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Multi-density Foams: Next Green Thing in the PET Foam Market

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) has penetrated across a wide range of applications in the composites industry, owing to its superior mechanical properties such as lightweight, high mechanical strength, and high temperature resistance, over other plastics. PET has witnessed high demand in the foam landscape, with a substantial rise in the applications of PET foam in transportation, wind energy, and packaging industries. However, the growing demand for environmentally-friendly plastics has influenced the trends in the PET foam market in recent years.

Leading manufacturers of PET foam are increasing their focus on research & development (R&D) activities to find new ways to produce PET foam boards with recycled materials, while maintaining the reliability of their structural properties. Manufacturers are developing multi-density PET foams to sync with the environment-driven trends in the composites industry, while meeting the stringent technical requirements of composite materials such as PET foam, which are developed by governing bodies. Increasing environmental awareness among customers is encouraging stakeholders in this landscape to introduce multi-density, recyclable alternatives to standard PET foams.

For instance, in May 2017, Armacell – a leading player in the PET foam market – announced the successful market launch of its innovative multi-density structural PET foam core. The company declared that, this innovation is directed towards catering to industries’ demand for combining different densities in one foam core and multiple core designs to enhance the point load resistance, while keeping the weight at its minimum. In September 2017, the company introduced its multi-density foam core made of 100% recycled PET, making the new PET foam recyclable until the end of its service life, in order to cater to the growing demand for environmentally-friendly structural PET foam cores in wide-ranging industrial applications.

In 2018, the global market for PET foam reached a valuation of ~US$ 194 million, and the sales of low-density PET foam accounted for over half the revenue share of the market. Nevertheless, multi-density PET foams are likely to emerge as one of the most popular choices for customers with most industries turning toward environmentally-viable materials, shaping the future of the PET foam market.

pet foam market infographic


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Transportation Industry to Create Lucrative Sales Opportunities

The applications of PET foam in automotive and rail industries have been growing, as PET foam is being looked at as a viable option, mainly attributing to its light weight and high mechanical strength. Automotive and rail industries are being driven by the need for more energy-efficient and environment-friendly vehicles, without compromising on safety, and this will create new sales potential for PET foam in the transportation industry, in the coming years.

However, the application of PET foam is not limited to automotive and rail industries only, and is gradually gaining popularity, owing to the growing focus on sustainability. PET foam is being looked at as an ideal solution for marine applications. Manufacturers are looking at PET foam as it is sustainable, with superior thermal properties, along with being resistant to water absorption, as core materials in marine composite structures.

Manufacturers catering to the requirements of this industry include Gurit, with its recyclable PET foam-based products; and 3A Composites’ AIREX T90, a fire-resistant structural foam for mass transportation. These products are being manufactured not just to save resources, but also reduce operating costs and allow for economically-optimized road transport.

Wind Energy to go Fully Green with Sustainable PET Foam Structural Cores

The application of PET foam as a core material in windmills is gaining ground, as it is being employed in sandwich construction for blades, nacelles, and spinners. This comes due to a premium being placed on efficiency and versatility, and as such, the use of PET foam is becoming increasingly popular.

Manufacturers in the PET foam market are continuing to look into sustainable, yet efficient core elements for wind turbines. For instance, Armacell, a key player in the PET foam market, is looking at bigger and more efficient blades of windmills made from PET foam, due to its high temperature resistance, mechanical strength, and fatigue properties.

3A Composites, another global leader in the PET foam market, is enabling the use of environment- and resource-friendly materials in the manufacture of end products in the wind energy field. With renewability being an essential factor for growth and success, manufacturers’ R&D is now focused on reducing the burden on the environment.

Construction to Contribute Significant Demand to the PET Foam Market

The preference for lightweight materials in construction and architecture is taking on a bigger share of the market, as against traditional construction materials. The durability weight factor, along with ease in installation, has been driving the popularity of PET foam as a construction material. In 2018, the construction industry accounted for ~18% of the total market share, and this is unlikely to change during the forecast period.

