According to the study “Asia Colored Polyurethane (PU) Foams Industry Situation and Prospects Research report”, all variants of coloured polyurethane foams are used in numerous industries such as furniture, interiors, construction, electronic appliances, automotive, footwear, packaging, sports and leisure apparel among others. Furniture and interiors account for a largest market share followed by construction industry in Asia’s coloured polyurethane foams market. The increasing demand for coloured polyurethane foams in electronics appliances and automobile market is expected to continue increasing over the next few years. The automobile industry uses coloured polyurethane foams for cushion seats, head rests and cushioned panels.
Reacting di-isocynate with a polyol in the presence of a catalyst and additives gives polyurethane (PU). Blowing agents are used in the process of polyurethane manufacturing to open up cells resulting in lightweight polyurethane foams. Surfactants are used in the process to stabilize and retain the shape of the polyurethane foam. Few of the polyurethane foams are then treated with colour paste, pigments and dispersions to make coloured PU foams. These polyurethane foams are resilient, comfortable, flexible, lightweight, fatigue resistance, durability, offer design freedom and aesthetics. All variants of polyurethane foams are chemically stable, versatile, offer more thermal resistance in insulations, better moisture resistance, long life, accurate, high-performance insulation, and making it the most suitable in the refrigeration segment.
Coloured polyurethane foams are classified into flexible and rigid; based on based on cell structure. Flexible coloured polyurethane foams have open cell structures and are used as polyurethane foams. These foams account for a larger share in the Asian market because they offer support, comfort, resilience and aesthetics. There are used in upholstery furniture, bedding, packaging and automotive accessories. Rigid coloured polyurethane foams are closed cells polyurethane foams which offer energy efficiency, high performance, versatility and thermal resistance. These are used in construction, electronics appliances, as insulating material in wall insulation, floor insulation, refrigerators and chillers. Flexible polyurethane foams are used in providing thermal insulation, easy carpet maintenance, and are recyclable. The increasing demand for luxury furniture, bedding, and pillow top mattresses are expected to drive the market for flexible coloured polyurethane foams market in Asia.
The leading players in coloured polyurethane foams market in Asia are Rogers Corporation, Recticel S.A., Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, Huntsman Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, BASF SE, Stepan Company, Bayer MaterialScience AG, Carpenter Company and INOAC Corporation. It was observed that there are numerous large and small vendors in Asia’s polyurethane coloured foams market which makes it extremely competitive. Vendors in the coloured polyurethane foams market are investing massively in R&D to promote bio-based polyurethane foams. Geographically, the coloured polyurethane foams market in Asia is spread across India, China, Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia and other regions.
The introduction of bio-based coloured polyurethane foams is expected to open opportunities for the growth of the market over the next few years. Bio-based polyurethane coloured foams are gaining popularity in Asia and are preferred over fiberglass and stone wool for insulation purposes. Increase in consumption of bio-based polyurethane coloured foams is due to urbanization and industrialization which is coupled with the requirement for energy-efficient buildings for insulation purposes.
Industrialization and urbanization is driving the coloured polyurethane foams market in Asia over the past few years and will continue over the next few years. However, stringent environmental regulations and volatility in the raw material prices are likely to hinder growth in coloured polyurethane foams market in Asia.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications