost 55% of the annual PU demand in 2014. With its annual growth of 4.2% which is above the one of TDI, MDI will presumably further expand its lead. This is a result of the positive development in the construction industry where mainly MDI-based PU is used. However, a weaker development can be seen in the segment furniture and bedding which is the most important sales market for TDI.
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