The adoption of PET foam in construction has gained impetus due to the rapid pace of development around the world, especially in developing countries. The global construction sector is set to expand, particularly in the APAC region, which is certain to have an impact on the growth of the PET foam market. This can be attributed to the growing urban population, and increasing construction in the residential and non-residential sectors in the future.

Some of the key players in the market dealing in PET foam for construction include 3A Composites and Armacell International SA. 3A Composites’ structural foam AIREX is being marketed as sandwich composites for loadbearing and insulation in the same material. ArmaCell’s ArmaForm PET, a lightweight construction foam, is now being used at the economic railway stations in Saudi Arabia.

pet foam market segmentation

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Availability of Alternatives Holding Back the PET Foam Market

Hampering the growth of the PET foam market, despite its sustainability, stiff competition comes from core materials such as styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), etc., that are the standard - popular for their lower density and mechanical strength, even in the lightweight food packaging materials industry.

While PET foam has the potential to become widely popular in the near future with a wide variety of applications, the continuous and repeatable production of PET foam can be challenging, which can discourage manufacturers from choosing this material. The manufacture of PET foam as a material requires additives and needs to be designed at high temperatures; the difficulty of the manufacturing process can also act as a deterrent to the growth of the industry.

Competitive Analysis  

The PET foam market is fairly consolidated, with the top five players of the market accounting for ~80% share of the global market in 2018. These players are focusing on the research and development of new products to maintain their competitive edge.

Some of the key developments in the landscape in recent years, in the PET foam landscape, include:

  • In 2018, 3A Composites, one of the leading players in the industry, launched the AIREX T92, a structural foam that uses PET bottles as a raw material, making it a sustainable product.
  • 3A Composites also introduced the structural foam core AIREX, targeted at high-volume automotive applications, for all the industry’s diverse requirements.
  • Armacell launched ArmaFix EcoLight, a pipe support solution to protect the insulation in a typical pipe hanger system.

Leading players in the market are maintaining their competitive edge though mergers and acquisitions for business expansion. Some of the more recent developments include Gurit, a key player in the composites market, acquired JSB Group, a manufacturing leader in core material kits for wind turbine blades – to be able to support its wind energy customers. Sekisui Plastics Co., Ltd. is another market player to have acquired major stakes in Proseat GmbH, composed of eight companies in six countries around the world, strengthening its geographical presence.

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Analysts’ Speak

Authors on TMR’s report on the PET foam market estimate that, global revenue of the market will grow at a CAGR of ~7% during the forecast period of 2019–2027. Recyclability and green building – trends that have made a massive impact on the industry, are likely to significantly influence the winning strategies of key players within the industry.

The research and development of efficient and lightweight PET foam structures for construction are vital dynamics in the industry, and should be the focus of manufacturers in the foreseeable future. Players looking to leverage green, sustainable, and efficient products are likely to sustain a leading position in the PET foam market.

PET Foam Market Description

  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam exhibits excellent fire prevention, anti-virus, smoke-proof, and UV-protection properties. It also offers exceptional mechanical and anti-fatigue properties, stable chemical properties, and low water absorption. Therefore, PET foam is widely used in the automotive sector.
  • PET foam is extensively employed in window frames, interior architecture, facades, roofs & domes, doors, gates, shower cabin lines, bathtubs, and exterior cladding panels in the building & construction industry. Thus, rise in construction activities is expected to boost the residential and non-residential sectors in the near future. This, in turn, is anticipated to augment the demand for polyethylene terephthalate foam.

