Monday, 22 January 2018

Structural Foams to Affect Construction Sector

Structural foams are thermoplastics produced primarily with the help of injection molding technique. They are lighter in weight and possess better weight to strength ratio compared to other plastics. Materials used for production of these foams are polyurethane (PU), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), and polyethylene (PE). Due to characteristics of durability, heat resistance, and strength, it has found applications in construction, manufacture of automotive components, electrical components, wind turbines, and others. An instance includes structural foams by Aramcell International S.A., which are considered ideal for low-weight components such as wind turbine blades.

Innovations in Structural Foams

Customization of components or parts due to consumer demand has encouraged 20/20 Custom Molded Plastics Limited to use multi-nozzle injection control technology. The technology saves production cycle time and limits the number of molds to prevent scraps. In addition, industrial robots are integrated into the production process to save on labor costs.

The construction industry is increasingly relying on these plastics to conserve environmental resources like wood. For instance, Nomaco’s structural foam-based composites have high resistance and low weight and possess the potential to be used in marine and transportation sectors.

3D printing technology is also gaining traction due to its user-friendly, direct-ink-write features. It can be a viable replacement for foams created by conventional methods.

Market Insights

The global structural foam market is projected to exceed a valuation of USD 42 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc. Increasing demand from automotive, material handling, and electronic and electrical sectors is expected to drive market volume from 2014 to 2025, the forecast period. Furthermore, demand for lightweight materials in light of stringent environmental policies is predicted to spur global demand. On the down side, fluctuating prices of raw materials as well as concerns regarding disposal of structural foams can impede market growth.

Prominent market players include Covestro AG, The Dow Chemical Company, Diab International AB, and SABIC.

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