Curing agents (hardeners) are a kind of chemical additives added to resins to harden or toughen them. Epoxy curing agents contain epoxide functional group. The choice of epoxy curing agents depends on the base resin as well as the required degree of toughness. Each epoxy curing agent has its own set of characteristics that defines the degree of curing and time. Epoxy curing agents are commonly utilized in metal coatings, adhesives, composite, and concrete coatings, applications. These agents are mainly employed as primers for protective coatings. Epoxy resins have an inbuilt bonding capacity.
They offer properties such as mechanical strength, electrical insulation, and chemical strength. Epoxy resins work more effectively when combined with curing agents. Hence, proper selection of curing agents is as important as selection of epoxy resins. The global epoxy curing agents market is expected to expand at a significant rate driven by increase in demand from the paints & coating industry. The epoxy curing agents market was valued at about US$ 3,600 Mn in 2017 and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period.
Evolving trends have a direct impact on the dynamics of the epoxy curing agents industry. These trends include replacement of dicyandiamide curing agents with phenol and development of curing agents with low volatile organic compounds. Furthermore, factors such as rise in demand from the paints and coating industry and increasing demand for epoxy resin-based composites in the aerospace and wind energy industries are expected to fuel the global epoxy curing agents market. However, increasing raw material prices have increased the overall product costs, which is hampering the market.
Major players in the epoxy curing agents market have adopted expansions and joint ventures as key strategies to expand their network and share their investments. For instance, in July 2017, Huntsman International LLC. Completed the expansion of its world-scale amines production facility in Jurong Island in Singapore. The company had a production capacity of 25,000 tons per year before the expansion. Currently, its production capacity is 50,000 tons per year. The expansion fits perfectly with Huntsman International’s investment and leadership and has helped expand its product portfolio. Launching new products and facilities is likely to be the long term strategy of epoxy curing agent manufacturers.