IAL Consultants (London, UK) announced the publication of a market study, “Global Overview of the Radiation Curing Market,” offering an overview of the 2009 market sizes for radiation-curable raw materials and formulations, and the trends that are driving technology and market developments .
The report says the radiation-curable raw-material market reached 378,000 metric tons in 2009, with acrylated oligomers and diluents accounting for 43% of all raw materials in use. Functional monomers comprise one-third of the market, and the nearly 25% of the remaining market consists of non-acrylated compounds and photoinitiators. The accompanying diagram offers a look at the resin chemistries involved in the acrylated oligomers and diluents segment.
Source: IAL Consultants
The use of most types of radiation-curable raw materials is growing at between 3% and 5% per year, the report estimates. The global market for formulated radiation-curable products amounted to slightly moiré than 464,000 metric tons in 2009, with substantial variation in the importance of the different product segments in the primary consuming regions of the world. In the Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA) region, industrial coatings represent the largest segment at 85,740 mt, while in the Americas, the graphic-arts segment is the largest at 55,900 mt. The regional Asia-Pacific market is led by opto-electronics applications (91,850 mt), while the fourth key application segment of radiation-curable adhesives is the smallest segment in every region, amounting to a global market of slightly more than 16,900 mt.
Little change is expected in these rankings and strengths over the next five years, although the Asia-Pacific market is expected to outpace the other two regional markets in terms of growth, at 5-6% per year.
Some of the trends and opportunities identified in the report include the following.
• Sustainability is increasingly important in the European market, and thus paper deinking is assuming greater significance. In addition, suppliers are studying ways to incorporate renewable raw materials into their product portfolios.
• In North America, the fastest growing technology is digital, where promising growth opportunities exist in 100% UV and low-viscosity water-based UV chemistries. Conductive inks are also receiving an increasing amount of attention.
• Japanese companies have looked to China for investment opportunities, and many operate manufacturing there. Multinational corporations such as Toyo Ink, DIC Corporation, Sakata INX, and T&K Toka have long-established relationships in China, while Flint Group has made significant inroads in the past 10 years. Production costs, however, have started to grow in China, and Japanese suppliers are turning their interest to other Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, and India.
• In the flooring sector, nanomaterials are used in low-VOC binders that cure at ambient temperature or with UV radiation, for both factory production of parquet or for maintenance of existing wooden floors. Nanograde colloidal silica gives the coating improved abrasion and scratch resistance, drying speed, and hardness.
• There is a clear geographic split in the EMEA region in the use of UV-curable PUDs. It has been estimated that up to 75% of these products are consumed in northern Europe, mainly the Nordic countries and Germany. These countries have long traditions with wood-based products and also have a much more strict approach to environmental, health, and safety issues than the more conservative southern European countries such as Italy and Spain. There is no reported demand for UV PUDs in the Middle East.
• In the Russian wood-coatings market, outdated technologies are in plentiful supply and new technologies are implemented as a result of importation. As in other regions, the trend will be toward greater use of water-based and UV-curable coatings, although the investment needed for UV curing in Russia is a major hurdle. Nitrocellulosics and acid-catalyzed chemistries are in decline.
The report includes an introduction, executive summary, and sections on radiation-curing technology; the global market for radiation-curing raw materials; the global market for radiation-curing products; suppliers of radiation-curing materials; and suppliers of radiation-curing equipment.
More information: www. ialconsultants.com.