Global demand for flame retardants is projected to expand 4.6% per year through 2018 to 2.8 million metric tons, valued at $7.0 billion, according to The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Demand will be stimulated by the acceleration in electronic product, motor vehicle, and wire and cable production, particularly in the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan.
In industrializing countries, the stricter enforcement of building codes will increase the market penetration for flame retardants in building materials, fueling sales increases. Alumina trihydrate (ATH) was the most widely used flame retardant in 2013, accounting for nearly one-third of global demand, and is expected to retain its dominance in the product mix. Flame retardants are used not only in building and construction, which will record the strongest growth of any major market through 2018 but in many consumer products as well.
The intent of flame retardants in materials – including plastics – was to slow the development of the flame to give people time to escape and save their lives. While flame retardants (FR) have been surrounded by controversy over their safety, many new FR additives have been – and continue to be – developed to address these concerns.
Some of the FR additives that were used in the past, such as a brominated system, are not being used because the manufacturers are no longer making them. Manufacturing of most of these products ceased in 2012. While the brominated flame retardants are very effective in plastics and textiles, concerns over the toxicity of these additives resulted in manufacturers to move away from them and create low halogen polymeric additives.
At Plastics Color, we’re developing several of these products under the name FlamaSol FR™ that offer superb extinguishing performance for plastic products. FlamaSol FR™ does not contain decabromodiphenyl oxide (decabromine), a common ingredient found in flame retardants that were found to be toxic.
While the non-halogenated flame retardants are effective, they don’t necessarily work across the board in all resins. Some resins have to have their own flame retardants. Currently, the low halogenated FR only works with polypropylene resin. Another non-halogenated FR additive works in nylon resin, and we’re working on a new FR additive for polystyrene or ABS.
You can be sure that Plastics Color works tirelessly to create the safest, most effective additives that meet all your needs including flame retardancy. If you have concerns about your FR materials or need to know the latest in FR additive, talk with our experts and let us help you.