US demand for fluoropolymers will rise 4.5 percent per year to $1.7 billion in 2013. Gains will represent an acceleration from the pace of the 2003-2008 period, during which the fluoropolymer market was hampered by weakness in the manufacturing sector. Going forward, fluoropolymer demand will be driven by a turnaround in key markets such as motor vehicles and wire and cable, and the increasing need for high-performance materials in chemical processing applications. Rising demand in emerging, fast-growing markets such as advanced batteries, fuel cells and photovoltaic modules will also support fluoropolymer market gains. However, gains in fluoropolymer demand will be limited by a downturn in nonresidential construction activity and by market maturity in a number of applications. These and other trends are presented in US Fluoropolymers, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), the first commercial fluoropolymer, will continue to account for the largest portion of demand in 2013. Advances for PTFE will be driven by growing opportunities in applications such as chemical processing and industrial filtration. However, the most rapid gains will be seen in fluoroelastomers, fueled by a strong rebound in motor vehicle production from a low 2008 base. Demand for fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resins will rise at a more moderate pace, limited by a drop in nonresidential construction activity.
Robust gains will also be found in smaller-volume fluoropolymer products, which include a number of high value materials used in emerging markets. Double-digit growth in solar energy products will fuel gains for polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) films used in the production of photovoltaic modules. Demand for perfluorosulfonic acid polymers (such as DuPont’s NAFION) will be driven by the rapid rise in fuel cell production.
Industrial markets will remain the largest outlet for fluoropolymers in 2013, accounting for about one-third of demand by value. The increasingly aggressive and corrosive processes used in chemical and semiconductor manufacturing will spur growing demand for high-performance fluoropolymer materials. The fastest gains, however, will be in transportation equipment markets, driven by a rebound in motor vehicle output and the increased use of fluoroelastomer products over competing materials. Electrical and electronic outlets will also see above-average gains in demand, led by the small (but rapidly expanding) fuel cell and photovoltaic segments and an acceleration in the wire and cable market.
The Freedonia Group is a leading international business research company, founded in 1985, that publishes more than 100 industry research studies annually. This industry analysis provides an unbiased outlook and a reliable assessment of an industry and includes product segmentation and demand forecasts, industry trends, demand history, threats and opportunities, competitive strategies, market share determinations and company profiles.