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Expanded applications to spur demand for rubber

Source:International Plastics News for Asia

Date Published:11/27/2017 04:11:19 PM

The rubber market in the Asia Pacific region is projected to continue posting substantial growth owing to huge demand for rubber by fast-growing sectors.
The rubber market in the Asia Pacific region is projected to continue posting substantial growth owing to huge demand for rubber by fast-growing sectors such as automotive and medical, among others. The global synthetic rubber market share is seen to increase to reach more than $45 billion by 2023, with annual growth of over 5% from 2018 to 2023, according to forecast by Market Research Engine, naming Asia Pacific as a major market.    
Future Market Insights also cited sustained demand for polybutadiene rubber, a material that is used specifically in the production of synthetic tires. Globally, the polybutadiene market is experiencing rising demand and progress in the past few years, with trends and developments pointing toward increased utilization in the coming years. One major reason cited is the adoption of the material in different applications. The enormous expansion of automobile production which results in the rise of tire consumption, increased usage of polystyrene and ABS in consumer goods industries, and growing demand for industrial rubber in last few years have increased the demand of polybutadiene globally, according to Future Markets. 
In order to produce fuel-efficient automotive and eco-friendly tires, the demand for polybutadiene has grown significantly from the automobile manufacturers and OEM's. Growing economy, manufacturing industries, foreign investment and availability of low-cost labor in Asia are some factors fueling the need for polybutadiene. Environmental awareness on some hazards, such as air pollution, due to the production of butadiene has raised concerns. Producers are now adopting bio-based butadiene to counter the negative effects caused by petroleum-based products.
Polybutadiene is the second largest compound used in the syntheses of synthetic rubber after styrene butadiene rubber (SBR). Properties such as high resistance, excellent abrasion resistance, high resilience, exceptional rolling resistance as well as low glass transition temperature, which helps in better fuel economy, make polybutadiene the ideal choice for the manufacturing of tires. Around 70% of polybutadiene manufactured is used in the manufacturing of tires while 30% is used as an additive to increase the properties such as toughness and thermal resistance, of the polymers, for instance, butadiene styrene (ABS) and polystyrene. Owing to its excellent properties, polybutadiene has found its adoption in some niche applications, such as manufacturing of soft toys and golf balls. 
End-uses of rubber expand   
The special properties of rubber make it an ideal material for various industries. Persistence Market Research’s report on the global industrial rubber market highlights key end-uses of rubber products across multiple industries. The report reveals how years and years of surplus demand has led the global industrial rubber market toward its present value, which is estimated to reach $93 billion. As in the past decade, global demand for industrial rubber is less likely to stagger, and is expected to grow yearly by 6.1% to hit $ 167.9 billion revenues by end-2026.  
The automotive industry remains the largest end-user of industrial rubber in the world with more than 40% of global industrial rubber production going to automotive and transportation sector. The large production of automobiles makes the Asia-Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) region the world’s largest industrial rubber market. With over one-third share of global revenues, industrial rubber sold across the APEJ region is expected to reach $ 55.9 billion in revenues by end-2026. 
The report reveals that a large portion of industrial rubber produced in the world will be processed through injection molding method. In 2016, over $37.2 billion revenues were contributed by global sales of injection-molded industrial rubber. Higher adoption of injection molding will also lower the market presence of compression molding process. On the other hand, industrial rubber obtained through extrusion process is likely to account for 34.2% of the market up to 2026.
Ektron Tek
Ms. Grace Zhang, Associate General Manager, Ektron Tek Co., Ltd.
Automation as core value
Ektron Tek, an international rubber testing instrument company manufacturer, believes that high precision and automation are still the core value of the rubber industry in the future. The company offers Moving Die (Foam Pressure) Rheometer, Oscillating Disc Rheometer, fully automatic high and low temperature Ozone tester, Plunger tester, tire tester Tensile tester, Mixing grader, Flexometer, Low Temperature Retraction Tester and Air Tight Tester etc. The customers span across different industrial applications including tire, seal, automotive components, rail component, footwear, medical equipment, and other daily-use products.   
Ektron Tek Associate General Manager Grace Zhang said that the company has been a long-time exhibitor at RubberTech China, and what it presented this year at the show indicated a look at the future. She emphasized that the key to compete in the rubber and plastics industry is precision and reduction in labor power – these core emphases are able to flourish due to the development of computing ability. “Automation industry has therefore become a very important direction for the industrial progression,” according to Ms. Zhang. She added that revenue has grown as predicted in the first seasons of the year and believes that China has numerous potential as a major rubber market. As a result, Ektron Tek is planning to invest more in the region, and establish office and expand human resources in order to provide instant and professional services. 


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