Global Thermoplastic Elastomers

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TPEs

This study covers the global market for thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). For the purposes of this study, a thermoplastic elastomer is defined as any thermoplastic material that exhibits elastomeric properties; TPEs therefore offer the functional performance characteristics of thermoset rubber, but are processed using the methods and machinery of rigid thermoplastics. TPE types encompassed in this study include:

  • copolyester elastomers (COPEs)
  • polyolefin elastomers (POEs)
  • styrenic block copolymers (SBCs)
  • thermoplastic polyolefins (TPOs)
  • thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs)
  • thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs)
  • specialty types(including polyether block amide, silicone-based TPEs, fluoropolymer-based TPEs, and vinyl-based TPEs)

SBCs that do not exhibit elastomeric properties (i.e., high styrene products that contain roughly 60% or more styrene) are excluded from the scope of this study.

While TPOs and TPVs are “polyolefin elastomers” in a technical sense, they are defined separately for the purposes of this study. Furthermore, vulcanized olefin elastomers such as EPDM and ethylene-propylene rubber are not TPEs and are thus excluded.

Compounds with vulcanized elastomers are considered to be TPVs rather than TPOs. Various sources and manufacturers differ on the degree of vulcanization required to define an olefinic TPE as a TPV, so estimates of current global demand can vary.

End-use markets for TPEs comprise:

  • adhesives, sealants, and coatings
  • asphalt and roofing
  • consumer goods (including footwear)
  • industrial products
  • motor vehicles
  • medical products
  • packaging
  • others, including wire and cable jacketing

Historical data (2009, 2014, and 2019) and forecasts for 2024 are presented for global thermoplastic elastomer demand in metric tons by product and market on a country-by-country and region-by-region basis. The terms “shipments”, “production”, and “output” are used interchangeably in the study, as are the terms “demand”, “sales”, and “market”, which are defined as domestic shipments, plus imports, minus exports.

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