Caprolactam is produced by the synthesis of cyclohexane or phenol. Caprolactam is a synthetic chemical that can be synthesized to fit in a broad range of applications. They are commercially available as nylon 6 fiber and nylon 6 resin. Based on physical and chemical properties, caprolactam can be used in different applications such as textiles, carpets, industrial yarns, fishing lines nets, etc. The revenue generated by the global caprolactam market was USD 8,662.5 million in 2012. This market is expected to reach USD 13,801.9 million by 2019 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% from 2013 to 2019.
Caprolactam used for the production of nylon 6 fiber accounted for the largest share of the caprolactam market in terms of both volume and revenue. Nylon 6 fibers dominated the global market with over 66% share of total volume consumed in 2012. Nylon 6 resin is the other key product segment produced from caprolactam used in the market. The caprolactam industry exhibits high degree of forward integration as majority of caprolactam producers are also engaged in the production of its finished product nylon 6.
The chemical properties of caprolactam such as light weight and high strength make it a suitable material for the production of fibers and resins. Nylon fibers are used to produce textiles, carpets, industrial yarns, fishing lines, nets etc. Nylon 6 fibers are used extensively in tire cords. Nylon 6 offers high tensile strength, fatigue resistance, strength and durability of heavy duty vehicle tires. The growing automobile activity is expected to drive the market of industrial yarns in the next few years. Textiles made from nylon 6 fiber include non-woven fabrics and applications such as apparels, swimwear, sportswear, fashion wear etc.
Nylon 6 resin is the other important derivative of caprolactam. Nylon 6 resin is used in applications such as engineering plastics, packaging, electronics, musical instrument strings etc. Nylon 6 resins have been increasingly used in engineering applications owing to its properties such as high strength, high fatigue resistance etc. The shift towards more environment friendly and fuel efficient automobiles has encouraged the use of nylon 6 and other plastics in automobiles. Various under the hood metal components have been replaced by nylon 6 resin for weight reduction. Looking forward, the increase in demand and production of automobiles is expected to be the major market driver for nylon 6 resin and subsequently caprolactam.Asia-Pacific and Europe were the major markets for caprolactam in 2012.
With around 71% shares in total consumption, Asia-Pacific was the largest regional market for caprolactam in 2012. Leading caprolactam manufacturers have concentrated on capacity expansion in Asia Pacific to increase their production capacities. The caprolactam market witnessed significant decline in demand due to the global economic downturn during 2008 and 2009. However, the caprolactam market has witnessed steady rise in demand since 2010 due to the uptrend in end user industries following the revival of the global economy.
In the recent past, industry participants have shifted their focus on capacity expansion to increase production capacities of their respective facilities. Looking into the growth trend in the end user industries such as industrial yarn, electronics and engineering plastics, caprolactam manufacturers are focused on capacity expansion. Some of the key market participants operating in caprolactam market include DSM, BASF SE, Honeywell, Ube Industries, Capro Corporation etc.
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