Demand for engineered plastics such as Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) is largely dependent on the growth trends in key end use industries including automotive, electrical and electronics, and consumer appliances. One of the main factors affecting the engineered plastics market is the level and the rate of replacement of traditional materials. In the developed countries, there has been a significant conversion from metal to engineered plastics in almost all key industries. In the developing countries however there is gross underutilization of the material, with per capita consumption level of less than half kilogram in some Asia-Pacific countries, as per Global Industry Analysts Inc.
Polybutylene Terephthalate is a semi-crystalline thermoplastic performance-engineering polymer that is also popularly known as polytetramethylene terephthalate (PTMT). The compound features exceptional dimensional precision, thermal stability, moulding stability and superior electrical characteristics and entails high heat-resistant and superior electrical insulation properties. Automotive engineering is an expanding application area for PBT. Usage of PBT enables in reducing cost and weight of the car by finding application in carrier units, water pump impellers, sparkplug connectors, throttle valve housing, ignition distributors, mounting boxes for truck intercoolers and equipment boxes. Following two years of stagnation due to lower discretionary spends and weak demand in the automotive, consumer, and electronics sector amid the recession, the market for PBT is currently showing signs of revival but limited to resumption of lost demand. Replenishing of depleting inventories in the supply chain as a result of replenished production activity buoyed by improving end-user demand is expected to perk up demand for engineering plastics. Continued shifting of global production bases to low cost Asian countries, increase in foreign investments, and rise in the number of new manufacturing establishments is expected to push Asia-Pacific into a prime driver of growth. The increasing application of sensors and control components in the automobile and appliances industry is expected to drive the demand for PBT. Further the current trend towards substitution of metals by plastics is expected to increase its penetration. Besides this, demand for efficient material properties and improved processing capabilities is likely to accelerate product innovations in the PBT market.
Asia-Pacific represents the largest and fastest growing market for Polybutylene Terephthalate, as stated by the new market research report on Polybutylene Terephthalate. China and India are forecast to especially emerge over the global horizon to drive growth in the medium to long-term period. The already expanding automobile demand in these countries, brings forth the potential opportunities in these markets. The demand for PBT in China is driven by the swelling automobile production base and extensive usage of PBT in switches, connectors, circuit breakers by the electronic and electrical industry. Currently about 50% of the PBT demand in China is met through imports. Urged on by the processors, PBT producers, during the last few years have developed several new products with sufficiently high flow characteristics. With the significance of PBT gradually improving in applications such as automobiles, plastic manufacturers are focusing on further technological development of PBT to cascade the cost benefits to consumers. The use of nanoparticles along with PBT represents such a move. Currently PBT products that feature exceptional resistance to hydrolysis are attracting attention. In line with the growing clamor for environment protection through resource conservation and use of renewable resources, PBT producers are also developing products with large amount of recycled polymer content. There are over 50 companies engaged in the manufacture of PBT plastics, the major suppliers being SABIC, Ticona, Dupont, BASF, Lanxess, Celanese, Teijin, and Toray. Over the years, competition in the global PBT market intensified, as mid-size producers, particularly from Asia commenced expansion moves in foreign markets outside Asia. Besides, the spawning number of small producers in Asia resulted in oversupply situation, which led several producers to cut operating rates. Select major players profiled in the report include BASF SE, Bayer AG, Celanese Corporation, DSM Engineering Plastics, Dupont, Lanxess AG, Lurgi Zimmer GmbH, Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, Polyplastics Co., SABIC, Toray Industries, WinTech Polymer Ltd., among others.