Key Growth Drivers of the PET Foam Market

  • The global polyethylene terephthalate foam market is estimated to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period, due to the increase in penetration of these foams in different sectors, particularly wind energy, building & construction, and transportation; healthy growth of certain industry segments such as nacelles, where PET foam is being introduced; availability of advanced raw materials and processing methods that facilitate the manufacture of products with improved properties; and rise in research and development activities.
  • Growth of the wind energy sector, led by the rise in the demand for renewable energy, is projected to drive the global polyethylene terephthalate foam market during the forecast period. PET foam is also employed in core materials for sandwich structures. It is steadily substituting traditional materials such as balsa, styrene acrylonitrile, and polyvinyl chloride.

Major Challenges for the PET Foam Market

  • PET foam faces stiff competition from low-cost core material substitutes such as styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), polyurethane (PU), polymethacrylamide (PMI), polyetherimide (PEI), as well as balsa and honeycombs
  • Polyurethane foams are extensively used due to their low density, thermal conductivity, and good mechanical strength. Additionally, the technology employed for the manufacture of polyurethane foams is well-established. Therefore, these foams are superior to other foams.
  • The global polyethylene terephthalate foam market faces certain drawbacks such as sluggish adoption in new applications. Furthermore, recyclability and reparability issues related to these foams are estimated to hamper the market. These materials are costlier than other foam products, which is also projected to adversely affect the global PET foam market.

Lucrative Opportunities for the Global PET Foam Market

  • Demand for lightweight plastics and composite materials has been increasing off late, due to the rise in the consumer demand for fuel-efficient and lightweight vehicles.
  • PET foam offers various benefits such as good thermal stability, low water absorption, good electrical properties, and excellent surface properties. As a result, polyethylene terephthalate foams are extensively used in the manufacture of exterior body parts, and the casing and housing of various automotive parts such as wiper arms and their gear housings, engine covers, interior trims, connector housings, and headlamp retainers. Substituting heavier materials with foam leads to an overall weight reduction of around 10% in automobiles. This improves fuel efficiency by 3% to 7%, in turn, driving the demand for polyethylene terephthalate foams in the automotive industry.

Europe a Prominent PET Foam Market

  • The PET foam market in Europe is likely to expand at a CAGR of ~ 7% during the forecast period, due to the rise in the demand for these foams in transportation and aerospace industries. Industrial automation, technological reforms, and the presence of some large automotive production companies in Western Europe are factors boosting the market in Europe.
  • Europe is an attractive region of the global polyethylene terephthalate foam market, led by the growth in the number of regulations regarding plastic recycling and technological reforms in the region.
  • Increase in immigration and growth of urbanization in Europe have resulted in the expansion of local housing facilities in the region. This is expected to fuel the building & construction sector in Europe in the near future. This, in turn, is estimated to augment the demand for PET foam in roofs and domes in the region.

Asia Pacific Offers Growth Opportunities

  • In terms of volume, Asia Pacific constituted a prominent share of the global PET foam market in 2018. The region is projected to remain highly lucrative during the forecast period, due to rapid industrialization and rise in the demand for PET foam in wind energy and building & construction industries in the region.
  • China is a key country of the PET foam market in Asia Pacific, owing to the growth of industries such as renewable energy in the country. China is a major hub for automotive products that employ PET foam due to the latter’s superior properties over styrene acrylonitrile and polyvinyl chloride.
  • The PET foam market in Asia Pacific is fragmented; a large number of manufacturers are located in the region. Asia Pacific is a major hub for the production of marine and automotive products, owing to the easy availability of labor and funding and technological development in these industries. This is encouraging investors from many companies to invest the region.

Wind Energy to Account for a Prominent Share

  • Wind energy was a rapidly growing segment of the global PET foam market in 2018. PET foams are widely used in wind energy components due to their properties such as resistance to fire, smoke, toxicity (FST); ease of processing; excellent fatigue & long-term stability; and high strength and stiffness.
  • Wind energy products that employ polyethylene terephthalate foam include wind turbine blades and nacelles. PET foam is used in shear web, shells, and edge closeouts in wind turbine blades. It is used for covers, platforms, and spinners in nacelles.
  • PET foam is priced much lower than high performance materials such as polymethacrylamide and polyetherimide foams. This is driving the demand for PET foam in the wind energy segment.

