Published July 2014
Melamine is used almost exclusively in the manufacture of melamine-based thermosetting resins, except in certain fire-retardant formulations, where melamine crystal is utilized. The other important, but significantly smaller, use is in the production of flame retardants, especially for polyurethane foams. The high nitrogen content of both the resin and the crystalline monomer is the key desirable property that allows for the frequent use of melamine in flame-retardant formulations.
Advantages of melamine resin include
- Abrasion resistance, hardness and waterproofing
- Resistance to chemical, physical and thermal degradation
- Ability to be combined with other chemicals to improve melamine resins’ handling and molding properties
- Higher nitrogen content, which provides fire retardant properties
Overall economic performance will continue to be the best indicator of future demand for melamine. Demand in most downstream markets is greatly influenced by general economic conditions. As a result, demand largely follows the patterns of the leading world economies. The major end-use markets include construction/remodeling, automotive production and original equipment manufacture.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of melamine:
China is the largest single participant in the melamine market, accounting for half of world consumption in 2013; it also accounted for 69%, 62%, and 39% of world capacity, production, and exports, respectively, in 2013. This trend is expected to continue during 2013–2018, as strong growth in Chinese consumption will result in additional capacity and increased production. China is forecast to experience the fastest growth rates and volume increases in melamine consumption during the period (about 6% average annual growth). Domestic consumption will continue to be driven by the real estate market. Melamine consumption in wood panels and laminates (in floors and furniture) will increase for local demand and exports.
As a region, Europe is the second-largest melamine market, accounting for nearly 25% of world consumption in 2013. During 2013–2018, melamine consumption in Europe is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 2%. Annual growth in Central and Eastern Europe is expected to be 3–4%, largely the result of increased production of laminates and wood adhesives. However, growth in this region may be limited by ongoing European economic conditions as well as political issues. Consumption growth in Western Europe is forecast at a more modest rate of 1–2% per year during 2013–2018. Different countries in Western Europe are expected to experience different growth rates; for example, some areas such as Germany are forecast to have better growth than other countries where slow economic recovery will affect the construction market.
Other Asian countries (excluding Japan) are expected to show good consumption growth during 2013–2018, at an average annual rate of 4%. India is the main country in this region that consumes melamine and will have strong melamine demand in the residential market. Other major melamine consuming countries include Malaysia and Indonesia, which will have slightly less growth than India, but will continue to use melamine for wood panels and subsequent exports.
The United States accounts for only about 4–5% of global melamine consumption. Demand will grow modestly at about 2% per year, driven by strong residential construction markets, as well as some growth in automobile production.
During the next few years, global melamine consumption will grow at a rate of about 4% per year, driven by China’s growth and increases in other regions such as other Asian countries (not including Japan), Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.