Be it cars, buildings, or toys, everything has some kind of paint or coating. Apart from just making the product look good, such materials also protect them from external factors, such as heat, chemicals, moisture, and scratches. Owing to the vast diversity in the substrates they are applied on, including metals, glass, wood, concrete, and plastics, a wide array of paints and coatings are available, such as can coatings, coil coatings, decorative or architectural coatings, and industrial coatings.
According to P&S Intelligence, with the increasing demand for paints and coatings in various industries, the esters market will witness considerable growth in the near future. This is because esters are among the most-important ingredients of such products, being primarily used as a tail solvent, on account of their high solvency and slow evaporation. The solubility and miscibility flexibility of esters with a vast variety of organic solvents and resins, respectively, allows them to be added to numerous types of coatings with an acrylic, alkyd, vinyl copolymer, or polyester base.
In this regard, one of the major end-use industries of ester-containing products is automotive. Every vehicle undergoes at least three rounds of coating: primer, basecoat, and clearcoat, which leads to a high demand for esters. Additionally, esters are used in lubricants, another significant liquid product used in the auto sector. Esters impart low volatility, appreciable oxidative and thermal stability, disperancy, detergency, biodegradability, and lubricity. With the growing demand for passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks and buses, the automotive sector continues to grow, thereby driving the demand for lubricants.
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On account of the growing consumption of lubricants and paints and coatings, Asia-Pacific (APAC) has been the largest esters market till now. While the expanding automotive and manufacturing industries are propelling the requirement for lubricants, the burgeoning construction activities are leading to the rising consumption of paints and coatings. Moreover, APAC is also the largest producer of esters, owing to its vast chemical industry. Raw materials and labor are available at lower prices here than in North America and Europe, and APAC also has less-stringent regulations related to environmental pollution, thus drawing chemical producers from developed regions.
Apart from paints & coatings and lubricants, other applications of esters are personal care & cosmetics, textiles, surfactants, packaging, paper & pulp, food & beverages, water treatment, and healthcare. Overall, textiles are the largest application area of esters, as a result of their usage as softeners, emulsifiers, and antistatic agents. Additionally, due to their lubricity, esters are used as surfactants in textile factories. Moreover, yarn and threads of polyesters, which are essentially chemicals where every repeating unit of the primary chain contains an ester group, are widely used to produce shirts, jackets, pants, furniture upholstery, blankets, bedsheets, and a range of other clothing and apparel items.