Dimer acid–based (DAB) polyamide resins are either reactive or nonreactive. Reactive polyamides are utilized primarily as curing agents for epoxy resins used in surface coatings and adhesives. Nonreactive polyamides are used predominantly in hot-melt adhesives and printing inks.
World consumption of DAB polyamide resins will increase at an average annual rate of 3.4% during 2012–2017. Most of that growth will come from Asia Pacific. Because of the economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, consumption contracted significantly in the developed regions. However, there was some volume gain in 2010–2012, although not to prerecessionary levels, in the mature markets. Consumption in Asia increased at an average annual rate of approximately 7% during 2008–2012, driven primarily by demand in China and India.
The following pie charts show world consumption of both DAB polyamide resins and polyamide-epichlorohydrin (PAE) resins.
In the United States, an average annual growth rate of approximately 2% is expected during 2012–2017 for consumption of nonreactive polyamide resins used in printing inks. Hot-melt adhesives will also consume nonreactive polyamide resins at an average annual growth rate of approximately 2% per year during the same period. All other dimer acid–based markets, except epoxy-based adhesives (which are projected to grow on average at about 2% per year), are expected to grow at around 1–2% annually through 2017.
In Western Europe, consumption of nonreactive polyamides in printing inks is expected to grow by 1.5–2.0% per year. However, all other consumption markets will show little growth or remain flat except adhesives in shoe manufacturing, which are projected to decline by 4% annually through 2017, as shoe production continues its shift to Asia.
In Japan, consumption of DAB polyamide resins is expected to remain relatively unchanged, decreasing at an average annual rate of 0.2% through 2017. Most markets are mature and some are facing competition from other materials.
China was the major global consumer of DAB polyamide resins in 2012, consuming approximately 35% of the world total. The largest application for DAB polyamide resins was epoxy resin curing agents for coatings, accounting for 64% of the total consumption in China. Surface coatings and adhesives applications will drive China's consumption growth rate of 5.6% during 2012–2017.
Consumption of polyamide-epichlorohydrin (PAE) resins, used primarily for wet-strength applications by the paper industry, will grow modestly in the United States, Western Europe and most other mature markets. However, in China, Central and Eastern Europe, and other developing countries, consumption will grow at higher rates, ranging on an average annual basis from 3% to 8%. Increased use of facial and kitchen tissues and better wet-strength performance are key factors behind expected worldwide average annual growth rates of 2.0–2.5% in the next five years. China will lead this growth on an average percentage basis; however, the United States and Western Europe will still dominate consumption on a volume basis.
Total nonnylon-type polyamide resin consumption (combined DAB polyamide resins and PAE resins) is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of approximately 3.0% during 2012–2017, driven primarily by China. Markets for both dimer acid–based and polyamide-epichlorohydrin resins are considered mature in most regions.