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TPE 2011 Conference Report: Two Strong Drivers Lead the TPE Growth

SpecialChem / Thibaud Deleger – Dec 12, 2011

As a starting point to the 14th international conference on Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) held in Brussels, Belgium, on 8th to 9th November 2011 and following the agenda of the 20 presentations two main topics were easily identified: TPE are often presented as an alternative to flexible PVC and vulcanized rubbers; TPE entirely or partly made from renewable resources is a hot topic. Beside these two hot topics the TPE 2011 conference organized by the iSmithers group also left some room to exciting innovations and new products. But before going into the details of selected presentations let's first review the key facts of the global TPE market. Thanks to the presentation made by Dr. Löchner from SRI Consulting, part of the IHS information group (4,500 employees, US$1.1bn of sales in 2010) TPE volumes consumption were put into perspective.

In 2007 most of the consulting firms predicted a 2011 TPE market size of 3.5 to 3.6 million tons. That was before the worldwide economy crisis. TPE were no exception in suffering from the global economy crisis, and because elastomers are widely used in the Building & Construction sector (wires & cables, sealing) as well as in the Automotive industry, both sectors being severely impacted by the economic situation in 2008 and 2009, the TPE market size prediction for 2011 were not valid anymore. In fact the global demand for TPE in 2011 is around 3 millions tons only.

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