Thermoplastic elastamers or TPE are an important component for many industries, including engineering, roofing and even footwear. This material is used by millions of people on a daily basis and it is poised to become the material of choice for many companies.
As with any industry, worrying about supply and demand is an important factor. According to Transparency Market Research, not only does the outlook for continued supply look great, but demand is forecasted to explode through 2018. The 2011 figures show that 3.48 million metric tons of thermoplastic vulcanites were used. By the year 2018, it is estimated that 4.88 million tons will be used.
Another important component of TPE’s are styrenic block copolymers and they accounted for approximately 48% of all usage. These are the components used for roofing applications as well as other users like consumer footwear. Thermoplastic vulcanites are also expected to experience phenomenal growth, forecasted to be around 6.6 percent per year through the year 2018.
A big factor in this projected growth is due in a large part to the automotive industry. Currently, this industry relies heavily on polyvinyl chloride in the production of their products. However, these materials are costly and not produced as efficiently as TPE’s. This industry is expected to begin replacement of polyvinyl chloride over the next five years, and this will account for part of the large growth in this area.
The one downside to this forecasted growth is potential uncertainty over environmental standards and raw material availability. TPE is largely dependant on natural resources and if there are issues with the production of this natural material, supply may be affected. However, these factors were included in the growth forecasts. If standards remain the same and there are no issues with supply of natural materials, the growth rate could be even higher.
What does this steady growth mean for engineering candidates? It helps guarantee that the hiring market is going to remain just as strong and continuing in growth. If you are currently in school, and have a desire to get into engineering, whether in the personal electronics, medical engineering or mechanical engineering field.
It also spells success for companies who rely on thermoplastic elastomers for their products. As consumer demand grows, this market will continue to remain strong.
Do you have a question on the changing engineering marketplace? Let the experts at SoloPoint help you today!