Owing to its unique and important characteristics like heat resistance, sealing and mechanical properties, fluoroelastomers are used in number of applications. For example, in the automotive sector, it is used in designing more efficient passenger cars. In the chemical & processing industry it is used to manufacture long lasting equipment. According to Prismane Consulting s Fluoropolymers & Fluoroelastomer Word Economics Model, the combined total consumption of the three major fluoroelastomers is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of around 3.5 to 5% through 2025, with higher than average for countries like China and India.
A major portion of fluoroelastomer production goes into manufacturing of o-rings & gaskets for industries such as aerospace, automotive, chemical processing, food & pharmaceuticals and semiconductor fabrications. Asia-Pacific is the largest market in terms of flurorelastomers consumption and is further expected to increase its market share in the short, mid and long-term forecast.
Fluoroelastomers are polymers that contain fluorine. Fluorocarbon Elastomer (FKM) accounts for more than 80% of the total fluoroelastomer demand. It is made up of two or more monomer units which can crystallize if the bulky side group is not incorporated at the intervals. This bulky group makes FKM amorphous in nature. Commercial FKM is made from vinyl monomers such as difluroethylaene (VDF) and tetrafluoroethylene (TFE). The bulky groups include methyl vinyl ether, hexafluoropropylene (HFP) and propylene. The monomer combination is chosen carefully to produce sustainable product with excellent elastomeric properties. The applications covered are O-rings, Gaskets, Seals & hoses, complex moulding parts and others. The major end user industries of FKM include Automotive, Aerospace, Oil & Gas, Industrial and Others.
The growth opportunities for fluoroelastomers (Fluorocarbon, Fluorosilicone, and Perfluoroelastomer) and other engineering plastics in the automotive industry are primarily linked with the industry s drive for lower emission and increased fuel efficiency. Fluoroelastomers also provides the option of replacement of metals with plastics to reduce the weight of the vehicle, achieving fuel efficiency.
Unexplored opportunities of replacing metals in automotive, aerospace, industrial applications as well as electrical and electronics and global tightening of environmental regulations for automobiles to improve fuel mileage, control emission and reduce fuel permeation is expected to is expected to drive the fluoroelastomer market. Growth in production of automobiles and initiatives taken by original equipment manufacturers to reduce weight of the vehicles will further drive the demand of fluoroelastomer in the long-term forecast.