Global market for Engineering Plastics is projected to reach 25.4 mln metric tons by 2020, driven by sustained economic growth, and expanding applications in key end-use sectors, as per Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Engineering plastics represent one of the ubiquitous raw materials used in a wide gamut of industries ranging from construction, automotives, industrial manufacturing equipment, to mechanical engineering. Demand has been rising over the years with increasing replacement of traditional materials such as metals, wood and glass with engineering plastics in various end-use sectors. In developed countries, shifting preferences away from wood, steel and metal is benefiting demand. Also poised to drive growth are factors such as innovation, technology developments in material performance, and emergence of new application areas.
Increasing focus on lower emissions, low vehicle weight and improved fuel efficiency is poised to fuel the demand for engineering plastics in the automotive sector. The market is also benefitting from strong sales of passenger cars in developing nations such as India, China and Brazil. In the electrical and electronics sector, emerging applications include use in mini circuit breakers, low voltage switchgear, lamp fitting, connectors and luminaries. Demand for engineering plastics in medical applications is expected to rise in line with the ageing population and the ensuing increase in prevalence of chronic age related diseases. The trend towards use of disposable products and supplies will remain a major factor fuelling growth in the medical sector. Innovation plays an important role in determining the pace of growth in the market. The need for better technologies, processes and products is primarily driven by manufacturers’ desire to cut down on production costs and improve economies of scale, without compromising quality and performance parameters. Polycarbonate (PC), which is fast gaining popularity in commodity plastics due to its unique optical properties, represents one of the leading product markets worldwide. New R&D efforts aimed at improving the efficacy of PC will help expand application possibilities for the latter. Automotive engineering is poised to remain the key end-use market driving consumption of PC. Growth in the manufacture and commercialization of bio-based raw material is forecast to grow in markets where presence of bisphenol-A residue is strictly regulated. Asia-Pacific represents the largest as well as the fastest growing market worldwide. Led by China and India, Asia-Pacific is projected to record a CAGR of 9.1% over the analysis period. Increasing purchasing power of the expanding middle class population in the region is seen as the primary factor fueling demand for automobiles, and electronic appliances, which in turn is helping spur consumption of engineering plastics as an intermediary production raw material. Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) represents the largest product segment in the global market, while the automotive sector represents the major end-use market.