Pressure-sensitive adhesives: AWA profiles a growing technology base

Pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) are at the heart of a wide variety of applications and industries today, thanks to their efficacy and, in combination with a release liner, their user-friendliness.

New market research from AWA Alexander Watson Associates – in the second edition of the AWA Global Pressure-sensitive Adhesives Market Study 2016 – explores the current profile of this high-volume industry, and provides in-depth forecasts to 2020 for the prime market segments and manufacturing technologies.

PSAs around the world

Taking into account the exceptional growth in technology and in the demographics of the Asian countries, it is hardly surprising that, today, Asia represents 42 per cent of global PSA demand; and AWA forecasts continuing growth in the region at a CAGR of 8.4 per cent to 2020. The small but increasingly vibrant market in Africa and the Middle East also offers real growth over the next few years, at 4.4 per cent. The long-established North American and European markets will also grow – but at more modest rates, and recent economic volatility in South America has slowed their previously dynamic growth prospects.

Adhesive technologies

The study shows that UV-curable hot melt adhesives are currently showing the greatest growth potential – but from a low base. Water-based – emulsion – PSAs command the highest market share today, and are forecast to continue to enjoy a 6.7 per cent CAGR to 2020, thanks to their high performance and low cost. The doyens of high performance, solvent-based PSAs, will continue to enjoy growth in appropriate applications – although there are significant safety issues involving the use of solvents, and costs are high.

End uses – partnering innovation

It is particularly interesting to note that the end-use markets for PSAs reflect real-life technology innovations. The medical market – for such uses as wound care, surgical incision films and tapes, and for wearable devices for stoma care and electrode terminals – currently represents only two per cent of current demand, but is forecast to grow to 2020 at a very healthy 7.7 per cent. Hygiene applications will also enjoy healthy growth in line with changing global demographics. It is, however, the tapes market, where PSAs today perform expert tasks in nearly every advanced industry – particularly in terms of mechanical fastener replacement – that we see the highest global demand, currently 62 per cent of the total; and the market is predicted, will continue to enjoy very healthy annual growth. The long-established markets for pressure-sensitive labelstocks and graphic films will also grow, say AWA, but at much lower percentages.

All-round industry portrait

Complete with in-depth profiles of major players in the market today, AWA Global Pressure-sensitive Adhesives Market Study 2016 represents a valuable information source for all working in the many markets where PSAs are currently in use, as well as for potential industry entrants and investors. Full details are available via the AWA website, where it is also possible to order the report online.