Micro injection polymer molding is a process requiring specific molding machines with high speed, injection pressure, ultra fine resolution and precise shot control for molding micro sized parts and tools. Growing demand for miniature materials for various applications spread across widespread end use industries including medical, electronics, automotive and telecom is expected to be a key factor driving the overall market for microinjection polymer molding. Some of the major polymers used for microinjection molding include polyether ether ketone (PEEK), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polyethylene, polyoxymethylene, liquid crystal polymer (LCP) and polylactic acid (PLA). Thermoplastics are the most widely used polymers for microinjection molding and accounted for over 65% of market revenue in 2012. Shift in trend towards replacing polymers containing phthalates such as PVC with thermoplastics coupled with increasing demand for micro materials has prompted the use micro molding in medical industry. Micro molded parts are largely used for manufacturing ear implants, micro filters, precision blades, bearing caps and some others devices/equipments which require precise features and geometries. Other applications of micro molded parts include wheel, micro gear plate and operating pin which are widely used in automotive and drive systems. Microinjection molding holds various advantages over micromachining. Micro injection molding takes relatively less time to mold the components and utilizes low priced feedstock such as PEEK compared to micro machining which uses stainless steel and results in increased cost efficiency. On the other hand, micro machining usually requires high cost raw materials such as ceramic and metallic materials which leads to high product cost. North America emerged as the leading market for microinjection polymer molding followed by Asia Pacific and Europe. Application development in the US has been a key factor for micro molded polymer penetration in the region. North America along with being the biggest market is also expected to be the fastest growing market for microinjection polymer molding. However, lack of awareness regarding the benefits offered by micro molding mainly in under developed countries is expected to hinder the market growth over the next six years.
The global market for microinjection polymer molding is expected to reach US$897.3 mln by 2020; according to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc. Growing demand for small sized components mainly from the medical industry is expected to be a key driving factor for the market. Microinjection molding is used to manufacture highly valued micro medical components such as sensors, implants, tubes, catheter tips and microoptics among some other components; the growing demand for these has had a positive impact on the market. The report further observes that shift in trend towards adoption of micromolding over micromachining, owing to its cost efficiency and development of microoptics and microfluidics technologies, particularly in North America and Europe is also expected to play a major role in the market growth. North America emerged as the leading market for microinjection polymer molding, accounting for more than 40% of the total market in 2012. Rapid technological advancement, mainly in the U.S. has been a key factor for market development. In addition, increasing healthcare expenditure is also expected to fuel the demand for microinjection molding market. North American micro molders gained the advantage of moving early into a high growth market eyeing a sustainable future
Rapid development of various micro technologies including microoptics and microfluidics mainly in Western Europe is expected to drive the market for microinjection polymer molding in Europe. Germany holds a major chunk in the European market for microinjection molding on account of increasing medical expenditure and country’s lead position in automobile manufacturing. European market for micro injection molding is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.8% from 2013 to 2020. Asia Pacific is still a large untapped market and hold immense opportunities in the years to come. Asia Pacific is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.9% from 2013 to 2020. However, lack of awareness regarding the benefits offered using micro molded polymers mainly in under developed countries of Middle East, Africa, Latin America and South Asia is expected to hinder the market growth over the forecast period. Production of microinjection molded polymers is concentrated mainly in Europe and North America. Some of the major companies operating in the global market include Accu-Mold LLC, ALC Precision, American Precision Products, Makuta Technics, Micromolding Solution Inc., Precimold Incorporation, Rapidwerks, Stack Plastics Inc., Stamm AG and Sovrin Plastics among some other companies.
Key application segments analyzed and reported in this study include medical & healthcare, telecom fiber optics, automotive and micro drive systems & control among others. Medical & healthcare emerged as the leading application segment for micro injection polymer molding industry and accounted for just over 33% of total revenue in 2012. Shift in trend toward adoption of micro sized components in medical industry on account of increasing number of Minimally Invasive Surgeries (MIS) is expected to drive micro injection polymer demand for healthcare applications over the next six years. Along with being the largest market, medical and healthcare is also expected to be the fastest growing market for micro injection polymer molding at an estimated CAGR of 15.2% from 2013 to 2020. Medical and healthcare was followed by automotive which accounted approximately 25% of the total market in 2012. The global market for micro injection polymer molding in automotive industry is expected to exceed a market worth US$200 mln by 2020 at an estimated CAGR of 14.2% from 2013 2020. Growing demand for micro gears is expected to drive the demand for micro injection polymer molding in micro drive system and control applications. The global market for micro molding in micro drives system and control is expected to exceed US$120 mln by 2020 at an estimated CAGR of 13.9% from 2013 to 2020.
