Over the past 20 years, the high performance polymers (HPPs) industry has grown from $1 billion to over $7 billion. As overall global demand is increasing, the HPP space is filling out with new products and participants, leading to increasing competition, as per Principia.
Ken Jacobson, Partner at Principia, points out, “Shifting markets, new applications, globalization, changing alignment of key players in the market, and new technologies all combine to make the HPPs industry highly dynamic. HPPs comprise the top of the polymer pyramid, where these high value products typically outperform engineered thermoplastics, metals and ceramics with exceptional heat resistance, greater chemical and wear resistance, creep resistance, strength, stiffness and dimensional stability, among other critical properties. Examples of HPPs include fluoropolymers, high performance nylons, liquid crystal polymers (LCPs), polyimides, polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), and polysulfones. These polymers are used extensively in the most demanding markets including aerospace, automotive, chemical processing, oil and gas exploration and medical devices. Demand in automotive and electronics is growing based on a combination of overall industry growth and as part miniaturization creates higher heat environments, which increases material performance requirements. Many of the mainstay HPP suppliers remain a visible part of the competitive landscape, but the overall number of HPP suppliers has increased over the past several years while demand has been up moderately. Manufacturing expansions resulted in a capacity overhang in several product segments although the supply and demand balance is improving with market recovery and a rebound in global demand.