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Feedstock price volatility to challenge growth of global medical composite market for orthopaedics

Feedstock price volatility to challenge growth of global medical composite market for orthopaedics

29-Sep-15

Medical composite materials refers to a compact product formed by mixing two or more components that offer greater performance compared to the individual components. Some of the major benefits of medical composite materials include high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent fatigue endurance, corrosion resistance, good impact resistance, and malleability. These materials can be easily manipulated to form complex designs, owing to their different biomechanical and biocompatible properties. Medical composite materials are used in the production of prosthetics and implants in the orthopaedic sector. The global medical composite material market can be segmented into three divisions based on type: Fiber composite, polymer metal composite, and polymer ceramic composite. Fiber composites are lighter and renders great external impact resistance, and thus is used in manufacturing various components such as prosthetics and implants.

Technavio analysts forecast the global medical composite material market for orthopaedics to grow at a CAGR of 7.23% during 2014-2019.
An analyst from Technavio's team says: "A new class of composite materials formed through nano technology is being used in the field of soft tissue implants. These nano fibers are used for various applications in the medical field. In addition, nano fibers have good durability and adhesive properties. Synthetic bioactive and bioresorbable composite materials are being used as scaffolds in tissue engineering. Nano fiber scaffold fabrication is cost effective and user-friendly. Nano fibers also help with problems relating to inadequate cell infiltration." According to the report, medical composite materials are being used in implantable medical devices. Composite materials help in biocompatibility and osteoconductivity. Biodegradable polymers are modified with a ceramic component to form implants. Carbon fiber/PEEK polymer composites are also being used to manufacture orthopedic implantable material as other materials can lead to osteolysis and implant loosening. Corrosion is the major cause implant failure. Volatility in raw material prices is one of the major challenges confronting the market. Key players in the market include Icotec, Polygon Composites, PolyOne, Quatro Composites and Toray.

The use of composites in orthopaedic industry is to reach US$596 mln by 2020, as per ABMRG. The US has highest consumption in terms of value and volume. Hip, knee and spine surgeries are the common orthopedic procedures in the developed world while in emerging economies they have a lower penetration. Composites in global orthopedic industry are expected to grow at an average rate of 8.1%. The US has highest consumption in terms of value and volume. Hip, knee and spine surgeries are the common orthopedic procedures in the developed world while in emerging economies they have a lower penetration. Increased number of product recalls and failure rates are challenging the use of composites. Non-metallic orthopedic devices have gained popularity in the industry as they offer reduced failures, light weight, and last longer than their metallic counterparts. Ageing population and rising living standards have enhanced the growth of the orthopedic industry. A reduction in curing time, along with an increase in performance of these devices, has necessitated the need for innovation for new materials. “The future market will be challenged by emerging materials, technologies, applications, and procedures. Strong learning curve and experience of the metallic substitutes also challenge the growth of composites in the orthopedic industry,” said ABMRG analyst Purva Jain.

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