The global polymer and thermoplastic micro molding market was valued at US$308 mln in 2012 and is expected to reach US$763.6 mln by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 14.2% from 2013 to 2019, as per Transparency Market Research. Growing demand for micro molded products from various end use industries such as medical, automotive and telecom coupled with cost advantage offered by polymers used for micro molding is expected to drive the market over the forecast period. The rapid development of micro fluidics and micro optics technologies mainly in the U.S. and Europe are also expected to augment the market. In addition, the growing number of MIS (minimally invasive surgeries) which extensively use micro molding is expected to boost the market for thermoplastic micro molding over the forecast period. However, the lack of awareness in developing regions such as Latin America, South East Asia and Middle East is expected to hinder the market growth. Medical and healthcare emerged as the leading market for micro molding and accounted for 35% of the total thermoplastic micro molded products in 2012. It is also expected to be the fastest growing market for micro molded thermoplastics over the forecast period. Automotive application is expected to exceed US$151 mln by 2019. The growing production of automotives across the globe is expected to drive the market for micro molding over the forecast period. Telecom fiber optics and micro drive systems and control are expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 13.8% and 14% respectively, from 2013 to 2019. North America has been dominating the polymer micro molding market with high consumption of small sized products in several end-use industries and accounted for nearly 44% of the total revenue in 2012. Growing awareness of micro molding and early adoption of the technology in Europe are expected to lead high growth in demand for micro molded products. European polymer micro molding market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.5% between 2013 and 2019. The Asia Pacific market is expected to reach nearly US$110 mln by 2019. Rest of the world polymer micro molding market was valued at US$11.9 mln in 2012. North America continued to lead the global market and accounted for more than 48% of the total thermoplastic micro molded revenue in 2012. Micro molding is still in its infancy stage in Asia Pacific with most of the Asia Pacific market being captured by Japan. However, the region holds great potential for growth in the near future and is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 14.8% from 2013 to 2019. European thermoplastic micro molding market is expected to reach approximately US$219 mln by 2019. Germany accounts for almost half of the total micro molding market owing to its growing healthcare expenditure and its leading position in automobile manufacturing. Rest of the world thermoplastic micro molding market was worth US$7.4 mln in 2012. The market for micro molding is mainly situated in the western hemisphere of the world. Some of the well known micro molders include Accumold, ALC Precision, Micromold Inc, American Precision Products, Makuta Technics, Micromolding Solutions, Micro Precision Products, Precimold Inc, Rolla AG, Rapidwerks, Stack Plastics, Stamm and Sovrin Plastics.
As per Research and Markets, in the medical industry, micro injection molding is conducted to manufacture parts such as sensors, implants, tubes, catheter tips, micro optics and others. Molded products are slowly replacing machined components that have been used traditionally in the industry. The growing trend of small devices coupled with increasing number of minimally invasive surgeries per day has been boosting the demand for micro sized parts from medical device manufacturers. The key advantage of micro injection molding over micromachining is cost savings. Micro injection molding takes a fraction of time to mold the components and utilizes low cost raw materials compared to machining and results in high cost savings. Medical and healthcare applications dominated thermoplastics micro molding market and accounted for 35% of the total market in 2012. The rapid development of micro fluidics technology mainly in North America and Europe is expected to drive the market for micro molding in medical and healthcare over the forecast period. Micro molding is used for manufacturing micro connectors in telecom fiber optics. Telecom fiber optics application is expected to exceed US$95 mln by 2019. Micro molding is used for manufacturing micro switches, connectors and airbag sensors in the automotive industry. It is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of nearly 14% from 2013 to 2019. Global thermoplastic micro molding demand from drive systems and control is expected to reach over US$89 mln by 2019.
Micro injection molding, as the name suggests, is a molding process which requires a specific molding machine with high injection pressure and speed, precise shot control, and ultra fine resolution for molding small sized tools and parts. This technique is used for the development of small or micro products that require precise specifications. Micro injection molding is usually done for the parts that are designed with weight less than a milligram and size less than 1mm. Use of this technique is not limited to only small parts but may be used for large products which require micro sized features such as thickness, diameter hole, etc. Silicone is the major raw material used for micro molding, owing to its physical and chemical properties. However, silicone is costly and impacts the profitability of molders. In order to reduce manufacturing cost, polymers came into existence in the 90s. Polymer based micro molded products find applications in almost all of the application areas where silicones are being used. Polymers are further classified as thermosets, thermoplastics and elastomers out of which thermoplastics are majorly used for various applications in end-use industries.