The costs for the raw materials used for making nitrile-coated gloveshave increased by nearly 350 percent during the past three years alone. As a result, the synthetic rubber supply chain has announced price increases for important polymers such as chloroprene rubber, EPDM, Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR), nitriles, fluoroelastomers, and a range of Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE).
Various Factors Cause Raw Material Price Increases
Growing demand for the materials across many industries, weather conditions, currency fluctuations, labor costs, and increases in oil prices have all contributed to the rising costs. Because Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR) is a material that remains flexible while withstanding extreme cold and heat, the automotive and aeronautics industries use the compound for fuel and oil hoses, seals, and cabin components. Torrential rains in Malaysia, Southern Thailand and other rubber-producing areas have caused floods that damaged plantations. Increases in crude oil and natural gas prices have also contributed to the rise in production costs.
The significant increases in the price of butadiene serve as an example of the impact on the glove industry. In late 2016, a wet ton of butadiene cost $950. The price for the same quantity of butadiene reached $2500 in January 2017, and butadiene prices peaked at $2,870 per wet ton later in 2017. Factors causing those increases included a shortage of butadiene caused by outages within several major butadiene facilities in Asia, as well as the recovery of China’s automobile industry.
Raw Material Price Increases Impact Glove Costs
Every hike in raw butadiene costs impacts synthetics such as nitrile, and manufacturers produce nitrile rubber through the polymerization of butadiene and acrylonitrile. In addition to the increases in rubber and butadiene costs, the costs for chemicals used to manufacture gloves and packaging materials have increased as well. Transportation costs have also increased with indicators showing a 49% increase in the cost to ship containers from Asia to North America.
Unsurprisingly, some glove manufacturers have responded to these cost increases by raising the prices of their gloves accordingly, passing their own rising costs directly to the consumer. While manufacturers made a few changes in price over the course of 2016, the number and scope of price increases have continued to grow by approximately three to five percent. As such, the average selling price of many companies’ gloves has largely reflected the rising costs of raw materials, transportation, and packaging.
Armor Guys Holds the Line on Cost
Armor Guys offers an extensive line of nitrile-coated gloves within the TAEKI5, BASETEK, CHEMIFLEX, DUTY, and EXTRAFLEX product ranges. When viewed across the entire product range, the gloves provide solutions for industries including construction, manufacturing, automotive assembly, oil and gas, chemical processing, metal assembly, and more.
While other glove manufacturers have increased consumer costs for their products, Armor Guys has remained firm on prices and will continue to do so. Armor Guys has a long-term sustainability vision that covers the volatility of the commodity and resource costs, allowing Armor Guys to achieve capital protection and cost control. This allows us to keep prices low for our customers, even when the competition doesn’t.