Expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam is a form of polypropylene. EPP can resume its shape after several impacts. Thus, it has the ability to absorb massive impacts, which makes it an ideal material for the aviation modelling and radio-controlled vehicles, globally. EPP foam is produced by using the compression steam chest molding technique. Beads of different sizes are fused together through the use of this molding technique, resulting in a strong and lightweight product. Polypropylene, also known as polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer. It is used in various applications in packaging and textile industries.
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EPP is highly versatile and fully recyclable. Its other properties include excellent energy absorption, buoyancy, impact resistance, thermal insulation, water and chemical resistance, and high strength-to-weight ratio. EPP can be manufactured with a wide range of densities ranging from 10 to 180 grams per liter. It can then be transformed by molding into EPP with densities ranging from 16 to 265 grams per liter. Properties of EPP such as absorption of high-magnitude kinetic impacts without breaking down and re-attainment of the original shape after the impact are factors driving the market for EPP in several applications, especially the aircraft modelling.
Specially designed aluminum molds are widely preferred, owing to their cost-effectiveness. Production of the EPP foam is a complex process, which requires both technical expertise and custom-made, special equipment. Under controlled temperature and pressure conditions, polypropylene resin is mixed with other ingredients in a multi-step process. Various other proprietary manufacturing techniques are also employed to produce variations in the final product. The EPP foam is first injected into the mold. EPP foams are extensively employed in the automotive industry, owing to the performance benefits that they offer when used in the manufacture of lightweight parts. These benefits include energy management, recyclability, and durability.
The expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam market can be segmented on the basis of density, process, and application. In terms of density, the market can be divided into high, low, and porous. In terms of process, the EPP foam market can be segregated into solid-state processing and melt-state processing. Based on application, the market can be divided into automotive, packaging, textile, furniture, food & beverages, and toys.
A majority of manufacturers of the EPP foam are located in North America and Europe. Several established players are entering into the Asia Pacific market in order to grab an additional market share. Demand for the EPP foam in China’s automotive and aviation industries is rising. This is driving the market in Asia Pacific and the same trend is expected to continue in the next few years. Emerging markets for the EPP foam in Asia Pacific such as India, China, South Korea, and Australia are attracting the established players to install their production bases in these countries. Increased investments in technological developments and the risen demand for quality products in aviation, automotive, packaging, textile, and food & beverages industries are factors driving the market for the EPP foam. The EPP foam market is also driven by applications such as packaging. The EPP foam is employed to protect highly sensitive, highest-quality, and fragile products from shocks and vibrations.
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Manufacturers and suppliers operating in the expanded polypropylene foam market include BASF SE, DOW Chemicals, Hanwha Corporation, Dongshin Industry Inc., Kaneka Corporation, JSP Corporation, The Woodbridge Group, SSW Pearl Foam GmbH, Sonoco Products Company, Lauren Manufacturing, Clark, and DS Smith Plastics.