Industry Insights

The global nitrocellulose market size was estimated at USD 649.1 million in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% over the forecast period. The upsurge in consumption of nitrocellulose-based inks in coatings & paints industry across emerging economies, such as India, China, Vietnam, and Colombia has a positive influence on the market growth.

Guncotton is highly inflammable compound, its usage and storage are governed by strict regulations. They are produced when cellulose reacted with the nitrating acid and utilized as a propellant or low-order explosive. Nitric acid and sulfuric acid are presumed to witness high growth on account of their usage in the manufacture of fertilizers and other industrial applications.

Production of cellulose nitrate includes raw material cost, utilities, maintenance & repair, labor cost, land lease cost, and transportation costs along with auxiliaries such as depreciation and cost of finance. Raw material accounts for a major portion of the production cost.

Other costs that come into play other than capital/fixed investment include pre-operational expenditures and working capital. Pre-operating prices include installation, setup, capitalized interests, project engineering & management, and commissioning costs.

Printing ink segment is driven by technological developments and the increasing consumption of eco-friendly based inks. Usage of these products in gravure printing and flexography would give high quality and durable color paint result.

Flexographic printing can be used in any material like plastics, metallic films, paper and other materials. Gravure printing is used for engraving images, onto cylindrical bases, mostly used in the rotary printing press. These inks are preferred over other substitutes owing to their superior properties such as quick drying, good adhesion, and easy application.

This substance with a nitrogen content around 12.6% is used for explosive purpose for both military and civilian application. Several government regulations regarding disposable of hazardous substance owing to toxic health effects and high flammability would hinder market growth.

The government has issued stringent regulations with an aim to prevent any misuse of this substance and to safeguard the public interest. Brazil has banned imports of this product into the country to avert any misuse of the substance.

Application Insights

Wood Coating emerged as the fastest growing segment owing to increasing residential construction activities. They have wide scope during the production process of wood coatings. However, cellulose nitrate-based wood coatings could be used with various other color applications such as sap stains, fillers, overall stains, and toners.

The wood coating is utilized in sliding doors and windows, decking of furniture’s, coloring and carpets, oil-based preservatives are used for industrial purposes. Robust furniture industry growth over the recent years and a positive demand trend are projected to complement the wood coatings application. The concept of good living and better lifestyle has prompted the middle-class people across the globe to invest more in furniture.

Nitrocellulose lacquer based wood coating is the principal ingredients in musical instrument factories, as finishing agents in steel strings for guitars, mandolins, and banjos especially across the U.S.

Automotive paints are multilayer coating which enhances the aesthetic appearance as well as gives protection against scratches, UV rays, corrosion, oxidation and acid rains. Essential ingredients used for manufacturing of automotive paints are thinners, pigments, and binders.  Automotive paints have high solid content and low volatile organic compound. These factors are driving the consumption of cellulose nitrate in the automotive paint applications.

Usage of this guncotton in nail varnishes is under regulatory pressure owing to safety concern. However, with the expanding cosmetics industry across the globe, the demand for nail varnish applications is likely to increase consumption over the forecast period.

Guncotton is also exposed to several other regulations related to transportation and packaging of harmful substances. These regulations are in line with the standards specified by United Nations (UN) and the international rules derived from them.

Pharmaceutical, sealants and artificial jewelry are some other major applications. Sealants are the material used as sealing agents to make them air light and water-resistant. The rapid growth of adhesives and sealants business over the past few years has positively influenced the growth. Besides this, high-performance guncotton is also utilized in disposable medical devices and mining activities.

Adhesive produced from these cellulose nitrate exhibit superior properties such as longer shelf life, weather resistance, and environment-friendly. However, the cellulose nitrate industry has witnessed a slowdown in recent years owing to the emergence of several other substitutes.

Pharmaceutical sector uses the guncotton which involves sterility test of sterile pharmaceutical products and microbial analysis of purified water. It is considered an ideal solution in artificial jewelry applications owing to various exceptional characteristics, including strong, glossy look and clear protection among others. These factors are the key drivers propelling demand.

Regional Insights

Asia Pacific was the leading consumer and accounted for around 45% of the total revenue in 2015. Emerging economies such as India, Thailand, and China are the largest producer and importer of the cellulosic material across the region.

Trade and use of cellulose nitrate in these countries are high owing to increasing demand from end-use industries such as printing inks, automotive paints, wood coating and leather tanning & finishes. Numerous manufacturers are also shifting their production bases to Asia Pacific region in order to reduce the cost of production. These companies gain advantages in terms of the cheaper workforce as well as low-cost raw materials.

China emerged as the most significant user of nitrocellulose as a raw material in 2015. However, the export and imports across the region were relatively less in 2015 in comparison to previous year owing demand and supply imbalance in the domestic marketplace. The rapidly expanding printing inks industry across China is a major factor contributing to the demand.

Europe followed Asia Pacific to emerge as the second major regional segment, accounting for 20.8% of the global volume in 2015. It is expected to lose share to high growth markets of Asia Pacific and Latin America. Brazil & Mexico would contribute a major share in Latin America owing to increasing demand for coating applications.

North America is expected to be the fastest regional segment, growing at a CAGR of 5.1% in terms of volume by 2024.

Rapidly increasing investment in automotive paints and wood coating industry are contributing significant growth in the recent years.

Nitrocellulose Market Share Insights

Major participants in the market include Atomax Chemicals Co. Ltd., Bergerac N.C., Abu Zaabal Co. for specialty chemicals, Nitro Quimica, TNC Industrial Co. Ltd., Dow Wolff Cellulosic GmbH, Hagedorn NC, Nitrex Chemicals India Pvt. Ltd. and Nitro Chemie AG. Companies are investing in R&D activities to develop efficient products from the renewable feedstock.

Manufacturers are striving to achieve a competitive edge on specific factors such as economies of scales, innovation, price and operation cost. The industry is exposed to several regulations governing its manufacturing processes as well as applications usage across various end-use industries.

Several authorities have regulated various guidelines for the transportation, manufacturing as well as disposal procedures. The manufacturers are involved in product portfolio expansion and new product development to cater to ever-increasing demand and compete with existing multinationals.

In 2010, Dow Wolff Cellulosic GmbH announced to increase the price of its products by up to 30% on account of rising raw material costs such as wood pulp and cotton linters. Companies also witnessed certain merger and acquisition activities in March 2004, Nitrex Chemicals India Pvt. Ltd. purchased cellulose nitrate business segment from Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), India, to expand their product portfolio.

Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis on latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2024. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research, Inc. has segmented the global nitrocellulose market report on the basis of application, and region:

  • Application Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2024)
    • Printing inks
    • Automotive paints
    • Wood coatings
    • Leather finishes
    • Nail Varnishes
    • Others
  • Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2024)
    • North America
      • U.S.
      • Canada
    • Europe
      • Germany
      • UK
      • Italy
      • Turkey
      • France
      • Spain
      • Austria
      • Russia
    • Asia Pacific
      • China
      • India
      • Japan
      • Thailand
      • Vietnam
      • Malaysia
      • Indonesia
      • Taiwan
    • Middle East & Africa
      • South Africa
      • Egypt
      • UAE
    • Latin America
      • Brazil
      • Argentina
      • Peru
      • Colombia
      • Chile
      • Mexico