Polyurethane dispersions (PUDs) are high solid dispersions of polyurethane polymers in water and commonly used to prepare polyurethane coatings and adhesives containing very low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that show superior adhesion and coating properties for glass, wood, textiles, plastics, metal, rubber and other high performance substrates. Stringent environmental regulations on solvent based PUDs are expected to drive water based PUDs market in the near future. The cost of raw material such as MDI and TDI is increasing and hence the cost of PUDs, so presently they are blended with other low cost dispersions such as acrylic emulsions due to familiarity in their properties. The major end use industries for PUDs include textile, automotive, interior and exterior furniture, foot wear and leather.
PUDs are extensively used as adhesives in several interior components such as instrument panels, dashboards, interior door panels and gear shift levers in the automotive industry. They also find applications in automotive paints and leather coatings of seats. The use of PUDs is suitable for many temperature sensitive substrates such as those used in automotive trim parts which require low-temperature activation. PUDs have excellent properties like abrasion resistance, tensile strength, flexibility, and easy cleaning hence widely used in textile and leather industry. They are also used in synthetic leather production to create high-performance; soft synthetic leather with environmental and economic benefits and finds application in automotive industry in steering wheel coverings, seating, door panels, gear shift bags and trunk covers. Thus, demand from these end use industries is expected to drive PUDs market in the next five years.
According to Transparency Market Research, a leading U.S.-based market research firm, the global consumption of polyurethane dispersions is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% from 2012 to 2018. Due to technological advancement and environmental concerns, water based PUDs are expected to be the key product segment during the forecast period.
Governmental organizations such as Local Air Quality Regulators and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are continuously assessing the amount of VOCs released from paints and coatings, leather, textile and furnishing industry. Aqueous PUDs contains lesser amount of VOCs than solvent based PUDs causing hazardous impact on human health and environment. Thus growing awareness of impact of VOCs and strict regulatory framework is expected to propel the growth of water based PUDs in the near future.
The market for PUDs is highly concentrated and on the verge of consolidation as top five players in the market account for substantial market share. Recently, Michelman acquired German based aqueous polymer manufacturer Ecronova Polymer. The product line of Ecronova Polymer includes styrene acrylics, vinyl acetate copolymers and polyurethane dispersions.
Thus, environmental regulations and high demand from end use industries is expected to drive PUDs market in the next five years.