The value chain of foam covers a wide variety of industrial activities, including the automotive industry (soft skin safety applications), white goods industry (insulation for refrigerators and freezers) and the building industry (wall-, floor- and roofing insulation).
There are several important system providers which formulate blends that best match the performance required for a particular application. Although there are a number of large scale foam manufacturers, the sector consists predominantly of Small and Medium sized Enterprises, employing between 10 and 50 people. Total employment directly related to the production of foam in Europe is estimated between 10.000 and 15.000.
No precise data are available of the economic contribution of foam in terms of value added throughout the value chain. Assuming a share of between 0.5 and 1.0 % of industrial output, it would be about EURO 16 billion p.a.