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Report projects growth for styrenics in medical applications at expense of PVC

Although PVC remains the polymer of choice in medical applications, with approximately 40% market share, widely publicized (and some might say overblown) health concerns involving some plasticizers used in PVC along with environmental issues have buoyed the fortunes of alternative materials. That is cited as one of the factors driving growth in the styrenic polymers market for medical applications by Transparency Market Research. A market report from the company projects a compound annual growth rate of 7.5% for the material in the medical sector through 2020.

PlasticsToday Staff

October 2, 2015

1 Min Read
Report projects growth for styrenics in medical applications at expense of PVC

Valued at $2.08 billion in 2013, styrenic polymers are expected to reach $3.29 billion in medtech applications by 2020, according to the market research firm. The material is used in applications ranging from the manufacture of medical devices to pharmaceutical packaging.

The report segments the styrenic polymers market into polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), methyl - methacrylate butadiene styrene (MBS), methyl - methacrylate acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (MABS), styrene methyl - methacrylate (SMMA), styrene butadiene styrene (SBS) and styrene ethylene butylene styrene (SEBS), among other product types. The only commodity thermoplastic material within that group, PS holds the largest market share in medical applications. SEBS and SBS typically are used to manufacture medical components, bags and tubes.

Available in rigid and flexible formulations, styrenic polymers offer chemical inertness, bonding properties, and physical and aesthetic attributes that are in demand by medical device OEMs. However, styrenics are more expensive than PVC and polyethylene, which has restrained its adoption, according to the report. This may change as technological advances lower the cost of production, says Transparency Market Research, which projects an uptick in high-volume R&D in North America and Asia/Pacific that will result in a more cost-competitive material.

Currently, North America has the largest share of styrenics used in medical applications—almost 40% in 2013—but the Asia/Pacific region is forecast to record the highest rate of growth into 2020.

The global styrenic polymers market for medical applications is moderately concentrated in nature, according to Transparency Market Research. It cites Styrolution Group GmbH, Sabic, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., Chi Mei Corp., LG Chem Ltd. and Kraton Polymers as being among the major companies operating in this market.

The report is available for purchase on the Transparency Market Research website.

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