|Global plastic additive demand has been on the rise since level of 8.3 mln tons in 2000. Plastic additives demand in 2009 reached 11.1 mln tons, and is estimated to reach 13.2 mln tons in 2015, as per GBI Research�s report. Demand for plastics is increasing as they offer a number of advantages over other materials in growing sectors like automobiles and construction. The global economy is also recovering from recession and with this recovery, demand is bound to rise at a fast pace. Demand for PVC which is used in the construction industry will witness resurgence and correspondingly the demand for plasticizers which are mainly used for PVC will increase. Therefore, the demand for plastics additives is expected to increase in near future.
Plasticizers represent more than a 50% share of plastic additives demand by volume- with a largest share by volume. Plasticizer demand in 2009 was 5.7 mln tons constituting a share of 51.8%. The second largest share was that of property modifiers followed by property extenders and processing aids respectively.
Plasticizers are used in a large number of industries. They are added to cement to make it more flexible and reduce the need to use water. These are also added to rocket fuels to make them more liquid and increase the flowability of the fuels. In short, they are used at a place where the flowability or flexibility of the material is to be increased and the use of water is to be limited. In case of plastics, they are used mostly with PVC. Therefore, demand of PVC had a great effect on demand for plasticizers in the plastics industry. Global plasticizers market was worth US$9 bln in 2009. Of all the plasticizers, around 90% by volume are made of phthalates. Property modifiers are the second most important category of additives after plasticizers. They held a 27.3% share of the plastic additives market in 2009. Global property modifiers market was worth US$10.1 bln in 2009. Of the different property modifiers, flame retardants are the fastest growing segment followed by antioxidants. Property modifiers include antimicrobials, antioxidants, antistatic agents, biodegradable plasticizers, blowing agents, flame retardants and impact modifiers. Each of these additives, when added to the plastics, changes their property in a certain favorable direction. These additives are usually added to the plastics in combination with property extenders, processing aids and plasticizers, and are rarely used alone.
Property extenders help a material in increasing or decreasing certain properties depending on the need for which the plastic material is to be used. For example, light stabilizers are added to the material to prevent its decay under UV rays. Therefore, when a plastic material is to be used in such places where it is being exposed to UV rays, light stabilizers are added. Global property extenders market has been increasing over the past. It was worth US$5.2 bln in 2009. Property extenders include external lubricants, fillers, fragrances, heat stabilizers, internal lubricants, light stabilizers, pigments and reinforcements. These additives are also used in combination with other additives and are rarely used alone.
Processing aids : are added to make the handling of the plastics easy during processing. They make the recycling of the plastics easier. Global processing aids market has been increasing at a very slow pace. Global processing aids market in 2009 was worth US$0.6 bln in 2009. The prices of processing aid additives are usually low as compared to other additives.