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Analysis of the Current Situation of Use of Mold Release Agents and Silicone Oil

Sep 28, 2021

Shoe Material Market Overview
China's shoe industry has struggled in recent years. The international community has more and more frequent anti-dumping cases against Chinese exports of footwear, and the EU's REACH regulation has a serious impact on Chinese companies. At the same time, with the soaring international crude oil prices, the implementation of the new labor law, and the increase in related production costs, the market advantage of Chinese manufacturing at low cost will gradually disappear. Coupled with the full outbreak of the financial crisis in September 2008, China's large and small shoe companies are all facing the dilemma of severe market shrinkage. This directly affects the upstream shoe material manufacturers, either reforming and innovating, or being eliminated. The focus of the shoe material market shifting to product quality and production efficiency will become the future trend. There are several ways to reform currently visible to shoe material manufacturers:

Regardless of the previous export or domestic sales, they all turn their attention to the domestic market. While the Dongguan shoe industry continues to consolidate and maintain the European and American markets, it has frequently increased its efforts to develop the domestic market to control the decline in sales. And some manufacturers that follow the mid-to-low-end production route, even completely abandon the overseas market.

Try to transfer some production lines of products exported to the EU and ASEAN to Southeast Asia. -On the one hand, the shoe industry is a typical labor-intensive industry. This industry always shifts to countries and regions with low labor costs. The labor force in Southeast Asia is originally cheap. On the other hand, the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area will be fully completed on January 1, 2010. ASEAN will impose zero tariffs on more than 90% of China’s products, and ASEAN’s exports to the EU can be exempted from 16.5% anti-dumping duties. This means that the Chinese shoe companies that continue to impose high anti-dumping duties by the EU can just use the ASEAN market to ease the impact of trade frictions on the EU.
The global economic recovery in the second half of 2009 and the rebound of the international market brought opportunities for shoe material manufacturers. Some manufacturers have seen a "blowout" growth in orders. But at the same time, the price of raw materials for shoe materials is also rising wildly. For example, the price of polystyrene has risen from a few thousand yuan per ton to more than 10,000 yuan per ton since the second half of 2009. The price of shoe materials is inevitable, and the industry is still bullish on the situation next year.

Next is the detailed market analysis of several major shoe materials:
(1) Leather: Since March 2009, the international leather market has recovered, and at the same time, the prices of raw materials have also risen. Moreover, the recent implementation of the "environmental storm" in Fujian has shut down a large number of leather factories, causing many leather factories to stop production, and the remaining capacity of the leather factories cannot meet the market demand. This has caused the leather prices to rise very sharply, compared with the most severe financial crisis. The lowest price of has doubled. The industry also said that the price of leather will rise next year, and many sellers are beginning to buy in large quantities and hoarding supply. At present, the production areas of middle and high-end leather are concentrated in the coastal areas, especially the coastal areas of Wenzhou in Zhejiang, Jinjiang in Fujian, Guangdong and Shandong. Such products are mainly sold abroad, and foreign countries have strict product quality inspections, and environmental protection is a basic requirement for compliance. Therefore, not only raw materials, but also additives in leather production should be environmentally friendly. The mainland shoe material manufacturers are mostly exploring the domestic market, with mid- and low-end products accounting for the majority.
Synthetic leather is mainly divided into PVC, PU and TPU. PU synthetic leather is the main medium and high-end products, and its performance is similar to that of natural leather, and the price is lower. Compared with PVC artificial leather, although the production cost of PU leather is nearly double that of PVC, its handle, color, elasticity and air permeability are better than PVC leather, and the pollution of PU production is much smaller than that of PVC.

At present, there are about 50 PU slurry factories in the country, including Defa Group, Zhejiang Huafeng, Qingdao Yutian/Yantai Huada, Jiaxing Hexin and Nanying Plastics, etc. The average production capacity is 8000t/a. Solvent in 2003 The consumption of type synthetic leather slurry is 410,000 tons. There are hundreds of synthetic leather factories in Wenzhou, and the total output of PU synthetic leather accounts for about 70% of the total output of PU synthetic leather in the country. It seems that the application of PU synthetic leather is gradually expanding and will continue to increase at an average annual growth rate of 15% in the next five years. It is worth mentioning that the demand for high-value-added PU synthetic leather and superfine fiber PU synthetic leather products is growing rapidly.

(2) Sole/heel: Both soles and heels are low-profit products, so the price reduction space is limited, and the price is mostly restricted by the price of finished shoes.
Sole/heel materials are currently divided into three categories: rubber, PU, ​​and TPR. Rubber soles/heels are popular soles, the market demand is relatively stable, and the price fluctuations are always small. However, the price of polystyrene, which is the raw material for the production of rubber soles/heels, has risen sharply, putting production pressure on many rubber sole/heel manufacturers.

PU soles/heels are mostly polyurethane elastomers, which have the advantages of good cushioning performance, light weight, wear resistance, and non-slip. It has become an important supporting material in the shoe industry, such as golf shoes, baseball shoes, and football shoes. The soles, heels, toe caps, insoles and other important accessories of many shoes, such as ski shoes, travel shoes, safety shoes, etc., are all made of polyurethane elastomer.
(3) Other hardware, accessories, and accessories: This type of shoe material has very limited price reduction space, and the price is determined by the market. After the outbreak of the financial crisis, the overall trend in the sales and prices of small shoe materials has been declining, but there have also been occasions-some novel and new products can sell at good prices in the short term due to lack of supply. But usually the good times don't last long. With the massive imitations of many manufacturers, the relationship between supply and demand will immediately turn from tension to surplus, and prices will drop and collapse.

2. Market overview of mold release agents used in shoe materials
Main categories of release agents:
(1) High polymers, such as polysiloxane, organic fluoropolymer, low molecular weight polyethylene (also a lubricant and dispersant), polyethylene glycol, epoxy derivatives, etc. Commonly used is methyl silicone oil, which is often used for high temperature demolding of large injection molded parts. (2) Inorganic substances: talcum powder, mica powder, molybdenum disulfide, white clay, clay, etc., and other additives are compounded to form a release agent, which is mostly used in the rubber industry.

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