Plastic pollution has increasingly become a major threat to the entire environment. However, plastic remains an essential material that is used in our day-to-day activities. The business leaders are focusing on improvising and implementing the use of natural substances into plastics to avoid negative realities of using plastics. The trend that has struck the plastic industry is the use of bio-plastics that helps to reduce carbon footprint in the ecosystem. These bioplastics are made using natural elements such as corn, starch, fungus, and algae. There is a wide range of bio-plastics materials that are suitably used in the manufacturing of molded plastics. Bio-plastics are gaining rapid traction in the molded plastics market as they do not contain Bisphenol S (BPS). After the FDA executed the BPA-free regulations on products in baby accessories or feeding and food storage industries, the companies started to implement BPS chemical. In addition to this, the demand for algae in the plastics industry is increasing due to the growing production of plastic products. Algae help in ensuring sustainability and the greening process of plastics. In the recent era, algae-based plastics are the dominant trend. Owing to its several advantages, algae serves as an excellent feedstock for the production of molded plastics. The molded plastics market has been estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.1% during the forecast period 2019-2025. As of 2018, the global molded plastics market size was evaluated at $330 billion.
APAC Blow Molded Plastics Market
As of 2018, APAC held the largest regional share of 32% in the global Molded Plastics Market. The region is the largest consumer of molded plastics owing to the growing automotive and construction industry, particularly in China and India. Additionally, the governments support in the form of tax benefits and financial incentives in these two emerging countries is eventually increasing the Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) flow that is developing the molded plastics market in APAC. Due to the shift of manufacturing hubs towards countries such as China, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia is boosting the demand for molded plastics in the market.
Growth of Molded Plastics in the Application Industries
· Automotive Industry: According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), the total sales of automobiles recorded in 2017 was 97 million. The rapid increase in the number of automobiles is simultaneously growing the demand for molded plastics. The plastic industry is poised to play a vital role in the automotive industry. Molded plastics possess various properties that are suitable for the manufacturing of automobiles such as elasticity, versatility, high strength, insulation, and low maintenance. According to the Allen Institute of Artificial intelligence, an average vehicle uses around 150 kg of plastic composites and plastics. The industry uses plastics and engineered polymer composites as it is an important automotive material in a wide range of applications. In commercial vehicles, all the interior components such as doors, seat assemblies, and safety subsystems have 50% of plastic contents. Furthermore, high-performance plastics are considered as an essential element in the automotive industry these days. They are minimally corrosive and recyclable and allows longer vehicle life. It can be easily molded into advanced creative and innovative designs and provides flexibility in integrating components.
· Packaging Industry: According to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), in 2016, the global packaging industry stood at $700 billion and is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. The growing packaging industry is expected to increase the demand for molded plastics in the coming years. The High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) in the packaging application is massively used in injection molding of thin walls. The rise in the penetration of injection-molded HDPE in houseware, industrial pails, and shipping containers are increasing the demand for molded plastics in the packaging industry. In addition to this, a continuous increase in the demand from the consumer, food and beverage, medical, and pharmaceuticals industries for packaging is driving the growth of the molded plastics market. Moreover, the packaging industry is the fastest and leading segment of the molded plastic market, which is growing at a CAGR of 6.2% through to 2025.
· Medical Devices Industry: The manufacturers of the medical devices industry are using molded plastic to avoid expenses. Low-cost plastics are used in various medical equipment such as syringes, plastic instruments, disposable gowns, and gloves. These plastic products have replaced the glass products in recent times as the resins are available can be recycled easily when discarded after use and are not expensive. Subsequently, high-performance resins and polymers are used in pharmaceuticals plastic grades. These resins are currently even used in artificial joints that are these days being created for longevity and friction-free movement of the joints after replacement.
The Major Frontrunners in the Market
Some key players dominating the molded plastics market are LyondellBasell Industries, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Huntsman, INEOS Group, Chevron Philips Chemical, Chen Hsong holdings, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Exxon Mobil, DuPont de Nemours & Company, Chen Hsong holdings, BASF, and Eastman chemical. Many companies are introducing new products to increase their market presence or entering into strategic mergers and acquisition, joint ventures, and partnerships.
· LyondellBasell Acquired A.Schulman Inc.
In Aug 2018, LyondellBasell, leading chemical, plastic, and refining company in the world, acquired A. Schulman Inc., a global supplier of high-performance plastic compounds powders, and composites. Entity’s new product line will also include Advanced Polymer Solutions. The acquisition will operate as a single entity which will double LyondellBasell’s existing compounding business and will broaden its reach in the end-user industries such as construction materials, automotive, packaging, and electronic goods.
· DuPont Electronics & Imaging Announces the Launch of In-Mold Electronics Inks
In September 2018, DuPont Electronics & Imaging announced that it is launching its In-Mold Electronics (IME) materials second-generation with major advancements in the protection encapsulant, crossover dielectric, and electrically conductive adhesive. This technology includes functions such as lightening and touches controls that are directly inserted inside of plastic parts in plastic sheets through plastic circuits. These sheets are then injection molded and thermoformed further. It reduces the cost and weight that increases the functionality and design aesthetics in every end-use application.
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