Trends in the Usage of Rubbery Materials
The future pattern of rubber usage is predicted in the light of expected global changes in living standards and, specifically, methods of transportation. It is concluded that the car and the lorry will become increasingly favoured methods of transport. Whilst there will continue to be an increasing demand for car ownership the increasing cost of energy is likely to lead to smaller, lighter cars as well as more careful patterns of usage. This will lead to a reduction in the amount of rubber used per car. Whilst non-automotive applications of rubber will continue to be developed the use of rubber will largely be determined by the automotive industries. This growth of rubber consumption will require an increase in car ownership to more than offset the amount of rubber used per car.
The outlook for individual types of rubber, which are far from uniform, are reviewed. It is concluded that the rubber industry will have to work much harder and more effectively than formerly to survive the next decade, and that companies that fail to undertake the necessary development work to ensure that their products find a ready market and those that make inefficient use of manpower, equipment and materials cannot be expected to enjoy a long-term prosperity.
KeywordsNatural Rubber Thermoplastic Elastomer Rubber Industry Thermoplastic Polyurethane Nitrile Rubber
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