Elastomer Products & Future of Elastomer | KEP

The Elastomer Industry in 2022 & Beyond

Throughout the first two decades of the twenty-first century, the rubber industry underwent massive changes and experienced incredible innovation. As the elastomer market enters its next chapter, global initiatives and new regulations are expected to drive exciting breakthroughs toward sustainable production and better elastomer products.

Elastomers Today

Elastomers can be found all throughout everyday life, from car tires to life-saving medical devices. As industry leaders discover increasingly innovative uses for elastomers, usage and popularity continues to climb.

One of the most noteworthy growth areas for elastomers is the medical components market. Record-breaking demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in elastomer consumption starting in 2020. But there are many factors driving the growing healthcare needs of the global population. People are living longer than ever before, and countries all over the world need resources to care for their elderly populations. Additionally, travel and migration grow more accessible every year, which contributes to faster spread of disease. These societal shifts have most certainly impacted the use of elastomers in medical components.

However, the largest consumer of elastomers on a market scale is the automotive industry. Elastomers can be found throughout the vehicle interior, including dashboards and door panels, as well as the vehicle’s tires and body seals. 

We’re also seeing increased demand for elastomers in the textile industry. Elastomers are used in a variety of elastomeric fabrics, such as spandex, nylon, and lycra. 

Synthetic rubber overtook natural rubber latex in the mid 2000s, and manufacturing processes for synthetic rubbers and elastomers grow more sophisticated every year. We’re continuing to see major innovations in how synthetic rubbers are used.

Elastomers & Tubing of the Future

The Asia-Pacific region’s share of the elastomer market is expected to grow in the coming years, especially as the automotive industry continues to develop in that part of the world. The advancement of electric vehicle (EV) technology is also driving a greater demand for elastomers. EVs are powered by large, heavy batteries, and that extra weight puts considerable strain on the vehicle’s tires. Many automotive OEMs are replacing traditional materials with lightweight elastomers to compensate for the weight of the battery.

Material and substance directives, such as REACH, RoHS, and California’s Prop 65, have already impacted the way manufacturers design and produce elastomer products. And these regulations may be just the beginning. Additional states and other entities have already expressed interest in enacting similar measures, creating an even greater need for materials that adhere to regulations. Most industries are likely to be affected by these changes, including the food and medical markets. Both of these industries rely on high-quality tubing products to ensure a sterile environment. Elastomers may become an increasingly popular choice for these applications because it’s clean and easy to sterilize, which are attractive properties in the regulatory space.

Another industry trend with far-reaching effects is the push toward sustainability. More and more companies are joining the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) and working together to develop guidelines for sustainable practices and share knowledge throughout the elastomer industry. Elastomer companies may be held accountable to a growing number of green initiatives in the future.

Partner with Kent Elastomer 

Elastomer manufacturers are constantly discovering new ways to produce elastomer materials. Advancements in thermoplastic elastomer manufacturing are expected to drive further innovations in product development and production.

KEP is proud to have played a crucial role in the elastomer industry’s growth for over 60 years. We remain dedicated to supporting our customers as they grow, so we can help them navigate the changes ahead. Learn more about our values and what we do best > 

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