PU ADHESIVES & SEALANTS FOR AUTOMOTIVE  - CHINA & THAILAND

By MM

Adhesives & sealants are products where polyurethane has been successfully used since decades, and will certainly be used for the next decades to come. I this sector, an import role is played by one-component moisture curing PU (1CPU).

The importance of polyurethane is based on its properties to be flexible and strong at the same time, to present a perfect adhesion on many substrates, good weather resistance, good tensile strength, and to be able to give structural characteristics to any bonding system.

This is why 1CPU applications in automotive, construction and industry are constantly growing in spite of the presence on the market of many other (cheaper) products.

In this article we will try to present a synthetic market landscape, and future trends, of 1CPU adhesive sealants in China and Thailand, specifically for Automotive and Construction applications.

 

AUTOMOTIVE

In China the primary consumption of PU adhesives & sealants is in the automotive applications, car manufacturing, car body repair, car glass, bus and coach, structural adhesives, with an estimated local consumption around 150.000 t/y.  The local producers of PU have been experiencing a very good growth for the last 10 years. However, in spite of that, they still can’t full fill the Chinese growing demand of the automotive PU. Therefore, a large portion of PU adhesives sealants is still imported.

In China 1CPU adhesives and sealants manufacturing enterprises mostly purchase raw material in the local market and today discount price is offered as for the isocyanates and polyol products (main raw materials). PU adhesives and sealants applied in auto windshield are directly supplied to the automobile factories, thus the automobile manufacturers occupy large and stable consumption of adhesives and sealants. The remaining volumes are supplied to the after-market networks, in particularly car repair, and other industrial applications. 

In China the experienced growth is currently more than 15% per year and will remain high for the next years to come. In fact one-component moisture curing PU windshield sealant is still the ideal adhesive and it is nearly 100% used for direct glazing and direct bonding, both for new car manufacturing and car repair. In China the current estimated production of car is about 25 million units per year, and direct glazing is always done by using PU. Moreover, every year 2% of the cars on the road suffer an accident that requires the substitution of the windshield. Those numbers can give the feeling of the market volumes and future potentials.

Also in Thailand, similarly to China, the primary consumption of one component PU adhesives & sealants is in automotive applications, car manufacturing, car body repair, car glass, bus and coach, structural adhesives, with an estimated local consumption around 15.000 t/y. In Thailand there are no important local producers of 1CPU adhesives, and therefore almost all the PU products used in local car manufacturing and local car repair are imported from Europe. This is also because there is still little availability of locally produced PU raw materials (MDI, IPDI, polyols for flexible polyurethane). Although Thai PU market is small and thus dominated by international players, however, in the near future, with an annual estimated growth of 20%, the PU consumptions will be significantly larger than today, and it may become interesting investing in this sector, with the target to export also in all Southeast Asia countries where local production of PU is also close to zero.

CONSTRUCTION

Construction is the second important area in China where 1CPU is used, mainly flexible joints sealing and bonding, with an estimated volume around 95.000 t/y. This volume, although not irrelevant, it is very small if compared to the incredible overall volumes of construction sealants in China.  The reason is because in China the vast majority of applications are dominated by the cheaper silicones, produced in China by hundreds and hundreds of manufactures, and now also by some hybrids and MS polymers, all cheaper solutions. However, in spite of that, the local growth of PU construction joint sealants and flexible adhesives is still very good, estimated around 6 – 8 % year, because PU still presents unbeatable performances, such as mechanical resistance, weather resistance, tensile strength,  adhesion, low modulus, non sagging, compared to other sealants typologies.   In China PU adhesives and sealants manufacturing enterprises mostly purchase locally all the raw materials and they are nowadays very competitive comparing with all the imported products.  

In Thailand the quantity of 1CPU used for sealing and bonding in Construction applications is still very little, with an estimated volume around 8.000 t/y. Main applications are: mass rapid transit (MRT), skyline (BTS), luxury condominiums. Estimated growth around 5% year. In Thailand there is almost no production of PU sealants and what is used is imported from China and Europe. Therefore, this sector of the PU market is dominated by international players.