A turnaround in construction activity, combined with the expanding use of adhesives and sealants in manufacturing and assembly, will underpin demand gains. Analyst Carolyn Zulandt found: “Adhesive bonding technologies will make further inroads in applications historically dominated by mechanical fasteners and other alternative joining systems.”
The report goes on to state that emulsion and dispersion adhesives and sealants will remain the leading product type. The ongoing displacement of solvent-based products is expected to support increases as end users strive to meet emissions regulations through the adoption of water-based and higher solids formulations. The fastest annual growth through 2019 is expected for reactive adhesives and sealants, driven by rising demand in major markets and trends favoring higher value materials. Silicone and polyurethane adhesives and sealants will post the most rapid gains among reactive types, supported by their superior performance characteristics.
Those statistics, however, are specific to the U.S. Globally, the overall consumption of formulated adhesives reached $29.4 billion in 2014. A study by consulting firm Kusumgar, Nerlfi & Growney, released earlier this year, found that the volume of formulated adhesives has increased “modestly” since the 2009 recession and forecast an annual growth rate of 5 percent through 2019.
According to the report, growth in Europe and North America is forecast at a mature 2 percent annual rate while the Asia-Pacific region, led by China, is forecast to expand at an 8 percent annual rate. China represented two-thirds of the formulated adhesive volume in the Asia-Pacific region in 2014 and 32 percent of the global share. Adhesive growth in China is moderating but a still robust 8 percent annual rate of increase is forecast through 2019. Japan is the second largest consumer in Asia-Pacific with 8 percent of the volume with growth forecast at only 1 percent/yr. India is third in the region with 6 percent of the volume but will surpass Japan by 2019 owing to its forecast double-digit rate of growth. Brazil is the leading consumer of adhesives in South and Central American countries accounting for over 60 percent of the region’s volume. A modest 5 percent annual rate of growth is forecast for Brazil and the region.
A Manufacturer’s Perspective
Henkel is a solutions provider for adhesives, sealants and functional coatings worldwide. The company has products in many industrial markets, including packaging and consumer goods, transportation and metal, durable goods, electronics and building. Holger Elfes, Henkel Adhesive Technologies, Media Relations, said that the company’s Adhesive Technologies business unit recorded positive organic sales growth in the second quarter.
“At 2,343 million euros, we once again achieved the highest-ever absolute level of quarterly sales. Adjusted operating profit increased in the high single-digit range. At 17.0 percent, adjusted return on sales was below the high level of the prior-year quarter,” he said.
“From a regional perspective, business performance was again successful in the emerging markets, with solid growth rates. The Africa/Middle East region achieved very strong growth. Growth of our businesses in Latin America was strong, and our business performance in the Asia (excluding Japan) region was positive. In the Eastern Europe region, we recorded positive sales performance, despite the ongoing difficult political situation in parts of the region.
“Sales performance in the mature markets was positive overall. Our businesses in the mature markets of the Asia-Pacific region posted very strong growth, and our sales performance in Western Europe was positive. In North America, however, sales were slightly lower year on year.”
In terms of segment growth, Elfes said that the company posted positive sales performance in the packaging and consumer goods business area.
“Through the acquisition of Novamelt GmbH based in Wehr, Germany, we further strengthened our position in pressure sensitive hotmelt adhesives,” he said. “Novamelt provides a comprehensive range of specialized pressure sensitive hotmelt adhesives which are used mainly in self-adhesive labels and adhesive tapes.”
The company’s transportation and metal business unit achieved the highest growth rate, Elfes said. Performance by the company’s acoustic solutions and structural adhesives for the automotive industry was once again particularly dynamic, he said, with “tailor-made product innovations for automotive engineering driving growth.”
Growth momentum was also noted in the maintenance, repair and overhaul business, as well as in electronics. Elfes said businesses in thermal management products for the electronics industry – which Henkel assumed with its acquisition of The Bergquist Company in 2014 – achieved double-digit sales growth.
Growth can sometimes be thwarted by rising raw material and energy costs, though Elfes said that Henkel’s Q2 report, released in August of this year, predicts stable prices for raw materials, packaging and purchased goods and services.
“The measures taken to reduce purchasing risks include active supplier portfolio management through our globally engaged, cross-divisional sourcing capability, together with strategies aimed at securing price and volume both through contracts and, where appropriate and possible, through financial hedging instruments.
