Microcellular plastics or microcellular foam is a kind of plastic that designed to contain billions of tiny bubbles of the order of 10 micrometers in diameter. Their densities varied from 3% to 95% of the solid polymer, which is dependent on the volume taken by the bubbles. They offer various advantages over conventional plastic include such as higher productivity on account of faster processing times and sink-mark free injection molded parts with no residual stress and high dimensional stability. They are widely utilized in a various end-use application such as automotive & transportation, building & construction, food packaging, healthcare, electrical & electronics, and others owing to superior properties such as dielectric strength, excellent thermal stability, high strength to weight ratio, fatigue life, and acoustical & thermal insulation performance.
Some of the prominent factors that positively influence the growth of microcellular plastics market are improved standard of living, rising consumption of microcellular plastics in packaging items, and rising urbanization. Furthermore, booming food packaging sector on account of increasing consumption of packaged food in developed and developing economies is estimated to drive the demand for microcellular plastics over the forecast period, 2017-2023. Increasing demand for high-performance materials in numerous end-use industries is estimated to enhance the growth of the market across the globe. Moreover, increasing building & construction activities in emerging economies are expected to boost the demand for microcellular plastics during the review period. Furthermore, continuous growth of sports & equipment industry along with increasing consumption of high-performance plastics is estimated to give a new momentum for the growth of the market over the assessment period.
Europe is predicted to be the largest microcellular plastics market in 2016, which is further followed by the Asia Pacific and trailed by North America owing to increasing demand from building & construction, electrical & electronics, and consumer goods. Germany, Italy, France, and the U.K are expected to capture the leading regional market share on account of significant demand from the important automobile manufacturers. In the Asia Pacific, various countries such as Taiwan, South Korea, India, and China are the fastest growing microcellular plastics market and are estimated to grow at the same pace over the forecast period. Some of the factors that are attributed to the growth of the market in the Asia Pacific are growing middle-class population, competitive manufacturing costs, increasing number of working professionals, and ease in availability of raw material. North America microcellular plastics market is estimated to witness a substantial growth since the U.S is the major contributor to the regional market growth due to the improved healthcare sector.
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The global microcellular plastics market is further classified on the basis of application and region. On the basis of the application, the microcellular plastics market is segmented into building & construction, automotive & transportation, healthcare, electrical & electronics, food packaging, and others. Among them, automotive & transportation is estimated to hold the leading market share in 2016, which is further followed by electrical & electronics. The factor behind the segment growth is increasing automotive production and sales along with rising demand for high-performance plastic material in these industries. Electrical & electronics application segment is predicted to grow at the highest CAGR owing to increasing purchasing power of consumer along with rising consumption of household devices. Increasing usage of microcellular foams for interior application, hollow wall claddings, ceilings, windows, and doors is estimated to fuel the building & construction segment over the forecast period.
The major players operating in the microcellular plastics are BASF SE (Germany), Horizon Plastics International Inc. (Canada), Gracious Living Innovations (Canada), Armacell Canada Inc. (Canada), Ingenia Polymers Corp. (U.S.), Total Plastics Solutions (U.S.), Lavergne Group (Canada), Sealed Air (U.S.), Trexel, Inc. (U.S.), and Griswold Corporation (U.S.) among others.
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