Plastics have a lot of advantages to offer and can replace metals or ceramics effectively in many cases. There is a distinction between thermosetting plastics, elastomers, and thermoplastics among different types of polymers. Engineering plastics are a set of plastic materials possessing better mechanical and thermal properties in comparison with other commodity plastics. The physical properties of engineering plastics makes them suitable for use in structural applications, in a wide temperature range, under mechanical stress, and in challenging chemical and physical environments.Rising demand for replacement of traditional materials with engineering plastics will support the market growth in the future
In comparison with metals for a given application, plastics may offer advantages as transparency, self-lubrication, as well as the economy in fabricating and decorating. Plastics are flexible; they are electrical nonconductors and thermo-insulators, which is either an advantage or disadvantage, depending on the usage. Properties of plastics can be modified through the use of reinforcing agents, fillers, and chemical additives. Engineering applications for plastics include mechanical units under stress, low friction components, heat and chemical resistant units, electrical parts, housings, high light transmission applications, construction equipment, and many other miscellaneous uses.
In 2017, the major end-user of engineering plastics was the automotive sector, which contributed to 21% of the overall market. Globally, the demand for engineering plastics is being driven by the growing number of automobile users along with the increased concern over fuel emissions. Yet another industry with major application of engineering plastics is the electronics industry, which is the biggest industry compared to all other major industries.
The automotive and conveyance markets have become even more international, which is all set to open a novel world of opportunities for the suppliers and the manufacturers. Engineering plastics for the automotive and transportation industries that yield consistent results, time after time and from region to region, is in high demand.
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The prime factors fueling the demand for engineering plastics are attributed to metal replacement in the construction, automotive, and electrical & electronics industries. Technological advancements such as 3D printing and a growing photovoltaic industry are expected to boost the market further as well.
Asia-Pacific with increased concentration of industrial clusters accounted for more than 40% of the global engineering plastics market in 2017, and is expected to maintain its dominance over the coming years. Increasing focus on the durability of devices, machinery, and components in harsh and high-temperature conditions provide an impetus to the usage of engineering plastics.
Globally, engineering plastics is a well-established and fairly mature industry. However, growth opportunities still exist owing to the good potential of the raw materials utilized in the manufacturing process to replace traditional materials as well as because of the ever-enhancing properties due to significant R&D. With the technological advancements on the rise in the near future, sustainable alternatives for the manufacturing of engineering plastics will evolve.
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