The polymers market is rapidly evolving. Since the 1960s, global production of plastics increased twentyfold. According to a study by Grand View Research, the global plastics market is expected to reach USD 654.38 billion by 2020. Here, Marta Danylenko, marketing manager at online materials database Matmatch, looks at the rapidly changing polymers industry.
Continuous innovation and new technologies allowed polymer producers to develop exciting new products that surpass the benefits of traditional materials such as glass, metals, paper, wood, leather and ceramics. Low cost, availability of raw materials, flexibility of use and easy manufacturing made plastics the material of choice in many new industries.
Global plastics demand was 233.75 million tonnes in 2013 and is expected to reach 334.83 million tonnes by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 5.3% from 2014 to 2020, according to the same study. Key driving factors for global plastic demand is the massive growth of end-use industries such as plastic packaging, construction and automotive.
In addition, demand for high-performance plastics is being fuelled by the automotive industry that is actively seeking for materials that will enhance fuel efficiency.
But growing environmental concerns, efficient plastics disposal and recycling, sustainability and raw material prices are posing a serious challenge to the market players. For polymers producers to thrive, they must offer materials that product designers can easily use in more sustainable ways and make good use of innovative new sources of raw material to improve the quality of recycled or bioplastic products.
Additionally, they should use the limitless possibilities of new polymers to secure new, high-value applications, and capture the imaginations of design engineers.
There are a number of opportunities for plastics producers outlined in this latest whitepaper, including the continued growth of fluoropolymers applications, new polymers, such as Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and how bioplastics can represent the future of packaging.