• Shale gas developments in the USA will lead to major reduction in the cost of polyethylene (PE) as well as reduce energy cost of subsequent film production. Gradually, North America's polymer cost base could be on par with that in the Middle East, causing PE film exports from North America to surpass those of the Middle East. This projected cost advantage, combined with the technological expertise of US polyethylene film producers, will ensure that they become truly global players and result in shake-up of the worldwide PE film market. Other factors that will impact production include continuing investment in export-oriented regions such as the Middle East and South East Asia, and growth of the middle classes in less developed regions. Read more in Shale gas developments in USA to impact growth in polyethylene film usage and global trade

  • An ongoing process of integration of naphtha crackers in Japan has been compelled by a loss of competitiveness. The growing role of shale gas-based feedstocks is raising concerns over the resulting shortages of specific fractions from crackers. Additionally energy conservation has become more pressing in Japan since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and associated nuclear disaster at Fukushima.  Japan’s chemical companies are in competition to develop new olefin production processes. Its innovative production and catalytic technologies are rated highly in both domestic and overseas markets. The ability of the industry to innovate has the potential to offset the handicap of its heavy reliance on imported feedstock. Read more in Chemical makers in Japan develop new olefin production processes amid steady stream of serious issues

  • Synthetic paper is manufactured by using resins, has characteristics similar to regular paper made from wood pulp, but in appearance it looks like plastic films. Mostly, it is opaque or white color which has printing and processing capabilities. Usually, synthetic paper is made up of HDPE or BOPP and few amounts of polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These materials are used for giving better printability and a matt surface. Synthetic paper can be segmented on the basis of applications into non-label segment and labels/tags. Growing demand from end-user industries, especially from the cosmetics and chemicals industries, is expected to drive the market. Read about the growth drivers, trends, growth region, growing applications, the challenges faced, etc, in Increasing recognition of eco friendliness to drive global synthetic paper market to US$342.8 mln by 2020

  • The global automotive plastics industry is estimated to grow significantly until the end of the decade, driven by increasing demand of lightweight materials, government regulations and improvements in vehicle design. Plastic helps auto manufacturers to reduce its production and assembly costs and produce more attractive, yet more appealing functional designs. Strong growth in vehicle production will propel Asia Pacific to leading the global automotive plastics industry. Growing demand of vehicles from emerging economies, such as China, India and Latin American countries is anticipated to boost the industry. The industry faces hurdles in the form of volatile raw materials prices and huge investment in new material research activities. To know more about the growth opportunities, key drivers, emerging trends and challenges faced by the industry, read Light weighting to drive global automotive plastics market beyond US$41 bln by 2020

  • The property of hydrogels to reversibly change their size and shape under different conditions makes them attractive for a wide variety of applications, including artificial muscles, drug delivery and sensors. However, despite studies in stimuli-sensitive hydrogels over a few decades, their commercialization for applications is rare. One of the biggest problems is that they are usually weak and brittle, causing them to easily break when stretched. This has been overcome with new developments by two teams in two continents. Read more in Extremely stretchable hydrogel could find use in artificial muscles, hydrogel that is stiff and tough