DUESSELDORF, Germany—Growth in the silicone elastomers market is typically running at a “solid” rate of more than 5 percent per year, according to Peter Summo, vice president engineering at Munich, Germany-based Wacker Chemie A.G.
In value terms, the global silicones market reached 11.5 billion euros, of which Wacker Silicones had a 17 percent share—as did joint-second biggest supplier Momentive—well behind the 35 percent held by market leader Dow Corning. Other main players are Shin-Etsu, with 11 percent of the market, and Bluestar, 7 percent.
In terms of volume terms, the market for silicone elastomers (also known as by Wacker rubber) in 2015 was around 770 kiloton—the lion's share of which was taken up by HTV high temperature curing silicone rubber, followed by RTV (from-temperature curing) and LSR (liquid silicone rubber)) variants.
Within the market for silicone elastomers, Summo said HTV silicones have largest share, but LSR and RTV silicone rubber shows strong growth potential, according to Summo.
The market, said the VP, is being driven partly by organic replacement due to more challenging requirements such as resistance to temperatures and aggressive media and light-weighting—turbocharger hoses.
Silicone elastomers are also meeting an increasing need for high precision parts via advances in LSR, two-component molding technologies.
Regulations are another driver, said Summo, citing for example the impact of Euro 6 standard (2015) on the market.
Silicone is also supporting the latest mobility trends: protecting collision avoidance systems and other electronic devices in self-driving cars. There are also a number of promising applications in smart lighting and advanced displays within vehicles.
The largest application areas are in: health care, for example medical tubing, seals and gaskets, masks or valves; automotive rubber parts or textile coatings; general goods, household, sports, fashion, construction or machinery parts; and energy, power transmission cable and insulating parts.