Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is currently a lucrative market for the major thermoplastic elastomer and polyurethane manufacturers. The advancements witnessed in the TPU market, in both process technology and product offering innovations, are driving this market steadily. The cost effective performance of TPU against its thermoplastic elastomer counterparts is high which has supplemented to the growth in the manufacturing of the material. A forward integration trend is also observed in the TPU market indicating the efficiency of the material. Product innovation at the raw material level, such as effective diisocyanates (hexamethylene diisocyanate (HMDI), isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI) and others) is pledged to add to the innovation in the final TPU material.
The automotive and medical applications are the fastest-growing TPU end-user markets. TPU has successfully penetrated into the automotive market replacing several other engineering plastics and TPEs in applications such as dashboards, cup holders, and so on. An appreciable replacement of PVC, considered hazardous because of the use of plasticizers, in the medical end-user market is considered an effective breakthrough in the Thermoplastic polyurethane market. The footwear market is the biggest market for the material. Innovation in the footwear market, is contributed by some material which includes TPU, and delivers light weight, better reflexivity, and breathability. The hot-melt adhesive market is one of the fast-growing innovative adhesive market which considers TPU as one of the key adhesives, dependable for innovation.
This market is expected to experience a healthy growth with promising consumption in the APAC region that includes a myriad of end users of TPU. China, India, Thailand, Taiwan, and other developing South-East Asian nations are assuring the growth of the TPU market in the APAC region. This region represented close to 52.0 % of the total revenue generated by the TPU market in 2012. China and the U.S. are the two biggest consumers of the material which together contributed close to 46.0% of the market.
Bayer Material Science AG (Germany), BASF SE (Germany), Huntsman Corporation (U.S.), Lubrizol Corporation (U.S ) and Wanhua chemical Group Co. Ltd (China) are among the top TPU manufacturers, along with Polyone Corporation (U.S.), COIM (Spain) and Hexpol TPE (Sweden), which were most active players in the TPU market between 2010 and 2013. The major growth strategy adopted by TPU market participants is launching new products and the improvement of pre-existing brands. The establishment of new R&D hubs in the North American and Asia-Pacific regions took place from 2012 to 2013.