The industry assembles in Hanover, Germany, October 16-18 to look at where market and consumer demands are shifting.
Here’s a quick take on where industry minds are focused, plus comments from Natural Foams’ director Jeff Rowlands on opening up markets and pushing technical boundaries for biobased foams:
- The polyurethane foam market is predicted to be worth $74 billion by 2021 growing by 8.4% between 2016 and 2021.
- Changing regulation and more focus on environmental impact and energy efficiency is driving demand for use-specific foams.
- Demand for spray foam is expected to surge, buoyed by the construction industry in particular finding new sustainable ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings.
- Consumers’ environmental concerns and price volatility for essential raw materials have tilted foam manufacturers even further towards producing foams made with bio-based materials. This is a welcome development for Natural Foams Technology and the clean bio-foam formulas it offers to meet these demands.
Jeff Rowlands, director at Natural Foams Technology, told conference organizers that the mix of bio and petrochemical provides both challenges and opportunities.
“The combination has brought a new chemistry – a new keyboard, if you like, for technologists to play with. Most of the new crossover systems push open the boundaries of existing petrochemical-based foams,” he said.
“These new foams are easier to process, are more easily made flame resistant and adapt more easily to new techniques, which lower chemical emissions in cars and people’s houses.”
Where’s the growth
The European Union’s Action Plan 2020 and similar directives will challenge the region to find solutions that lower greenhouse gas emissions. This will continue to drive up foam use in the construction industry as it meets energy efficiency measures for new buildings.
Grand Rapids Research sees strong growth in the furniture and auto sectors driven by higher demand for memory foam mattresses and the use of more flexible foam in adding safety and comfort in auto design.
You can find the full conference roster here. Read a round up of industry changes and sector forecasts below.