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Plated plastics market to see significant growth upto 2023 amid strong focus by automobile and electronics manufacturers for aesthetics

Plated plastics market to see significant growth upto 2023 amid strong focus by automobile and electronics manufacturers for aesthetics

Rising applications in automotive and electronics industry has been a major factor driving the Plating on Plastic (PO) market growth. POP involves plating a metal such as chrome, nickel and others onto a polymer substrate. It is done in order to deliver functional and decorative benefits to the resin. The global plating on plastics market is expected to reach US$777.27 mln by 2025, as per Grand View Research. Plating ability has an inverse relation with the chemical resistance of the polymer substrate, which means higher the chemical resistance, the more difficult it is to plate. Thus, manufacturers prefer ABS for plating. ABS was estimated as the largest plastic category in 2016 and is expected to grow substantially over the forecast period. Other popular plastic types include ABS/PC, PBT, PEEK and others. Applications in electronics are expected to register the fastest growth over the next eight years with an estimated CAGR of around 8.1% from 2017 to 2025. Added benefits of metal to the plastic substrate enhance the overall strength, aesthetic appearance and corrosion resistance of the product. The finished product is light weight and is ideal to be used in automotive, electronics and other end use industries. Increasing environmental concerns and need for cheaper light weight vehicles is posing higher demand for POP market. The application areas of POP are also expanding in utilities, medical devices and consumer goods owing to their wide benefits.

Plating on Plastics (POP) industry has generated a decent momentum over the past few years with automotive industry taking a major share credit. Plastics play an important role in vehicle design, topping the vehicle differentiation criteria, an obvious reason for OEMs to contribute heavily towards the POP market share. Moreover, the aesthetic appeal of the vehicles in notably influencing the buying probability of the automobiles, which has further led to enhance the POP industry. According to Global Market Insights, Inc. “Plating on plastics (POP)" market is projected to surpass a revenue of US$649 mln by 2023, from US$377.8 mln in 2015 registering a CAGR of 7.1%. Plating on plastics further imparts the vehicles with corrosion and wear resistant properties, which will expand its application area in the automotive sector. The expanding polymer industry and its growing use in automobile sector will also generate heavy growth opportunities for the POP market players. Polymers which account for almost 15-20% of the overall car weight, play a vital role in determining the vehicle efficiency, making the manufacturers to deploy high-performance and lightweight polymers in the vehicles. ABS, which is the predominant polymer used in plastic plating, attained a revenue of US$265 mln in 2015. Also, ABS/PC, another prominent polymer in the POP market is estimated to register the highest annual growth rate of 6.8% over the period of 2016-2023.
POP Market
In addition to this, the growing emphasis on curtailing the carbon emissions via automobiles will also expand the POP industry outlook over the coming years. Light-weight vehicles are appraised to perform better in terms of efficiency and lesser carbon emissions, which will increase the adoption of POP by the manufacturers. As per the study, in 2015, automotive applications accounted for approximately 80% of the POP industry share, leading the application landscape. The trend is likely to continue with the increasing use of plastic plating not only by the OEMs, but also to a decent extent by the aftermarket. Asia Pacific is slated to emerge as a prominent region participating in the plating on plastics market growth. Expanding automotive industry in APAC and favorable regional regulations will draw the attention of the manufacturers to extend their regional base in APAC countries. China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia are likely to lead the regional POP industry share. Asia Pacific plating on plastics market size is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 7% over the period of 2016-2023. Europe POP industry, on account of the presence of giant OEMs such as BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Renault, etc., is poised to witness a substantial growth over the coming six years. UK and Germany are projected to be the major revenue pockets for Europe.  Plating on plastics (POP) industry is on the verge of a major drift, based on the regulations imposed regarding the use of chrome based plating. September 21, 2017 has been set as the sunset date by REACH to eliminate the use of chromium trioxide. The major industry players such as Dow Electronic Materials, Enthone, etc. are taking measures towards developing alternatives to offer plating solutions optimizing the aesthetic appeal and corrosion resistance of the vehicles. For instance, Dow Electronic Materials has developed ECOPOSIT™ CF-800 chromium-free etch, abiding by the regulatory norms set by REACH.
POP industry is poised to see interesting developments over the coming years, with its likely stepping in the specialty chemicals market. The market players are likely to enter into strategic collaborations with the specialty chemicals manufacturers to reduce the raw material cost and enable backward integration process. The market is highly fragmented with Bolta Werke, SRG Global, Sarrel Group, and Xinpoint accounting for the top players. An intense competition is on the cards over the coming years, with chemical and process providers sharing the POP business space.
Global plated plastics market size was 85.9 mln square meters in 2015. Vehicle performance is somewhat similar across segments for most OEMs, aesthetic value from chrome plated plastics may offer product differentiation on design parameters. Chrome plated ABS was most commonly used as a surface and accounted for over 75% of the total demand in 2015. Ease in etching and quick adhesion with other substrates coupled with low cost in comparison to other polymers makes ABS usage predominant in plating on plastics market share. PC/ABS chrome plating market offers high temperature automotive application capabilities such as wheel covers and is forecast to achieve highest gains at 7% up to 2023. PC/ABS plating contains anywhere between 40% & 60% ABS with rest accounted by PC. Norms regularized to eliminate hexavalent chromium usage owing to environmental hazards is set to challenge industry growth. 21st September, 2017 is the sunset date from REACH in the EU for the POP industry to stop using hexavalent chromium. Sharper angles & holes resulting from complexity in polymer design may cause non uniform plating deposits on substrates, which may also contribute to hamper growth. Dow and Enthone have developed technologies to eliminate hexavalent chromium usage and comply with REACH guidelines.
Global Plating on plastics market size is set to grow at 6.5% CAGR and reach 141.6 million square meters by 2023. Plated plastics market size analysis expects significant growth owing to strong focus by automobile manufacturers for imparting aesthetic appearance to vehicle design apart from performance specifications.

