Ellis said LSR is the fastest-growing among the four main silicones — high-consistency rubber and both types of room temperature vulcanizing compounds. HCR is projected to lose about 5 percent of the market, while LSR is projected to gain that same amount through to 2024.
"It's a unique process," Ellis said of LSR. "No other process uses this kind of liquid injection molding system. I believe there is room for other materials to use this process. Everything grows on everything else; nothing is new under the sun."
Yanmin Lee, president and CEO of Shenzhen Square Silicone Co. Ltd., said in a later presentation that China has become the fastest-growing single market in both production and consumption of LSR.
According to Lee, the market has grown to 30,000 tons in 2017, with domestic consumption accounting for anywhere from 25,000-28,000 tons — the remainder exported to other Asian countries, Europe or America.
"The consumer market of LSR is shifting from Western countries to emerging countries represented by China," he said. "As the world's factory, China turns more and more LSR into products and sells them to the global market."
However, this growth hasn't been without its bumps. The 2008 recession caused global LSR demand to shrink. And China's environmental protection directives in 2016 caused a shortage of siloxane, exposing the imbalance of supply and demand. Prices for siloxane soared by about 150 percent, according to Lee, causing LSR prices to increase by 50 percent through June 2018.
While China has plenty of growth potential, Lee said the country is still catching up on building brands for LSR products.
"This requires consistent innovation, closing the gap with advanced technology," he said. "Strengthening quality management, providing consistent quality and better customer service. And take responsibilities in environmental protection, production safety and occupational health."