This study covers the global market for rubber processing chemicals. Demand is provided in metric tons for 2008, 2013, and 2018, with forecasts for 2023 and 2028. Data are provided for six major geographic regions and 21 individual nations. Within this study, the word “demand” is used synonymously with “consumption”, and includes captive consumption. Demand for these chemicals includes only those quantities used in rubber processing; quantities used in the processing of plastics and other materials are excluded.
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There is no universally accepted definition of the term “rubber processing chemical”. For the purposes of this study, the term includes only chemicals used in rubber compounding under the following functional product types:
antidegradants, which include antioxidants, antiozonants, and stabilizers
accelerators, which include retarders
other processing chemicals, including adhesion promoters, blowing agents, colorants, dispersing agents, mold release agents, odorants, peptizers, processing aids and plasticizers, secondary vulcanizing agents and other non-sulfur curing agents, and tackifiers
Reinforcing materials (such as silica and carbon black), inert fillers, extenders, processing oils, and diluents (such as clay, talk, and calcium) are excluded from the scope of this study. Also excluded from consideration are waxes, sulfur, zinc oxide, and stearic acid.
Rubber consumption includes both natural and synthetic rubber. Rubber consumption figures refer to the “dry weight” of the rubber (i.e., they do not include the weight of extender oil or any additives). These figures include only new rubber; reclaimed rubber is excluded.
Rubber consumption comprises two applications:
Tire rubber consumption includes the rubber used in all motor vehicle type tires, bicycle tires, motorcycle tires, and off-road vehicle tires, as well as retreads and inner tubes.
Non-tire rubber includes all remaining quantities, including rubber used in such products as hoses, belts, gaskets and seals, footwear, and medical supplies, among numerous others.
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VIDEO Improving Standards for Product Performance & Durability to Promote Rising PHR Rates
Through 2023, average chemical use rates in terms of parts per hundred rubber (PHR) are expected to rise due to:
evolving tire labeling requirements for properties such as fuel efficiency, wet grip, and durability
changing applications for both natural and synthetic rubber, requiring varying levels of temperature resistance, flexibility and durability, among other properties
In middle-income regions such as Central and South America and Eastern Europe, PHR rates will grow as higher quality rubber products are produced to meet rising domestic standards and so that local producers can remain competitive in export markets such as North America and Western Europe.
Health & Environmental Concerns Supporting Shift in Product Mix
Several types of rubber processing chemicals have come under scrutiny and are gradually being replaced due to their impacts on human and environmental health, including:
hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) blowing agents, which are greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change
dithiocarbamate and thiuram accelerators, which can cause contact dermatitis
N-nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic byproducts formed when secondary amines react with atmospheric oxides of nitrogen (NO
x) aromatic oil processing aids, which are carcinogenic
Products such as process oils with low polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) content, sulfonamides with amines less reactive with NO
x, and azodicarbonamide blowing agents will benefit from the transition away from potentially hazardous chemicals because they are considered safer alternatives. Antidegradants Will Remain the Most Used Chemicals Due to Importance of Tire Segment
Because tires are exposed to harsher conditions than most other rubber products, antidegradants are vital for protecting tires from degradation caused by temperature shifts, exposure to water, rough road conditions, and sunlight. Because tires represent the majority of rubber consumption, antidegradants will maintain their share of demand going forward. Increasing standards for tire lifespans and the popularity of tires for use in a wide range of conditions will support gradual increases in antidegradant PHR rates.