The U.S market for polymeric foam was nearly 7.9 billion pounds in 2014. This market is predicted to reach nearly 8.1 billion pounds in 2015 and nearly 9.3 billion pounds in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8%.
- An overview of the global markets for polymeric foams.
- Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2014, estimates for 2015, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2020.
- Analysis of three classes of major commodity thermoplastic resins used to produce foams: polyolefins (primarily polyethylenes and polypropylene), polystyrene and PS copolymers, and polyvinyl chloride and copolymers.
- Coverage of key application areas including:
- Appliances, primarily thermal insulation.
- Building/construction, primarily insulation and PVC profiles/shapes.
- Electrical/electronics, with the largest market in acoustical and noise-control foams.
- Furniture and furnishings, mainly comfort cushioning.
- Medical applications.
- Packaging, both functional and product protection.
- Transportation, primarily cushioning.
- Information on technologies including new blowing agents, polyol technology, microcellular foams, and discussion of polymer recycling technology.
- Details concerning the structure of the polymeric foams industry with emphasis on major domestic producers and suppliers, as well as trends in the industry.
SCOPE AND FORMAT
This BCC Research study covers in depth many of the most important technological, economic, political and environmental considerations in the U.S. polymeric foams industry. It is basically a study of U.S. markets, but because of the global nature of polymer and packaging chemistry, it touches on some noteworthy international activities, primarily those that impact the U.S. market such as the significant number of foreign firms that operate on U.S. soil.
As noted at the beginning of this chapter, the polymeric foams covered in the scope of this study are the older conventional foams made from synthetic plastics produced from chemical and petrochemical feedstocks. New foams made from the growing bioplastics industry are outside our scope.
All market estimate figures are rounded to the nearest million pounds, and all growth rates are compounded and signified as percent compounded annual growth rates (CAGR%). Because of this rounding, some growth rates may not agree exactly with figures in the market tables, especially for differences in small volumes. All market figures are at the manufacturer’s or producer’s level.
Dr. J. Charles Forman has been a research analyst for BCC Research covering polymers and chemicals for more than two decades. His work in the industry includes 21 years at Abbott Laboratories in R&D and manufacturing management. Dr. Forman has researched and written more than 70 multi-client market research reports on a variety of subjects, ranging from building construction materials and spectroscopy to several studies on plastic packaging. He holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University, all in chemical engineering. He is also a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.).
BCC Research forecasts an overall compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 2.5% for all foams produced from commercial plastics for the period 2010-2015. This market is valued at 7.5 billion pounds in 2010 and is expected to reach nearly 8.6 billion pounds in 2015.
Polyolefins, both polyethylenes and polypropylene foams, have a growing market of about 443 million pounds in 2010. A higher compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8%, and a value of 509 million pounds, is forecast for 2015, based on increasing demand for cross-linked polyethylene foams in several applications.
Polyurethane (PUR) foams, both flexible foams used primarily for cushioning and rigid foams used mostly for thermal insulation, have the largest market, 3.9 billion pounds in 2010, with a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.6% to 4.4 billion pounds in 2015.
The merchant market for polymeric foams in the U.S. is estimated at 7.4 billion pounds in 2001. BCC forecasts an overall average annual growth rate (AAGR) of about 2.8% for all foams through 2006.
While one of the smallest of the major markets, the highest AAGR of any resin group, 3.8%, is forecast for polyolefins, largely based on demand in leisure and sports applications. Total demand in 2006 should be about 361 million pounds.
Polyurethane (PUR) foams, both flexible and rigid, have the largest market, 3.96 billion pounds in 2001, with a predicted AAGR of 3.6% to 4.7 billion pounds in 2006.
Polystyrene foams, both extruded and expanded beads, are the second largest family of foamed plastics, but are forecast to increase at an AAGR of only 1.2% through 2006.
Polyvinyl chloride foams are expected to rise at an AAGR of only 2.6%, in large part driven by continuing environmental pressures against the use of PVC.