About extrusion machine: The next trillion dollar market for lightweight materials, EPP materials market demand continues to grow
Extrusion machine ：Expanded polypropylene (EPP) is a superior performance anti-buffering and heat insulation material, with non-toxic environmental protection, high strength, good toughness, good insulation effect and other advantages, the current application range is more extensive, in the automotive, construction, home appliances, packaging and other fields are widely used, the market demand is high.
01 What is EPP material?
As a green insulation material, EPP is in high demand in the manufacture of takeaway boxes; in addition to this, EPP is in high demand in automotive applications due to its non-toxicity, oil resistance, heat resistance and shock resistance, and can be used in bumper bars, sun visors, steering wheels, safety seats and other areas, making it an important material in the automotive industry.
Depending on the EPP foaming process, EPP can be divided into co-blended EPP, cross-linked EPP and high-solution EPP, of which high-solution EPP (HMSPP) is the mainstream production process due to its simple process and high operability.
The production of EPP has high technical barriers, and currently there are few domestic enterprises that can produce EPP. The domestic production scale is about 45,000 tons/year, and the representative production enterprises are Shanghai Zhongtong, Wuxi Huitong and Suzhou Delong. In the world, the production capacity of EPP is about 160,000 tonnes/year, of which JSP is the leading company.
However, in March 2021, JSP Corporation, the world’s largest EPP raw material supplier, withdrew its Chongqing plant in China and reduced its production capacity due to the adverse impact of the downstream application market; in September 2022, Hanhua Group, the largest EPP raw material supplier in South Korea, also announced its withdrawal from all EPP-related operations in China.
02 EPP materials have a wide scope of application
As a green and environmentally friendly foam material, EPP is currently mainly used in packaging, toys and automobiles, with a high demand for automotive applications.
In recent years, as the production and sales of automobiles have continued to rise, the demand for EPP applications has grown and the industry has been developing rapidly. In terms of production, due to the high technical threshold of EPP production, there are currently fewer production enterprises and the market is more concentrated. Overall, although EPP has a wide range of applications, the market space is limited, and the market is more concentrated, so there is limited room for future industry development.
EPP automotive parts in the same energy-absorbing results to reach the environment weight than polyurethane foam lighter than 40%-50%, while the core of the car bumper, side shields, knee guards, seat skeleton and so on are usually required to have good energy absorption and resistance to blow, but also will require a light weight of the core. This makes polypropylene foam an alternative to polyurethane foam in the automotive energy-absorbing cushioning platform.
In addition to its light weight, polypropylene foam is more beneficial than polyethylene and polystyrene foam for platforms that require higher operating temperatures, such as sun visors, instrument insulating panels and areas where the temperature between the doors is likely to rise.
But in addition to energy and heat-absorbing platforms polypropylene foam also has good thermal weldability, which has led to a large number of applications for polypropylene foam in carports, doors, car roofs, carpet support materials, sound insulation panels, door linings and luggage racks.
Its good thermal processing properties have also led to a large number of applications in components such as master boxes and shock absorbers. In addition, polypropylene foam can also be used in the production of steering wheels, inner door panels, energy-absorbing guards, cushioning pads, headrests, object boxes, cushions, instrument panels, etc.
Because polypropylene foam is more easily degradable than polystyrene foam, polyurethane foam and polyethylene foam, it is easier to replace the rest of the materials with polypropylene foam because of the increased awareness of global governments about environmental protection.
It is foreseeable that with the development of polypropylene foam there will be more developments in its application in automobiles.
03 EPP is being used on a wider and wider platform
IT products, electronic communication equipment, liquid crystal displays, plasma colour TVs, precision electronic components, precision instruments and meters are all beginning to accept EPP as a packaging material in large numbers.
Another particularly intense application platform is the large number of applications in the automotive industry: car bumpers, car side shockproof cores, car door shockproof cores, senior safety car seats, child safety seats, trunks, armrests, floor pads, sun visors, dashboards, etc. (according to statistical data: at present, each car balances with 100-130kg of plastic using about 4-6kg of EPP plastic).
In addition EPP is also a good material for making aviation moulds but the cost is also a limitation, moulds EPP aviation moulds an intense reason.
Epp material performance to support its use in all walks of life, but the cost is limiting the growth of its share of use, so the current use are in some of the more demanding industries, for more extensive use can only wait for epp material production technology to further enhance and reduce costs after the realization.
Epp materials can be changed in different ways to meet the needs of various industries. The problem may be the relatively high cost, which limits its widespread use, but with the continuous improvement of technology, it is believed that EPP materials will be used in more industries, which will have a great effect on environmental protection and product application.