Plastic has become an essential commodity in the daily lives of billions, it is extensively used in various applications after undergoing a particular process called compounding. Compounding enables modification of plastic properties in order to fulfill specific requirements. For example, after plastic compounding, it is possible to change the conductivity of plastic or its flame retardation property. Plastics in their base form are mixed with additives to enhance their properties, using extrusion.
Focus on Enhanced Properties
What makes a compounded plastic more attractive is the additive that is mixed with the base resin during extrusion. Natural fibers such as cotton, hemp jute, sisal, abaca, flax are used in the thermoplastic or a thermosetting polymer matrix to increase strength and stiffness. Plasticizers for flexibility, anti-oxidants for high-temperature stability, flame retardants or smoke suppressants, or conductive fibers for electrical properties are added which increases the overall utility of the plastic as well as its value.
The incremental growth in bioplastics has leveraged the plastic compounding market and is expected to grow at a steady pace in the coming years.
Demand for Compounded Plastics in the Packaging Industry
The global packaging industry is utilizing the power of compounding to its fullest potential. Different types of plastic totes, storage boxes or clear case covers are being manufactured to provide options for customers in strength, flexibility, clarity, stress whitening. These plastics are compounded also in compliance with food regulations which has turned out favorable for the industry. According to Plastics Europe, demand for plastic in Europe in 2018 was around 51.2 Million Tons of which 39.9% of the share was accounted for the packaging industry.
Another driver for plastics is its use in the cosmetics industry. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), around 18 million people in the U.S. underwent surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures in 2018. Companies are constantly trying to develop new and advanced plastics through compounding that can cater to the cosmetic industry.
The major contribution of plastic compounding is the decrease in carbon emissions. That’s right. Plastic compounding has enabled the automobile manufacturers to incorporate lightweight plastics with similar strength of metals such as steel and aluminum which has drastically reduced the vehicle weight resulting in a decrease in fuel consumption thereby resulting in lesser carbon emissions.
Plastic compounding will witness a healthy growth in the automobile industry as the advent of the electric vehicle will make automotive companies look into different options of compounded plastics. Plastics such as PVC, ABS, polypropylene, polyamide, and polystyrene are some of the plastics that are being heavily used in the automobile industry.
Plastic use in the building and construction industry is instrumental in the global plastic compounding market growth. The use of plastic is high in the construction industry is due to its high resistance to weathering, high flexibility, and lower costs. Plastics also have considerable strength which is another useful trait in the construction industry. Plastic in the form of roofing, insulation, wall coverings, pipings, windows
The World Moving towards Sustainability
The world is moving towards sustainability. So is the plastic compounding business. Bio-based plastics are quickly becoming the go-to alternative material. As per European Bioplastics, the global bio-based plastic production in 2019 was 941,000 tons as compared to 934,000 tons in 2018. Bio-based plastics particularly bio-based polypropylene (PP) and bio-based polyamides (PA) has witnessed considerable growth. The use of bio-based plastics has allowed end-users to reduce their carbon footprint and enabled them to carry out waste management effectively.
Borealis (Vienna) and Borouge (Abu Dahbi) in Nov 2019, launched compounds that are suitable for healthcare applications allowing maximum customization as per the required standards. Albis Plastic in June 2018, announced the launch of product portfolio for catering healthcare applications. Clariant Plastics & Coatings Healthcare Polymer Solutions Feb 2020, introduced a medical polymer resistant to hydrolytic degradation.
Polyone in May 2020 announced the launch of a specialty elastomer that offers high-temperature compression set performance, easier processing, and a lighter weight solution.
Polyone in May 2020 also introduced a laser weldable polyamide that improves weld strength and aesthetics for welded parts. This material can be used in applications such as automobiles, consumer goods, and medical devices.
Clariant’s additive business and Floreon-Transforming Packaging Ltd. announced a collaboration in March 2020 to develop bio-polymer applications keeping in mind the sustainability targets and catering to consumer demand for environmentally friendly products, especially in flexible packaging.
Plastic Compounding Market Segmentation
Central and South America and the Caribbean
The Middle East
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)