Leading Players Actively Engage in Mergers & Acquisitions and R&D Activities

  • Key players operating in the global PET foam market include
    • Armacell International S.A.,
    • 3A Composites,
    • Gurit, Diab,
    • BASF SE,
    • Sekisui Plastics Co., Ltd.,
    • Huntsman International LLC,
    • CoreLite, Inc.,
    • Changzhou Tiansheng New Materials CO., LTD., and
    • Carbon-Core Corporation.
  • These companies are engaged in expansion, mergers & acquisitions, and joint ventures in order maintain their share in the global PET foam market.
  • In January 2017, Armacell International S.A. acquired the insulation business of Nomaco, a leading U.S.-based manufacturer of extruded polyethylene insulation foam. This acquisition helped Armacell International S.A. expand its polyurethane insulation foam product portfolio, and increase its customer service levels across North America.

[251 Pages Report] Transparency Market Research examined the growth potential of the PET foam market for the forecast period of 2019 to 2027, and has highlighted some key insights for stakeholders looking to strengthen their position in the market. Information gathered in this report offers an understanding of the changing landscape of the market, growth of the market, and also uncovers underlying opportunities for players in the PET foam market. With access to information in this report on the PET foam market, market players will be able to strategize better plans for business advancement.

This exclusive study on the PET foam market offers a comprehensive outlook with the crucial drivers, restrains, threats and opportunities present in the market. This report also has a detailed assessment of the prominent players operating in the PET foam market, along with their key strategies, financials, and recent developments.

PET Foam Market: Key Questions Answered

This report by TMR offers data on the evolution of the PET foam market around the world. The report answers crucial questions about the PET foam market, designed to aid players in creating strategies for advancement.

Some of these questions include:

  • How is the PET foam market expected to evolve during the forecast period?
  • What are the drivers and restraints in the PET foam market?
  • What opportunities exist for key players in the PET foam market in the current scenario?
  • What will be the year-on-year growth of the PET foam market?
  • Who are the key players in the PET foam market?
  • Which regions are dominating the PET foam market in terms of market share and value?

The report on the PET foam market begins with an executive summary of the market, highlighting the drivers, opportunities, restrains, and trends impacting it. This is followed by a comprehensive analysis, by segment, of the PET foam market. This analysis also includes a geographical assessment of the PET foam market.

The TMR research report on the PET foam market also has the company profiles of leading players, along with strategic overview and development trends. This report also details the mergers and acquisitions in the industry landscape, and even the breakdown of net sales by geography – all aimed at understanding the capabilities and growth potential of these companies.

PET Foam Market: Research Methodology

This research study by TMR on the PET foam market is based on secondary and primary research. Sources for secondary research include, but are not limited to, annual reports of companies, company websites, white papers, investor reports, and much more. Primary resources include interviews with leaders in the market, from both, the supply and demand side of the PET foam market.

This report uses a top-down approach to estimate the numbers of this market, and a bottom-up method to verify them; in essence, a complete triangulation method.

The detailed assessment of the PET foam market also provides an understanding of the competitive landscape based on the extensive analysis of various avenues related to this industry. Analysts’ conclusions on how the PET foam market is set to grow are based on carefully-vetted primary and secondary sources.

PET Foam Market: Segmentation

TMR’s study on the PET foam market has information divided into three sections: grade, end-use industry, and region, to help gauge the growth of the market. This study also presents an analysis of the opportunity present in the PET foam market during the forecast period.

The segments of the PET foam market are mentioned below:


Low Density Foam

High Density Foam

End-use Industry


Building and Construction

Wind Energy




  • Sports and Leisure
  • Aerospace
  • Yoga and Rehabilitation
  • Consumer Goods
  • Medical


North America


Asia Pacific

Latin America

Middle East and Africa

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