World Foamed Plastics Market to Reach 10 Million Tons by 2010, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

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World foamed plastics market is forecast to witness modest growth and is on course to reach 10 million tons by 2010. Demand is highly dependent on diverse end use applications particularly in furniture/bedding and automotive sectors.

Foamed Plastics (Polyurethane): A Global Strategic Business Report

Polyurethane industry, with origins in Germany as early as the 1930s, was seen as a modern, highly technical sector of the materials industry due to progress in basic research and application development. Polyurethane (PU) is a special form of plastic derived from polyisocyanate and polyol that either has the structure of polyester or polyether. Based on characteristics, PU is broadly categorized into foam and non-foam. Further, on the basis of the composition and the type of application, foam PU is divided into rigid, semi-rigid and flexible. While, rigid and semi-rigid PU foam accounts for more than 50%, flexible foam account for about one fourth of the total PU demand. Non-foam applications include coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, and paints.

Europe and the United States represent the major markets, accounting for about 30% each of the global foamed plastics market, as stated by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Furniture/bedding and construction account for nearly 50% of the foamed plastics (polyurethane) market in US. Consumption of foamed plastics in automotive industry in Europe is estimated at 424 thousand tons for 2007.

Polyurethane foams' key raw materials include methylene diphenyl isocyanate (MDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and polyols. MDI has been witnessing a sturdy demand for the past few years primarily backed by the flourishing construction, consumer and automotive industries. On the other hand, TDI is primarily used in the production of flexible foams, which find usage in furniture and automotive seating. However, owing to broader spectrum of uses, MDI has been gradually eating into the market share once enjoyed by TDI. MDI is quickly replacing TDI in several applications. Further, TDI woes continue with the large amount of overcapacity and bleak demand.
Polyurethane industry has witnessed a shift from the CFC blowing systems to low- or non-ozone-depleting alternatives. In the flooring market, a variety of materials are used. Epoxy and polyurethane flooring materials are mostly applied in this sector. The aging health conscious population is driving significant changes in the bedding industry. Polyurethane foam plays a significant role in the construction of mattresses due to its effectiveness in relieving pressure points. Demand for reactive polyurethane hot melt adhesives is likely to increase, which could displace solvent-based adhesives.

Polyurethane (PU) technology is spreading fast into new markets due to its versatility. Appearance, performance, protection, environmental compliance and cost-effectiveness are a few such factors, which the paint makers and their suppliers need to take into consideration. PU technology offers a coatings solution, which takes care of all these requirements, and hence it has become the most popular technology in many end markets.

Four major stalwarts largely dominate global polyurethane market. In terms of annual production capacities, Dow, Bayer and BASF account for a major share. Huntsman and Bayer lead the MDI segment, while BASF and Bayer control majority of the TDI segment. However, in case of Polyols, Dow and Bayer dominate. European players largely dominate the polyurethane market and compete primarily based on price, quality, assortment of products, and service. The players vie for the market pie by strategically positioning themselves through acquisitions and increasing their production capacities. In addition to the majors mentioned above, other leading players in the worldwide foamed plastics market include Baxenden Chemicals, British Vita, Foamex International Inc, Mitsui Chemicals Inc, Recticel and Woodbridge Foam Corporation.

The report titled "Foamed Plastics (Polyurethane): A Global Strategic Business Report" published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides insights into market dynamics, key trends, environmental regulations and highlights competitive scenario in the global market. The report offers a comprehensive review of companies, and recapitulates recent developments, acquisitions, and other strategic industry activities.

For more details of this research report, please visit

About Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
Global Industry Analysts, Inc., (GIA) is a reputed publisher of off-the-shelf market research. Founded in 1987, the company is globally recognized as one of the world's largest market research publishers. The company employs more than 700 people worldwide and publishes more than 880 full-scale research reports each year. Additionally, the company also offers a range of more than 60,000 smaller research products including company reports, market trend reports and industry reports encompassing all major industries worldwide.

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