CLEVELAND—A new study from The Freedonia Group predicts the market for liquid silicone rubber (LSR) is on pace to increase 8.3 percent annually through 2023, propelled in part by an expanding range of products and applications. The study, entitled “Liquid Silicone Rubber,” concludes that specialty LSR grades are primed for strong growth and anticipates sales increases in multiple LSR product categories.

One is high-transparency grades, which are increasingly specified for new high-power LED lighting technologies used in such applications as automotive headlights, and street and stadium lighting. Growth is also anticipated in other specialty grades, including self-lubricating, self-adhesive, and non-post-cure types that can improve processing efficiency by eliminating additional fabrication steps (such as post-curing or the application of coatings or binders).

Growth in these categories, and the LSR market overall, is expected to be strong going forward, as processors adopt LSR manufacturing capabilities and more complex molding techniques (including micromolding and 2-component molding), and as fabricators come to understand the performance advantages of using LSR.

Applications for LSR in the medical market are expected to outpace and eventually overtake all other applications, according to the study. The benefits of LSR, including enhanced purity and biocompatibility when compared to high consistency rubber silicone, is giving it a boost in this fast-growing market. Rising applications in this sector include implantable devices; wearables that can track blood pressure or heart rate; and new, smaller medical devices that favor more intricate designs and micro parts, as LSR is particularly suitable for forming high-precision molds.

For medical device fabricators, LSR also offers benefits like shorter cure times, higher durometers, lower flash, lower curing temperatures, and improved consistency and predictability between lots. The material is also well suited to automation, which can help limit contamination in cleanroom manufacturing applications.

As of 2018, the medical market still trailed the automotive industry as the leading market for LSR use. However, the Freedonia study expects that to change, estimating that medical end uses will eclipse automotive applications as the largest LSR market by 2023, and additionally outstrip smaller markets, such as consumer and baby care, electrical and electronic, and industrial.

The study can be found here: https://www.freedoniagroup.com/industry-study/liquid-silicone-rubber-3751.htm

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