Increasing awareness of energy crisis leading to increasing demand for energy efficient structures coupled with incentives and government regulations to promote energy efficient structures are the major factors driving demand for isocyanates market. Increasing demand for spray polyurethane foam is expected to drive demand for methylene diphenyl isocyanate and toluene di-isocyanate.
Further, factors driving the growth of the isocyanate market include high demand from current & emerging applications, demand from emerging economies, and advancement in technology. Construction and automotive industry, a major end-user industry of isocyanate, is flourishing which is expected to increase the demand for isocyanate and its derivatives such as adhesives, sealants, rigid foams and coatings.
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Organic compounds that contain an isocyanate group are referred to as isocyanates. Isocyanate is the functional group with the formula R–N=C=O. An isocyanate that has two isocyanate groups is known as a di-isocyanate and those with multiple isocyanate groups are known as polisocyanates. Polyisocyanate contain multiple isocyanate groups and are derived from di-isocyanates. HDI biuret and HDI isocyanurate are among major types of polyisocyanate. If a di-isocyanate is treated with a compound containing two or more hydroxyl groups, such as a diol or a polyol, the polymer chains are formed, which are known as polyurethanes. Isocyanates are manufactured by reaction of amines and phosgene and react with water to form carbon dioxide.
The global isocyanates market can be classified on the basis of types of isocyanates and applications of isocyanates. On the basis of types of isocyanates the market can be segmented into methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), aliphatic isocyanate, toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and others (including HDI isocyanurate and HDI biuret). Among the types of isocyanates, methylene diphenyl diisocyanate and toluene diisocyanate are the dominant types of isocyanate. Based on the applications of isocyanate, the global isocyanates market can be divided into rigid foam, flexible foam, paints and coatings, sealants and adhesives, elastomers and binders, and others.
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Suppliers and manufacturers involved in infrastructure applications are expected to be highly benefited from consumer markets, as the boom in these sectors in emerging economies will increase the demand for products based on it. Therefore, consumer markets, including equipment and electronics, automotive and construction, in the emerging economies are expected to provide enormous opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers in the future.
The major hindrances in the growth of isocyanates market are higher raw material cost and huge investments required in research and development (R&D) and technology. Owing to the rising feedstock costs, the major challenge in the isocyanate market is its increasing prices. As the major feedstock for isocyanate is derived from crude oil (in the production of certain isocyanates such as toluene diisocyanate), the volatility in crude oil price has affected the price of raw materials.
The global isocyanates market is consolidated and dominated by few major players. Asia-Pacific dominates the global isocyanates market due to high usage of isocyanate in various end-user industries such as construction, electronics and automotive.. Europe is the second largest market for isocyanates, Asia-Pacific, especially China has traditionally been the largest producer and exporter of polyurethane materials, owing to availability of cheap labour, raw materials and local government support.
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