In 2020, the demand for automotive expanded polypropylene foams experienced a major fall due to restrictions imposed in Covid-19 pandemic. The year 2020 created numerous hurdles for the manufacturers in this market. However, the condition is getting normalized in 2021 which is encouraging the market players to recuperate their previous market positions through persistent innovations and upgradations.
Foams are available in different types like polyurethane foams, poluethylene foams, olefins , polystyrene foams etc. In 2021, the automotive manufacturers are opting more for polypropylene foams in comparison to other foams due to its excellent chemical andheat resistance as well as the freedom of geometric design it offers to attract the customers.
Growing applicability of these foams in automobiles for interior trims, bumpers, battery cases, trays, fender liners, instrumental panels and door trims continues to create high demands in the market.
The addition of eco-friendly polypropylene foams by leading corporations in 2021 like JSP Corporation and Hanwha Group is creating significant attraction among the automakers. These manufacturers are doing innovations with their offerings and are guaranteeing multiple impact resistance, buoyancy, moldability in their offerings.
Adoption of both organic as well as inorganic strategic tactics is on top priority of leading manufactures in 2021. Product approvals, product enhancements, innovations, partnerships, joint ventures, research and developments, collaborations etc are some of the tactics acquired by the marketers to combat the rising competition.
For instance, JSP Corporation launched a highly modified polypropylene foam made with 15 per cent recycled maritime waste on 21st April 2020. The new foam is named “Arpro 35 Ocean” having a medium bulk density of 34 g/l for lightweight moulded parts with densities between 40 to 70 g/l. This introduction has improved the profitability and market share of the company on account rising demands from different corners of the world. At present ‘Arpro 35 Ocean’ is the leading expanded polypropylene foam in the market.
In addition to that, DS Smith PLC has launched a new customer-centric automotive website for delivering new, innovative and eco-friendly polypropylene foams to the automobile manufacturers with the aim to bolster their position as a global supplier to the automotive industries. The website combines all of DS Smith’s offerings to create an ease for automotive manufacturers to see the latest designs offered by the company. The company is supplying light-weight and impact-resistant polypropylene foams to the global automakers with the target of expanding its presence in 2021.
Widespread benefits of automotive expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam material in impact resistance, energy and shock absorption is fueling its adoption in diverse vehicles. With impressive elasticity, thermal resistance, recyclability, oil resistance, non-toxicity, and shock-proof nature, EPP foam makes an integral part of automotive manufacturing vertical. The automotive industry has witnessed an increase in the global production and consumption of vehicles in recent years. The automotive industry is proliferating, which is also expected to trigger growth in the automotive expanded polypropylene foam market in the forthcoming years.
Growing trend of lightweight vehicles is prompting manufacturers in automotive expanded polypropylene foam market to design in-demand components to appeal to a wide consumer base. When automotive expanded polypropylene foam is combined with metals, it helps in reducing weight, increases shock absorption and alleviates vibration and dampening of vehicles. Consequently, automakers are focusing on increased use of automotive expanded polypropylene foam to capitalize on accelerating trend of lightweight vehicles.
While the bio-plastics industry is accelerating rapidly, demand for bio-based polypropylene is likely to grow. There have been several regulatory initiatives envisioned for the promotion of bio plastics to arrest the growing carbon emissions. Rising government regulations on carbon emission have the potential to trigger adoption of bio-based polypropylene in the automotive expanded polypropylene foam market.
Developed by JSP in 1970, expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam was first used in automotive products in 1982 in Japan. Since then with the excellent physical properties as compared to other commercially available cellular foams, automotive expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam has witnessed several applications in the automotive industry including safety and sound deadening. In addition, automotive expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam are used in heat recovery units, hot water valve insulation, and other lightweight rigid structures. As automotive expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam can sustain multiple impacts and returns to its original shape without any deformation, it is highly used for safety applications. Automotive expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam is widely used in other automotive parts and systems such as seating and other interior components.
Usually, automotive expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam is available in black color for automotive applications, some vendors in the automotive expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam market are providing vibrant colored automotive expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam suitable for a presentation-grade textured surface. Automotive expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam is popular for internal and external components including under carpet-floor leveling system, side impact protection, and front impact protection assemblies installed in automotive. With an ideal cost-effective material, low tooling costs and shorter lead-time automotive expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam dominates other types of cellular foams present in the market.
A bead foam which is utilized in the applications such as industrial and automotive packaging is known as expanded polypropylene foam. This foam shows unique and exceptional properties like impact resistance, thermal insulation, water & chemical resistance and outstanding energy absorption. Owing to its unique abilities of cushioning and its flexibleness that offers tremendous protection to composite shapes, automotive expanded polypropylene foams are widely used in industrial packaging. There are basically two types of automotive expanded polypropylene foams such as low and high density expanded polypropylene foams which are available in various densities. An expanded polypropylene foam with high grade density displays outstanding strength and reduced property of weight. These foams are utilized in application where the critical parameter is the management of energy. This is the precise reason that such foams are used in automotive applications such as bumpers and other passenger safety parts. On the other hand low density foams are utilized in the applications such as industrial packaging, while medium density foams are applicable to furniture and other consumer products.
Automotive Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) Foam- Drivers
One of the most significant factors which is creating robust growth in the automotive expanded polypropylene foam market is growing awareness about environmental concerns and rising demand for light weight and fuel efficient cars. The overall development of automotive sector and growing production and consumption of automobiles worldwide is likely to fuel the growth of automotive expanded polypropylene market. Growing application of expanded polypropylene foam in wide-ranging industries like automotive, packaging and aerospace due to its light weight and recyclable properties. This foam is light weight, moreover it has outstanding strength along with improved absorption capabilities. These properties increase the use of expanded polypropylene in those automotive parts that are crash prone. Another reason for the greater boost of automotive expanded polypropylene foam market is the utilization of higher density foam in heavy industrial packaging.
Automotive Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) Foam- Regional Outlook
Automotive expanded polypropylene foam market is segmented into various regions such as Asia-Pacific, Japan, North America, Europe, MEA and Latin America. By the end of 2016, North America region grabbed remarkable share in the automotive expanded polypropylene foam market. This is due to growing production of vehicle in the region. Asia Pacific region is likely to register high Compound Annual Growth rate throughout the projected period due to rise in the manufacturing of premium and light weight vehicles in developing countries such as Korea, China and India. Apart from North America and Asia-Pacific region, Europe is also exhibiting good growth of expanded polypropylene foam market. This growth of a market in Europe is due to its application in construction, consumer products, and building & construction. Growing constructional activities are fueling the growth of the market in MEA region. On the other hand Latin America is likely to register higher growth rate throughout the projected period due to growing industrialization.
Automotive Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) Foam- Key Players
FURUKAWA ELECTRIC CO., LTD., Sonoco Protective Solutions, Hanwha Corporation, DS Smith Plastics, BASF SE, The Woodbridge Group, JSP Corporation, Kaneka Corporation, and SSW Pearl Foam GmbH are some of the key manufacturers functioning in the automotive expanded polypropylene foam market.
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