Polymamides Steady Growth: Asia Drives Polyamide Markets

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Asia's booming textiles industry acts as a key driver for polyamides. The abrasion-resistant plastics fibres could see a steady three–percent growth, a new study indicates.

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(Picture: Public Domain Pictures (CC0))

Tear-resistant fibers, unbreakable components: Polyamides are among the most versatile plastics. Especially the types polyamide 6 and polyamide 66 are important. They vary in their chemical constitution. "In 2014, global revenues of 24.4 billion US$ were achieved with these two polyamide types", says Oliver Kutsch, CEO of the market research institute Ceresana. A new study by Ceresana expects sales growth for polyamides from 3.1% per year to around 31.2 billion US$ in 2022.

Synthetic fibers made of polyamide, coloquially called "nylon", are said to be very tear- and abrasion-resistant. They have a very high elasticity and shape stability. Polyamide 6 and polyamide 66 are mainly used for the production of textile and industrial filaments, e.g. continuous filaments as well as carpet and staple fibers. A smaller part of around 43% of polyamide production is processed for technical plastics. Polyamide 6 and polyamide 66 are used for many different applications - especially for unbreakable pieces and pieces that have to be abrasion-resistant.

As polyamides are also resistant to lubricants and fuels, they are often used in the transportation area for example for brake hoses, plug connectors, battery cases, oil sumps, switches and handles. Electrical applications and electronics are the second largest application area. For this segment, Ceresana expects the highest percentage growth of average rates of 4.3% per year until 2022.

The major part of total demand for polyamide accounts for the type polyamide 6, which is mainly used for textile and industrial filaments. This market is dominated by the Asia-Pacific region that reached a global demand of approx. 68% in 2014. Main reason for this: Asia converted nearly 1.5 billion tonnes of the light, well dyed polyamide 6 into fibers. With regard to the type polyamide 66, technical applications account for almost 56% of global demand - in Western Europe even 71%.