SEPS is a high-end TPES product. From 2022 to 2026, China’s domestic capacity will continue to expand
Styrene thermoplastic elastomer (TPES) is one of the most widely used thermoplastic elastomers. Its main products include SBS (styrene butadiene styrene block copolymer), SEBS (hydrogenated SBS), SIS (styrene isoprene styrene block copolymer), SEPS (hydrogenated SIS), etc. SEPS, styrene ethylene propylene styrene block copolymer, its elasticity, toughness, impact strength, high and low temperature resistance, corrosion resistance, weather resistance and aging resistance are better than SIS, and its stability is higher.
Among the four major TPES products, SEBS and SEPS are high-end products. Compared with SEBS, SEPS does not crystallize. It has better mechanical properties, weather resistance, low temperature performance and heat resistance, chemical corrosion resistance, electrical insulation, and compatibility with other polymers. Its outstanding advantages are better flexibility and elasticity, and it can produce thermoplastic elastomer materials with better flexibility.
According to the 2022-2026 China SEPS Industry Market Development Status and Production and Marketing Data Analysis Report issued by a research center, SEPS can be widely used in optical fiber and cable, lubricants, adhesives, sealants, plastic modification, highly transparent medical materials, optical materials, artificial leather, cosmetics, adult products, food packaging and other fields. Among them, optical fiber and cable filling ointment and lubricant viscosity index improver are important downstream markets of SEPS, accounting for about 50% of the total demand, especially in the field of optical fiber and cable filling ointment.
SEPS production has high technical barriers. Before 2017, China’s SEPS demand all depends on imports. In China’s TPES industry, SBS has the largest capacity, accounting for about 70%, followed by SIS, which accounts for about 15%. The capacity of SIS in China is more than 200,000 tons/year, and its application fields are concentrated in the hot melt adhesive market, with an annual demand of about 60,000 tons, resulting in overcapacity. Compared with SIS, SEPS products have higher added value, so our national strength TPES enterprises have accelerated the pace of SEPS market layout.
Industry analysts said that at present, the total capacity of domestic SEPS is 40000 tons/year. If the operating rate reaches a good level and the product quality is recognized by downstream customers to replace imported products, the localization rate of China’s SEPS market will continue to increase in the future. It is estimated that by 2024, China’s SEPS market demand will reach about 50000 tons. In terms of current domestic capacity, there is still room for growth in the size of the SEPS industry. However, enterprises should not blindly ignore product quality, but pay more attention to whether the product quality can reach the level of imported products.