Global Flame Retardant Masterbatches Market: Key Innovations Witnessed, Banking on Emerging Fire Risk Scenarios
Material flammability has been an issue as old as noted history, and for as long as individuals have suffered from fire damage, they has developed flame retardant solutions. These innovations are spawned by new technologies and improvements, as science continues to progress in discovering and solving such problems. New fire risk scenarios occur when new technological practices gets ahead of fire safety engineering capabilities. For instance, growth in the use of plastics in automobiles for gaining fuel efficiency has resulted in unexpected fire risks in tunnels and car parks. This could lead to catastrophic consequences when a car catches fire. Changing fire risk scenarios are resulting in the development of new flame retardants, with the aim to improve the efficiency, health, and safety profile of these substances.
A recent publication by Transparency Market Research (TMR) on the flame retardant masterbatches market highlights the key aspects pertaining to the industry. Continued efforts towards reducing fire accidents, coupled with developments made in an attempt to increase the efficiency of flame retardant masterbatches is likely to drive the market in the forthcoming years.
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Evolutionary Timeline of the Flame Retardant Masterbatches Market
Although flame retardant solutions used today are an aftermath of modern technological advancements, the concept of treating materials to make them fire-repelling goes back centuries, and can be traced to Roman history. While early innovators focused on treating materials to protect them from fire, 19th century chemists took flame resistance to the next level with key discoveries, including the one made by French chemist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, where ammonium phosphates and borax enable materials to absorb greater amounts of heat. Fire retardant solutions used over several years ago are no more utilized at present. Moreover, present day solutions may also be replaced in the near future, as new chemistries or forms emerge.
As the flame retardant industry matured, it faced newer challenges, including concerns regarding the impact of some flame-retardant compounds on the environment as well as human health. Some of these compounds have been banned or voluntarily phased out by manufacturers, in a bid to overcome this challenge. The flame retardant masterbatches market is expected to record ~170,500 kilo tons of sales in 2019. Flame retardant chemistry must be personalized to work in a particular polymer for a particular fire risk regulatory test, resulting in the creation of new flame retardant formulations to address these new tests. Similarly, new formulations with reduced environmental impact are expected to be commercialized in the near future.
Impact of Undercurrents on the Flame Retardant Masterbatches Market
Emerging Fire Risk Scenarios Caused by Flammable Materials
New fire risk scenarios are observed across distinct industries on account of the changing use of materials and products. Particularly in the building and construction industry, fire risks are driven by the use of plastic materials to replace older construction parts, where ease of installation remains a primary design driver over fire safety considerations. Moreover, as more humans move to suburban areas, there could be a rise in losses due to natural fires. Such scenarios are likely to generate growth opportunities for flame retardant masterbatches market players.
Shift towards Polymeric and Reactive Flame Retardants
The industry has witnessed a shift to reactive and polymeric flame retardants to further improve its environmental profile. Reactive flame retardants are molecules that have an active flame retardant chemistry present along with chemical groups that can react with the polymer to bond the flame retardant to the polymer covalently. This has resulted in a shift towards these retardants due to their unique characteristics. Polymeric flame retardants are also gaining traction as they are not easily bioaccumulated and do not easily migrate out of a polymer.
Highly Attractive Sales Opportunities from Automotive Industry
Improving technologies in the automotive industry are bolstering the involvement of electronic devices in automobiles. Increasing applicability of electrical and electronic gadgets fabricated with cables and wires in automobiles are creating potential fire risks. Flame retardant masterbatches are used in these systems to prevent such risks, thereby offering significant sales opportunities for flame retardant masterbatches market players.
Although the market is likely to witness substantial growth throughout the forecast period, health risks associated with the use of flame retardant masterbatches, including birth defects, infertility, reduced IQ, hormone disruptions, and cancer, are likely to impact the adoption of flame retardant masterbatches, thereby impeding market growth.
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Key Strategies in Flame Retardant Masterbatches Market
Establish New Manufacturing Facilities
Several manufacturers are involved in expanding their production capabilities of flame retardant masterbatches in a bid to meet the constantly rising demand. The establishment of newer manufacturing facilities helps companies maximize their market share and expand their consumer base.
Develop Specialty Masterbatch Products
As the demand for flame retardant masterbatches continues to grow across a number of end-use industries, manufacturers concentrate on developing specifically-designed flame retardant masterbatches that address the distinct heat endurance requirements of end users. With the development of specialty flame retardant masterbatches, manufacturers are able to meet both, performance requirements and regulatory standards.
Capitalize on Preference for Halogen-free Variants
Halogen-free flame retardant chemicals are attaining major acceptance among end users on account of their environment-friendliness and recommendations by key regulatory bodies. Regulations pertaining to the restriction on utilizing halogenated flame retardants, including chlorinated and brominated flame retardants, are encouraging various R&D activities to develop halogen-free and non-toxic flame retardant solutions that can resist heat with least impact on the environment. Such scenarios are compelling companies to concentrate their efforts towards these variants.
Assessment of the Competitive Landscape
Compounder Americhem Inc. recently announced the acquisition of India-based Prescient Color Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sudarshan Chemical Industries Ltd. This acquisition deal complements Americhem’s position in the global synthetic fiber market and expands its regional extent in a high growth geography.
BASF AG, after two years of extensive research, presented prototypes of its particle foam-based polyethersulfone (PESU), which the company claims to be the world’s first. The foam possesses unique characteristics such as inherent flame retardancy and high-temperature resistance. These characteristics it ideal for complex-shaped components in trains, airplanes, and cars that require superior mechanical properties, along with the ability to withstand high temperatures and to address stringent flame-retardant needs.