Masterbatches are solid or liquid mixtures of additive or pigments used for coloring or enhancing other properties of polymers such as UV stabilising, flame retardation, antistatic and antilocking. They are used in processes such as injection, blowing, spinning and so on.
Growing end user markets such as packaging, automobiles and healthcare are boosting the demand for masterbatches, as is increasing demand for plastics for construction and luxury goods packaging. The raw materials for masterbatch production include pigments, carrier, dispersant and some additives.
Among the end-user industries, packaging accounts for the largest share of the masterbatch market. Food and beverages manufacturers’ increasing interest in enhancing packaging colours is also driving demand for colour masterbatches.
The Masterbatch market can be classified into; additive, color, white and black.
Additive masterbatch is the fastest growing segment, with applications in customised plastic products in industries such as automotive, electronic appliances, textiles, pharmaceuticals packaging, and food and beverages packaging. Color masterbatch is used in the production of plastics for automobiles, electronic appliances, flexible packaging for food and beverages and medicine packaging. Black masterbatch is mainly used in the construction, automotive and electronic appliance industries.
Increasing the plastic content of vehicles reduces their weight and carbon emissions, and increases fuel efficiency. This is leading to the replacement of metal parts in the vehicles by plastic components. This is a growth opportunity for the masterbatch market. However, rising oil prices and stringent environmental controls related to the non-biodegradability of plastics are posing significant challenges.
The Asia Pacific was the largest market for masterbatches in 2013 due to high demand for plastics from the construction and automobile industries. Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East are expected to see high growth rates in the future.
The masterbatch market in Europe and North America is consolidated, whereas the masterbatch market in the Asia Pacific has a fragmented structure where China alone is home to about 500 masterbatch manufacturers. Because of a large number of mergers and acquisition, competition in the masterbatch industry is expected to reduce.
The major companies operating in global masterbatch market include; A. Schulman Inc., Ampacet Corporation, Clariant International Ltd., PolyOne Corporation, Tosaf Group, GABRIEL-CHEMIE GROUP, Ferro Corporation and Americhem, Inc.
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