Elastomers used in the medical industry are known as medical elastomers. They are used in the applications where higher flexibility or elasticity is required. Medical grade elastomers are used to optimize the function of life sciences applications. The global medical elastomers market is registering a good growth, due to the increasing demand of medical devices across the globe. This can also be attributed to its use in the wide range of applications, including medical tubes, medical bags, patch adhesives, orthopedic gels, and others.
Insight by Type
Based on type, the medical elastomers market is segmented into thermoset and thermoplastic. Among these two, thermoplastic elastomers category held the larger share in the market and also expected to register the higher growth during the forecast period. Thermoplastic elastomers have been used in many applications areas owing to their high degree of purity, low level of extractable compounds, cost effectiveness, and recycling ability. They are also increasingly replacing latex and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) materials, as in some cases they can cause allergic reactions.
Additionally, thermoplastic elastomers alloys possess excellent barrier properties which are adequate for applications which require impermeable wrapping in medical applications including IV-infusion bags. All these factors are contributing to the medical elastomers market growth.
Insight by Application
On the basis of application, the medical elastomers market is categorized into medical tubes, catheters, syringes, gloves, medical bags, implants, and others. Of all these, medical tubes are anticipated to hold the largest share in the market, as it allows softening without plasticizers and helps in the PVC free production of medical tubes. The demand of medical tubes is increasing in the diagnosis and treatment of disease, resulting in the increase of medical elastomers market growth.
However, the implants application is projected to grow at the highest CAGR in the coming years, which is attributed to the increasing demand for prosthetic implants and orthopedic implants.
The major factors driving the medical elastomers market are the advancements in the thermoplastic elastomers processing industry, increasing demand of elastomers in the medical industry, growing awareness of high-quality healthcare facilities, and increasing demand of medical devices incorporating elastomers. Advancements in the thermoplastic elastomers processing industry are among the main factor driving the market growth. The manufacturers are developing selected grades to fulfill the requirements for medical compliance and also complying with the standards set by Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Standards (EU), and other regulatory bodies.
Significant investment for the product development is the major challenge identified in the medical elastomers market. Also, considering the sensitivity of the industry, various precautions, an extra care needs to be taken while developing new products, making it a time consuming process. Investors have to wait for a very long time in order to get the returns on their investments, which pull them back in investing in the market. All these factors are posing as a major challenge in the market growth.
The availability of multiple grades of elastomers in the medical elastomers market makes it a very competitive market, where manufacturers need to constantly invest in the market in order to attain the competitive edge by expanding their product portfolio, new product development, and others. Also, survival of new entrants is tough, as it is capital intensive market and also highly regulated.
Asia-Pacific is expected to lead the medical elastomers market in the coming years, due to the expanding medical industry in the region. The medical industry in countries such as China and India are rapidly growing, primarily due to growing population, which is increasing the demand of medical devices, equipment, and others in the region. According to export.gov, in 2016, the Chinese medical device industry registered a growth of 20.1% as compared to 2015. The growth was majorly fueled by the hospital procurements to meet the need of the growing population.
Key players in the medical elastomers industry are focusing on developing more advanced elastomers and are investing significantly in the market to attain the same. BASF SE, DowDuPoint Inc., Solvay SA, Royal DSM, Eastman Chemical Company, Celanese Corporation, Polyone Corporation, Trelleborg AB, Kuraray Co., Ltd., RTP Company, and Foster Corporation are some of the key players offering various elastomers to the medical industry.