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Polymeric Flexible Hose and Tubing

  • July 2016
  • -
  • BCC Research
  • -
  • 195 pages


Table of Contents

This BCC Research report provides updates on the state of the industry and provides estimates and forecasts for US markets for 2015 through 2020.

Use this report to:

Receive a comprehensive update on the state of the U.S. flexible hose and tubing industry.
Gain information on the different types of hose and tubing products and their major end-use markets in the United States.
Analyze and estimate flexible hose and tubing industry production and shipments for base year 2015 and forecast growth to 2020.
Identify and profile major suppliers of materials and products for the hose and tubing industry


The overall U.S. market for polymeric flexible hose and tubing materials totaled over 1.0 billion pounds in 2015 and should reach 1.1 billion pounds in 2020 at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.4%.
The thermoplastic resins (non–elastomeric) polymeric materials segment was 570 million pounds in 2015 and should reach 641 million pounds by 2020, a CAGR of 2.4%.
The thermosetting elastomers polymeric materials market was 333 million pounds in 2015 and should reach 373 million pounds by 2020 with a CAGR of 2.3%.


Flexible hose and tubing are established products and their manufacture and sale has become a moderately large and broad-based sector of the U.S. economy. This study covers flexible hose and tubing made of polymeric materials, which are commonly called plastics or rubber. This is in contrast to rigid piping and metal tubing (e.g., aluminum and copper tubing for automobiles and refrigerators), which is a subset of the piping industry. Rigid polymeric pipe and tubing is covered at length in the companion BCC Research report PLS053A The U.S. Market for Plastic Pipe. The broad base of the U.S. polymeric hose and tubing industry is illustrated by both the wide variety of materials, both elastomeric and non-elastomeric, used to make hose and tubing and the many markets served by these materials and products. The terms tube and tubing differ from the terms pipe and piping. All pipes are tubes; however, rigid tubing is differentiated from piping because it is smaller in diameter and usually very thin.
We also differentiate between flexible hose and tubing. A tube is generally defined as a long cylindrical body with a hollow center that is used to convey fluids; a hose is typically defined as a flexible tube. However, for flexible products, we differentiate hose and tubing and consider tubing a simple product constructed from a single material and hose a more complex structure that usually consists of three layers: the tube itself at the center, external reinforcement and a protective covering material.

This study is an update of a 2013 BCC Research study by the same author on polymeric flexible hose and tubing materials and their markets. The current study provides updates on the state of the industry and provides BCC Research’s estimates and forecasts for U.S. markets for the base year 2015 through the forecast year 2020. The U.S. hose and tubing industry is generally considered to be a mature industry, but that alone does not tell the whole story. In recent years, the changing nature and general decline of the U.S. manufacturing sector has increased competition among supplier companies for materials used for hose and tubing construction and caused some important changes in the industry. This report reviews these changes and forecasts their effects on the industry. However, as in the previous report, there have been few truly new developments since around 2000. While continual improvements have been made, there have been no new materials that have revolutionized the industry. However, even with this general state of maturity in this industry, some changes continue to add an interesting dynamic to what is essentially a stable market that, on average, grows at approximately the same rate as the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

The first of these changes is the development of new hose and tubing materials that are competitive with older and more established synthetic resins and elastomers. The most important of these are thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), which no longer can be considered new but are still under development and competitive. Important hose and tubing TPEs include thermoplastic olefins (TPOs) and alloys (TPVs) produced with metallocene/single-site and other new catalyst systems as well as the older TPEs such as thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) and styrene block copolymers. Thermoplastics are easier to process than older thermosetting rubbers since regular melt-processing equipment for plastics can be used.

Furthermore, there are constant changes in terms of engines in the important automotive under-the-hood hose and tubing category. Newer overhead-cam four-valve engines tend to run hotter than older push rod designs, and several common elastomers, especially nitrile rubber, cannot be used in some applications at the temperatures now occurring under the hood so other materials must be substituted. Newer engine types (primarily hybrids since electric cars are currently a nascent but growing market) will, over time, have an effect on automotive uses of polymeric hose and tubing. For example, while electric motors require few or no hoses and tubing, today’s hybrid vehicles have a gasoline engine so hose and tubing should be needed in significant quantities through the forecast period.

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