Polycaprolactone, a biodegradable polymer, is gaining widespread traction considering its value-adding properties including high flexibility, hydrophobic nature, molecular weight distribution, and low viscosity. Moreover, deepening production of thermoplastic
Polyurethane, Polyurethane (PU), and Polyols would also contribute the increased consumption of polycaprolactone. Thermoplastic polyurethane would remain the largest category with close to 45% share of the polycaprolactone market. A study by Persistence Market Research projects the polycaprolactone market to exhibit a promising 10.5% CAGR and stand at a market valuation of US$ 670,682.4 Mn by 2026.
Over the forecast period of 2018-2026, the study also indicates that the polycaprolactone market would represent an appreciable step-up in the growth trajectory, considering its increased consumption in niche healthcare applications such as drug delivery, tissue engineering, orthopedic, sutures, wound healing products, and dental implants. Cost-effective product formulations with increased efficacy is the key reason fueling the adoption of polycaprolactone.
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Thermo polyurethane (TPU) is projected to be in high demand in various end-use automotive, leather, paints and coating, packaging, and construction. Polycaprolactone based thermo polyurethane is used in varying applications such as organic colorants, thermo-autotype inks, adhesion agents, solvent-free adhesives and paints, thermal fusion tackifiers, surface and fabric coatings, casting thermoplastics, hot melt adhesives, and in high performance microcellular foam materials. This widespread adoption of polycaprolactone TPU can mainly be attributed to superior physical properties including better hydrophobic characteristics, resistance to oil and grease, and enhanced adhesion features.
Although, polycaprolactone and its copolymers have been approved by FDA for a number of medical applications especially drug delivery, its slow degradation rate and modest load bearing properties has impelled the medical community to consider bio-resorbable polymers such as polyglycolides and polylactides, for drug delivery devices. However, increasing demand from the drug delivery community has created opportunities for polycaprolactone manufacturers to take responsibility for focused research to enhance the mechanical properties of polycaprolactone and reduce its biodegradation time, without creating a price pressure. Additionally, higher-up, more advanced properties of polycaprolactone filament are projected to drive its demand in 3D printing technology and develop custom orthopedic implants and prosthetics along with automobile spare parts and components production.
However, rising demand for recycling and waste generation of conventional plastics is projected to be a key factor impelling industries to use more economically priced alternatives to polycaprolactone such as Polylactide (PLA), Polyhydroxyalkanotes (PHA), Polybutylene Succinate (PBS), and Polybuate Adipic Terephthalate (PBAT). A paradigm shift to biodegradable plastics will open up new market avenues for higher commercial usage of PLA, which accounts for approximately 40% of the global bio plastics market. Another key factor that could decimate the polycaprolactone market is the volatile prices of petroleum feedstock, resulting in less profit margins.
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Geographically, India and China being major consumers of polycaprolactone in Asia Pacific, are projected to account for more than 51,050 Metric Tons of polycaprolactone in 2021, in textile, footwear, and automotive industries—creating more production opportunities in these regions. Europe and North America are also anticipated to represent significant growth opportunities in the coming years, considering heavy concentration of polycaprolactone manufactures here. Polycaprolactone manufacturers are capitalizing on advancing technologies and increased efforts from the research centers, to innovative new forms and launch new grades into their product portfolio to gain maximum regional share. Key players in the market are focusing on adopting alternative distribution channels, such as the online channel, to further strengthen their market presence in regional and global market space.