Stepping out of its supporting role and into the spotlight of today’s joining technology, adhesives are fixed to a steady growth trajectory in the years ahead, with a global market nearing $50 billion by 2019, a new market forecast reports.
Manufacturing, construction and other industries are all stuck on new-technology adhesives that have commercial and industrial applications unheard of a generation ago. Today’s adhesives hold together building materials, cars and aircraft components.
| Hot melt adhesives are in increasing demand, Ceresana reports.|
“Adhesives have gained a stable position in an increasing number of production processes,” Ceresana Research reports in a new world market study on adhesives.
”There is hardly any product in our surroundings that does not contain at least one adhesive—be it the label on a beverage bottle, protective coatings on automobiles, or profiles on window frames.”
Growing industrialization and prosperity in emerging markets will fuel greater demand for adhesives, which are finding new applications daily in the building sector, the processing of wood products, and consumer products.
Nowhere is demand greater than in the Asia-Pacific region, a trend that seems sure to continue, Ceresana reports. Asian countries will increase their global market share of adhesives, largely at the expense of saturated markets in North America and Western Europe.
|Construction is expected to become the largest application field for adhesives by 2019.|
China, India, Russia and Brazil will all see rising demand for adhesives, driving an average 2.9% annual increase worldwide for the next eight years—a surge over the last eight years.
'Holding the World Together'
“Adhesives are holding the world together,” moving rapidly from a reinforcing role in conventional joining methods to replacing them altogether, reports Ceresana.
“For example, the body work of an automobile can now be glued in its entirety, making welded seams, rivets and similar technologies superfluous,” the report says.
Even applications like aircraft construction that require “a special degree of integrity” rely heavily on adhesives. “Bonded joints are smooth, reliable and permanent in holding together the most diverse materials,” Ceresana reports. “Aircraft bodies or the rotor blades of wind turbines are glued accurately.”
Custom adhesives for special applications are also expanding to new fields.
On the Rise: Vinyls and Water
The largest group is adhesives based on vinyls, with global consumption reaching 3.5 million metric tons in 2011. Demand for polyurethane- and acrylic-based adhesives is expected to grow by more than 3% per year between 2011 and 2019.
More than half of the global demand for adhesives in 2011 was for water-based products. This demand should increase in the next eight years as solvent-based adhesives continue to lose favor. Like many markets, the adhesive industry in Western Europe and North America is being shaped by environmental laws and awareness.
The use of hot-melt and reactive adhesives will increase most in the next eight years, according to Ceresana.
Where They’re Used
As adhesives decline in books and magazines, paper producers and the packaging and construction industries make up the lion’s share of end users. Demand for construction adhesives is expected to grow by 3.4% annually, to become the largest field of application in 2019.
The wood processing industry currently accounts for about 12.5% of the market, followed by the footwear and leather industry, transportation, and production of consumer goods.
While Europe and the U.S. continue to pursue ever-fewer emissions, environmental protections are less important elsewhere. Still, the current push to eliminate solvents should eventually benefit all markets, Ceresana reports.
“In the long term,” the company forecasts “a growing use of environmentally friendly adhesives in these regions as well.”