Plating on plastics (POP) refers to the application of metal onto plastic surfaces by electroplating. Plastics are plated with metals such as chromium and nickel to give them the luster expected of metal surfaces and enhance features such as corrosion resistance, abrasion resistance, toughness, and ease of cleaning. Plating on plastics technology has provided a viable third way for manufacturers, as metal plating introduces the benefits of metal surfaces without compromising on the structural benefits of plastics. As a result, plating on plastics technology is gaining attention from several industries looking for wider uses of plastics in a variety of applications such as medical devices and consumer goods.
As per Transparency Market Research,  the rising demand for lightweight and high-performance substitutes to metals in the automotive industry is one of the major factors driving the global plating on plastics market. Rising consumer awareness regarding the environmental and performance benefits of lightweight vehicles has led to the increased use of a variety of plastics and metal-plastic polymers in the automotive industry, which is a key driver for the global plating on plastics market. The automotive industry is thus the leading end user of the plating on plastics technique. The sector employs plating on plastics across verticals ranging from internal decorative elements to exterior protective elements and accessories in basic as well as premium cars. Apart from the automotive industry, the consumer goods, food and beverages, and cosmetics industries are the key consumers of plating on plastics technology. The global POP market also earns a major share of its revenue from its application in the plumbing sector. Owing to the protection afforded by plating on plastics against water, they are becoming the preferred material in the plumbing industry. The metal finish of POP-treated polymers makes them ideal for use in areas that are constantly subjected to humid and intermittent hot and cold conditions, such as bathroom fittings. This is likely to remain a key driver for the global plating on plastics market in the coming years, as the demand for plumbing from the residential as well as commercial construction is likely to grow in the coming years.
The global plating on plastics market is presently led by Europe owing to the presence of some of the world’s leading automotive companies in Central and Western Europe. The recent global economic depression, which had an especially strong impact on a number of industries in Europe, has also had a major impact on the region’s automotive industry, which has impacted the POP market adversely. However, steady recovery looks likely for the automotive industry in the coming years, presenting major growth opportunities for the plating on plastics market as well. Asia Pacific presents major growth opportunities for the global POP market owing to the rising demand for passenger and luxury vehicles in developing countries such as India and China. The rapidly rising population of high disposable income demographics in these countries has led to an increased demand for passenger and commercial vehicles in the past few years, leading to increased prospects for the plating on plastics market. The global POP market features a large number of vendors operating in intense competition. The highly fragmented competitive landscape has prompted market players to invest more in research and the development of more effective and reliable plating on plastic technologies. Acquisition of specialty chemical manufacturers is a popular trend among companies in the plating on plastic market. Some of the major companies in the market are Applegate, Helco Metal, Sarrel Group, Thanh Luan, Trenton, Bolta Werke, Chromal, BEP Surface Technology, and Xinpoint.

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