“Furthermore, we work in interdisciplinary teams within Research and Development, Supply Chain Management and Purchasing on devising alternative formulations and packaging forms so as to be able to respond flexibly to unforeseen fluctuations in raw material prices. We also avoid becoming dependent on individual suppliers so as to better secure the constant supply of the goods and services that we require. Finally, close collaboration with our strategic suppliers plays an exceptionally important role in our risk management,” Elfes said.
Volitale Organic Compounds (VOCs) and other environmental regulations have affected the market for adhesives and sealants. According to Elfes, Henkel’s PUR hotmelts are becoming more and more popular with the furniture industry.
“Edgebanding using reactive polyurethane hotmelts has proved superior to other methods. The numerous technical and visual advantages of hotmelts – high, durable bond strength, resistance to moisture and heat, low application weight ensuring an ultra-thin bond line – make Technomelt PUR the preferred alternative to other methods on the market.
“Manufacturers of kitchen and bathroom cabinets in particular have recognized these advantages and are switching their manufacturing lines to PUR hotmelts. With Technomelt PUR 270/7 G, Henkel has developed an edgebanding adhesive that comes in granules and can therefore be processed immediately in existing production lines with standard melting pots,” he said.
Responding to the continuing demand for both white furniture fronts and eco-aware materials, the company has introduced white-colored adhesives and PUR ME hotmelts to its Technomelt PUR line. The suffix “ME” stands for Micro-Emission, and this product group has up to 90% less isocyanate emissions and is therefore exempt from hazard-labeling, Elfes said.
New Products, Technologies
Henkel has also recently launched Bonderite M-NT 20120, a next-generation conversion coating. This phosphate-free multimetal pretreatment technology effectively protects steel, zinc and aluminum surfaces against flash rust. Bonderite M-NT 20120 reduces process complexity and thus enables faster cycle times while cutting energy consumption and waste, Elfes said.
Henkel has also launched Loctite GC 10, an electrically conductive solder paste, which can be stored at room temperature and retains its application properties for a year – eliminating the previous need for expensive cooling during transport and storage.
H.B. Fuller is a supplier of adhesive coated technologies for the building and construction, automotive, paper converting, woodworking adhesive, tile and floor adhesive and other markets. For the woodworking adhesives market, the company offers its Sesame line of tapes, strings and hot melts. The company’s Sesame hot melt adhesive for on-site plywood composing features excellent bond for spot head welding joining between veneer sheets. It has been formulated, according to the company, for flexibility and to maximize wood yield.
For the paper converting market, H.B. Fuller offers both Sesame and Enforcer tapes. The Enforcer tape for handle reinforcement was designed to replace plastic handles by preventing handles from tearing and to prevent contents from breaking or spilling. They are available in multiple widths, tensile strengths and melt points.
Swiss company Sika AG has available to its customers a variety of anchoring and multipurpose adhesives, as well as waterproof sealers. Its two waterproof sealers are the Sikagard High Gloss Sealer and Natural Look Clear Sealer. Sikagard High Gloss Sealer is a water-based, acrylic concrete and masonry sealer. Sikagard Natural Look Sealer is a commercial grade water repellent sealer that penetrates an absorbent surface to form a seal against the elements, such as water and chlorides on concrete, masonry, mortar, brick and stone. This sealer penetrates the surface to form a seal against the elements such as water and chlorides, which can cause freeze thaw damage to the surface. According to the company, this product will not change the surface appearance and resists the growth of fungi and moss.
Tremco offers a variety of sealants, including silicone, hybrid polyurethane, urethane, specialty, impregnated expanding foam, and extruded silicone bridge joint. The company’s performance silicones are Spectrem, Proglaze and Tremsil, which are described as cost-effective sealing products for waterproofing the entire building envelope. Its Spectrem line has several offerings. Spectrem 1 is an ultra low-modulus, high-performance, one-part, moisture-curing silicone joint sealant. Spectrem 2 is a medium-module, one-part, high-performance, neutral-cure silicone sealant ideal or a variety of perimeter caulking and glazing applications. Spectrem 3 is a general-purpose, low-modulus, high-performance, one-part, neutral-cure, non-staining, low dirt pickup, construction-grade silicone sealant.
Spectrem 4-TS is a multi-component, neutral-curing, nonstaining, low dirt pickup, low-modulus silicone sealant specially formulated for use in dynamically moving building joints. Spectrem 800 is a low-modulus, high-performance, one-part, gun-grade silicone parking structure and highway joint sealant. Spectrem 900SL is a low-modulus, high-performance, one-part, gun-grade silicone parking structure and highway joint sealant.