The global consumption of radiation-cured coatings, inks and adhesives was 868 million lbs in 2012, worth $4,495 million, according to a recent study from Kusumgar, Nerlfi & Growney. The largest outlet was coatings, with 78% of the volume and 58% of the value. Wood and overprints were the leading coating end uses, taking nearly three-quarters of the volume and 60% of the value. A variety of plastic applications such as vinyl flooring, consumer electronic housings, automotive headlamp lenses and housings, CDs, etc., comprised 18% of the coating volume and 24% of the value. Optical fibers and cables were the fourth-largest end use. These four end uses represent 95% of the coating pounds and 93% of the value.

The ink industry consumed 18% of the radcure product volume and 35% of the value in 2012. If inks were combined with overprint coatings into one graphic arts category, that segment would represent 41% of the volume and 48% of the value. The offset process took nearly one-half of the ink volume and 43% of the dollars. The fastest-growing radcure ink process is inkjet, which is forecast to more than double in volume by 2017. Inkjet was only 3% of the volume in 2012 but 11% of the value.

The adhesives industry was 4% of the radcure product volume in 2012 and 7% of the value. Product assembly adhesives for electronic, medical, and other applications were only 13% of the adhesive pounds, but are generally much higher in price than other end uses; they garnered just over half of the dollars. Pressure sensitive, packaging laminating and DVD lamination are the large volume adhesive applications.

As shown in Figure 1, the Asia-Pacific region leads in radcure product consumption, with 35% of the global value in 2012. It is the fastest growing region at 10% per year, and its share of the volume is projected to increase from 40% in 2012 to 47% in 2017. Europe and North America each represented 35% of the radcure value in 2012. Europe captured 31% of the global volume and North America 26%. Both regions are forecast to grow at a modest 3-4% annual rate.

Raw material consumption for radcure products was $2.3 billion in 2012. Acrylate oligomers and monomers are the leading material, comprising about three-quarters of the material volume and dollars. A variety of other resins is used in radcure products, and were 10% of the pounds and 8% of the dollars. Photoinitiators are, on average, a higher priced ingredient and were 4% of the pounds and 8% of the dollars. Other ingredients include additives, pigments, fillers, etc.

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