The key raw materials required for the production of bisphenol A (BPA) include acetones and phenols that are primarily used to produce polycarbonates and epoxy resins. The key end-user industries for BPA include automobile, construction, can manufacturing, electrical and electronics etc. BPA is commercially available as polycarbonate plastics, epoxy resins, flame retardants, polyacrylate and polysulfone resins. Based on physical and chemical properties, BPA can be used in different applications such as protective lining, automobile components, adhesives, PCB laminates and dental sealants and composites.
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The revenue generated by the global BPA market was valued at USD 13.1 billion in 2012 which is expected to grow to USD 18.8 billion by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 5.4% from 2013 to 2019. Polycarbonates and epoxy resins accounted for the largest share of the BPA market in terms of both volume and revenue. Polyetherimide, flame retardants, polyacrylate and polysulfone resins are among the other key product types used in the market.
With over 70% shares in total volume consumption, polycarbonates accounted for the largest chunk of bisphenol A consumed in 2012. Polycarbonates are extensively used in water bottles, baby bottles, sports equipment, electrical and electronic equipment, and food and drink containers among others. Moreover, increasing demand from medical and dental equipment and dental sealants and composites is expected to exhibit strong demand for polycarbonates in the coming years. Automobiles and food and drink application dominates the global BPA consumption and the positive growth in this industry across the globe is driving the global BPA market. Electronic and sports equipment application segment is one of the fastest growing end-user industry in the BPA market.
Epoxy resins containing BPA are used for making paints, adhesives, variety of protective coatings, and electrical laminates for printed circuit boards (PCBs). Cured epoxy resin is used to provide protective liners on the inside of cans that are used for packing foods and beverages to maintain the quality of the food. Because of a combination of desirable properties such as toughness, chemical resistance and adhesion, BPA is also used to provide protective coatings.
Asia Pacific dominated the global bisphenol A market, accounting for over 50% share of the total volume consumed in 2012. Asia Pacific represents the largest and the most important market for the BPA industry. BPA market was mainly driven by emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil. The BPA market witnessed significant decline in demand due to the global economic downturn during 2008 and 2009. However, it has witnessed steady rise in demand since 2010 due to an uptrend in the enduser industries following the revival of the global economy.
Volatile crude oil prices have remained a major concern for the manufacturers of BPA. Automotive components made out of polycarbonate plastics have replaced many components made of glass and metal in automobiles. This has helped in bringing down the weight of the automotives. But there are certain factors that are holding back the use of polycarbonate which are its high cost as compared to glass and poor scratch resistance. Because of these factors it has still not been able to replace windshields, sun/moon roofs, and windows in automobiles which are still manufactured using glass.
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Some of the major players operating in global bisphenol A include Bayer MaterialScience, SABIC Innovative Plastics, and Momentive Specialty Chemicals Inc., Dow Chemicals, Nan Ya Plastics and Mitsui Chemicals.