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Spandex, also known as polyurethane-polyurea copolymer, is a fiber in which the fiber forming substance is in the form of a long-chain synthetic polymer consisting of at least 85% of segmented polyurethane. Spandex is produced by solution dry-spinning in which the fabric is produced from a plastic-like compound. After chemically processing the component polymer solvent, the solution is injected into a high-speed spinning cylinder. The solution is spun with the help of a cylinder. In the alter stage the polymer passes through a spinneret: a metal mesh. After heating the polymer solution it solidifies fibrous “pre-spandex” strands. These strands are further processed which forms the final product spandex.

Spandex has unique characteristics which include extremely stretchable nature, lightweight and durable, resistant to deterioration by lotions, body oils, perspiration and detergents, high resistance to abrasion, heat settable, and is available in a variety of colors and structures. Spandex is widely used in hosiery, ski pants, aerobic/exercise wear, disposable diaper, waist bands, swimsuits, golf jackets, bra straps, and bra side panels.

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Spandex Market Taxonomy

On the basis of type of production method, the global market is classified into:

  • Solution wet spinning
  • Solution dry spinning
  • Reaction spinning
  • Melt extrusion

On the basis of end-use industry, the global market is segmented into:

  • Healthcare
  • Automotive
  • Textile

In textile industry, spandex is used for compression garments such as surgical hose, bicycle pants, support hose, and foundation garments. Spandex is also used in the production of chair coverings and table coverings. In healthcare industry, spandex is used in knee and back braces and in the rubber tubing.  Spandex is widely used in sports apparel, volleyballs and soccer balls, owing to properties such as high stretchablity and extremely durable nature. In automotive industry, spandex is used in the production of door panel fabrics and other internal décor applications owing to its scratch proof surface and opaque luster.

Spandex Market Outlook – Need for Durable Materials Expected to Boost Demand

Extremely elastic and more durable nature as compared to rubber has boosted the growth of spandex market globally. Asia Pacific is expected to be the most potential market for spandex manufacturers. Asia Pacific is projected to witness relatively high growth in terms of value over the forecast period. Rapidly growing automotive and textile industry in developing countries such as India and China has propelled the growth of spandex market in the region. According to IBEF, the Indian textile industry contributed revenue of US$ 40 billion in 2016. In addition to this, the Indian government has allowed 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment in the Textile sector which will boost the growth of textile industry in the region. India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) is a Trust established by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Commerce in collaboration with the Government of India with the purpose of promoting and creating international awareness of goods manufactured in India.

Fluctuating prices of raw material is expected to be one of the restraining factors for the growth of spandex market over the forecast period. Expansions in different geographies and diversification of product portfolio are few strategies adopted by the top players in the spandex market. The introduction of bio based spandex is also one of the important strategies for the new entrants in the spandex market. In 2016, Hyosung Corporation, a leading Spandex producer expanded its Turkey facility to increase the supply of spandex in European and Middle East markets. This expansion included an investment of US$ 27 million and increase in production by 5 thousand tons. Some of the companies operating in the global spandex industry are Hyosung Corporation, Acelon Chemical and Fiber Corporation, Du Pont, Teijin Ltd., Investa, Asahi Kasei Corporation, Far Eastern New Century Corporation, and Toray Industries.

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