By Patrick Raleigh, ERJ On-line news editor
Geneva, Switzerland-Demand for speciality fluoroelastomers is growing at around 7 percent, compared to just 2 percent for standard fluoroelastomers, according to DuPont Dow Elastomers.
Growth is being led by the automotive sector, a DDE spokesman said in a written statement to ERJ. Rising engine temperatures and requirements for lower emissions mean higher demand for speciality fluoroelastomers in fuel sealing and handling systems, he explained.
To meet such demands, DDE recently commercialised a full line of speciality fluoroelastomers, made via its Advanced Polymer Architecture (APA) production technology.
Demand for these new products is running in-line with DDE's expectations, according to the spokesman. â€œWe project that by 2004, at least a third of all Viton specialty fluoroelastomer sales will be in the new technology grades, and expect this substitution trend to accelerate strongly in 2005.â€
The APA project was completed towards the end of 2003, with the commercialisation of base resistant APA products, according to the company spokesman.
This marked the final phase of a roll out begun in late 2002 with the launch of peroxide-cure APA grades, for uses such as automotive turbo and fuel hoses. These were followed by low temperature grades for use mainly in moulded O-ring applications for the automotive and other industries.
The new products are already contributing to growth in DDE's fluoroelastomers business in Europe, the DDE representative continued. The business â€œhad a better than expected first half 2003 â€¦ [and] are seeing some growth and remain optimistic for the rest of the year,â€ he stated.