Figure 1: Make-Up of the U.S. Adhesives and Sealants Industry by Dollar Value
The U.S. adhesives and sealants industry registered sales of $11.85 billion in 1998, up from $9.2 billion in 1995 and $6.9 billion in 1990. Sales for 1999 are estimated at $12.2 billion. General-purpose adhesives and sealants account for 54% of the dollar value, followed by binders with 12%, and hot melts and pressure sensitive adhesives, each at 10%. Engineering adhesives and films account for most of the balance at 14% (Figure 1), according to the new Rauch Guide to the U.S. Adhesives and Sealants Industry, Third Edition, offered by Impact Marketing Consultants, Manchester Center, Vt.

Figure 2. U.S. Consumption of Leading Adhesives and Sealants by Chemical Type (1998) in Million dollars
The survey states that some 45 different chemical types of adhesives and sealants are produced. Phenolics, the leader, account for 14% of sales. Polyolefins represent 11%, followed by polyurethanes at 8%, silicone rubber with 7%, and starches and dextrin with 6%. Consumption varies by whether the product is an adhesive or sealant. Phenolics, polyolefins, starch and dextrin, polyvinyl acetate, and acrylics are the leading adhesives; and silicones, thermoset polyurethanes, bitumens and polyesters are the largest in sealants. (Figure 2.)

Figure 3. U.S. Consumption of Adhesives and Sealants by End-Use Market (1998) Million dollars
There are eight major end-use markets. Packaging, with 28% of the market, and industrial assembly, with 23%, dominate. Transportation, wood and related products, and on-site construction are also important end uses. (Figure 3.)

Only modest growth of 2.7% annually is forecast to 2003 when sales will reach $13.5 billion. Growth will vary within the various segments. By end use, electrical/electronic and medical/dental applications will lead the growth, but packaging will remain the leading market. By product type, sharp growth is forecast for medical and dental adhesives, and radiation-cured adhesives, although they are growing from a small base. By chemical type, most rapid growth is forecast for radiation-cured products, anaerobics, as well as polyethylene, polyvinyl acetals, silicones, epoxies and other synthetics.

According to the Guide, the industry supports over 780 suppliers. Despite major acquisitions in recent years, the business is not very concentrated. Some 19 companies have U.S. sales at $100 million or more, yet represent only 43% of the domestic total. National Starch ranks as the leading supplier with 6.5%, followed closely by H.B. Fuller with 6.1%. 3M, Henkel, Illinois Tool Works, Sovereign Specialty Chemicals, Morton, DAP (now owned by RPM), Reichhold and Borden round out the top 10.

Captive consumption also plays an important role in the industry. Major captive end uses are wood processing, such as manufacturing of particleboard, pressure sensitive tape production and rubber-to-metal bonding. Captive manufacturing accounts for about 25% of production, the report states.

The market is extremely complex and difficult to quantify. The Rauch Guide is known worldwide as a comprehensive analysis of the entire industry, covering products and end uses often excluded from government and other reports. For example, the Guide covers unformulated adhesives, captive consumption, and such end uses as bottle-cap adhesives, binders and tie-layer adhesives.

The new Guide contains six chapters with 302 pages, including industry economics, raw materials, types of adhesives and sealants, end-use markets, and a unique directory of 681 adhesives and sealants manufacturers. It is available for $445 plus shipping and handling, with discounts for multiple-copy orders.