CLEVELAND - Independent compounders' demand for thermoplastics in the United States is projected to grow 4 percent annually from 1995-2000 when the market will exceed 6 billion pounds of resin content with a value of about $4.8 billion, according to a report from Freedonia Group Inc. of Cleveland. The large volume and diverse markets for PVC will provide the best opportunities in compounding, said William Weizer, Freedonia's vice president of plastics. PVC's low cost and many uses will provide positive growth, but the independents will continue to face competition from large resin producers focusing on downstream compounding for markets such as siding.
Engineered thermoplastics have opportunities to replace steel or aluminum. The plastics have comparable strength, are more easily maintained and cost less. Demand from motor vehicle and other markets for near-engineered grades will advance sales of polypropylene, although resin producers have a strong presence here, too.
Thermoplastic elastomers' flexibility, compressibility and energy-absorption characteristics will bring rapid growth for motor vehicle and consumer uses.
The study covers compounding done by 150 companies that are separate from, and legally unaffiliated with a resin producer.
Top five independents M.A. Hanna Co., A. Schulman Co., Ampacet Corp., Ferro Corp., and Kawasaki Steel Corp.'s LNP Engineering Plastics Inc. unit accounted for 26 percent of total 1995 compounding sales of $3.45 billion.
The 171-page study is priced at $3,200.
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