Polyurethane (PU) foams constitute a class of polymeric foams. PU foams plays a major role to preserve natural resources balance. The PU foams are highly demanded in the manufacturing sector to maintain sustainable development as they help reduce wastage and consume less energy. The construction and automotive sectors have also recorded growth in sales of PU foams, owing to energy saving and energy-efficient properties of PU foam. Hence, the global polyurethane foam market attained a value of $52 billion in 2018. Furthermore, the market growth is set to rise at a CAGR of 8% during the forecast period 2019-2025.

Demand from End-User Industries of APAC Boosting the PU foam Market Growth –

Asia-Pacific (APAC) held a major share of 35% of the PU foam market in 2018. APAC PU foam market is dominant in rigid and flexible PU foam segments. The demand from this region is primarily attributed from its end-user industries. Large-scale production of furniture, footwear, and automotive industries are major base of Asian countries such as China and India. Demand and performance of molded PU foam largely effect the efficacy of the automotive industries. Besides, demand of PU rigid foams by the construction sectors of India and Japan is also boosting the growth of the PU foam market in the APAC region.

Energy Consumption of Transportation Seeking the Need for PU Foam –

The transportation sector is responsible for major energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the environment. Local and state governments of different countries such as the U.S. are taking measures to mitigate these effects of transportation on environment. PU foam is widely used in vehicles, as it increases the fuel economy and is recyclable from nature. PU foam offers design freedom, longevity, comfort, light-weight, and safety features. Besides, it is corrosion resistant, and their vibration dampening qualities contribute to safety and comfort of passengers.  Owing to all these factors, the PU foam market for transportation sector is rising with a CAGR of 6%, during the forecast period.

PU Foam Market Growth Drivers –

·         Flexible PU (FPU) Foams Enhances Health and Safety of Furniture –

Unlike other cushioning materials, FPU enhances health and safety of furniture that can be quantifiably measured. Thus, FPU becomes one of the most resourceful cushioning materials used in bedding and furniture. PU technologies such as viscoelastic, microcellular, and high resilience are widely used processes in furniture, carpet underlay, and bedding, as it provide comfort, support, and durability to these applications.

As PU foam serves a better purpose in the furniture industry, home-furnishings manufacturers are innovating and experimenting with the advanced manufacturing processes. The major goal of these advancements is to achieve uniformity, predictability, and durability of materials and test their performance in different applications and environments.

·         Rigid Foams Dominate as Energy-Saving Applications –

Rigid PU provide energy-efficient and versatile insulations. It can effectively limit energy costs and make it apt for commercial and residential applications—comfortable to use.

According to the U.S Energy Information Administration estimation in the International Energy Outlook 2017, the total world energy consumption increased by 28% during 2015-2040. Simultaneously, household applications which occupy a major share in energy consumption is growing. Therefore, rigid foams have robust applications in commercial and residential properties to maintain temperature and lower noise levels. Hence, builders opt for rigid foams and polyisocyanurate foams to achieve effective insulation in materials that can be used in insulated windows, doors, roof and wall insulation, and air barrier sealants. Thus, these applications of PU to meet rising energy demand of households are boosting the growth of the PU market.

 ·         Spray Polyurethane Foam for Thermal Insulation in the Construction Sector –

Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation (SPF Insulation) is a versatile developments in construction and insulation technology, making it a most feasible choice of insulation material for architects, builders, and house owners. Besides, high-density spray foam provide superior insulation properties, cost-effective and durable options in commercial environments. These developments in SPF are gaining huge demand in the PU market.

·         Shock Absorbing Features of PU Foam Rising its Demand in Accident Prone Areas –

Molded PU is used in filling of car seats to provide shock absorbing feature, which offers resistance during accidents. Most car seats, especially in Europe, are made from molded PU. Thus, rising demand from automotive, especially from Europe is boosting the growth of the PU foam composites market. Besides, PU is also used in other protective applications of sports for same purpose. For instance, protective equipment in contact sports or crash barriers for motorsports use PU foams, making them predominant in the sports equipment industry.

·         Rising Demand from Packaging Industry –

Due to its exceptional shock absorbing properties, PU is widely used in the packaging industry. The shape of foam packaging material can be customized and this limits the damage of fragile and expensive items that are packed. The increasing consumer affluence and rising disposable income of population are augmenting the demand for the packaging industry thereby boosting growth of the PU market.

·         Growth of Electronics Industry Propelling Polyurethane Foam Market –

Electronics industry is experiencing huge growth with the rise of disposable income. This dominant industry require packaging during transportation. In that connection, the basic function of PU packaging in the electric and electronic industry is to dissipate the impact energies. Besides providing superior cushioning and protection qualities to the equipment, PU foam absorbs both shock and vibration. Especially while shifting and transportation, it protects against abrasion, moisture damage, and thermal damage.  Owing to this, experts in the packaging sector of the electronic industry consider PU foam as an ideal solution for protecting any electronic product or component during packaging. Thus, these varied applications of PU foam will drive the PU foam market in the electronics industry.

Competitive Landscape of the PU Foam Market –

The major competitors operating in the PU market are BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Co., Covestro, and Huntsman Corp. Recent developments such as expansions, acquisitions, new product launches, and partnerships are increasing the revenue of these major stakeholders of the PU foam market.

Global Expansions Pertaining to the PU Foam Market –

•    Huntsman’s polyurethane business segment has contributed to its revenue in 2018. Owing to this, in late July 2018, chemicals producer announced that its Polyurethane division was setting up a new subsidiary in Chile based in Santiago, marking its expansion in Brazil.

•    BASF recently constructed a new production plant for thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is one of the biggest investments at their site. They are working to strengthen their position as the market leader in specialty plastic TPU. This is supported by the construction of a test plant in order to develop rigid foam polyurethane.

•    In 2017, Dow Polyurethanes, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company has announced the expansion of its Polyurethanes Service Centers Network in Romania. Furthermore, network expansion plans in Africa are announced by the company in order to support customer needs in the Middle East and Africa. These network expansions provide access for customers to laboratory and equipment capabilities along with tailored technical services, including new product demonstrations, testing of final materials and prototype development of high-quality polyurethane materials.

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Related Reports:

A.    Microcellular Polyurethane Foam Market


B.     Rigid Polyurethane Foams Market



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