Will Adoption of Polycarbonate Resins in Pillar-less Front Windows Create a New Stream of Opportunities?
Materials with highly versatile properties have garnered considerable traction in recent years, as industries set their focus on leveraging the multifaceted options, while they aim to suffice the growing consumer demand for quality-driven offerings. For instance, polycarbonate resin’s unique properties have helped it become a material of choice for a wide range of applications that need impact resistance.
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Polycarbonate resins outperform transparent polymers, such as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), and have emerged as a viable option to be used in transparent materials where safety is a key prerequisite. These fascinating attributes allow for polycarbonate application in a wide range of products that include electronic equipment, construction glazing, greenhouses, automotive parts, exterior lighting fixtures, medical devices, and sports safety equipment.
Over the years, the production of polycarbonate resins has picked pace in various regions, with worldwide production taking a leap from 4,913 KT recorded in 2009 to 5,603 KT in 2018. An increased number of companies have recognized the potential applications of polycarbonate resins in a sweeping range of industries. Though worldwide production is growing at a steady pace, several developing countries continue to import polycarbonate resins instead of switching to large-scale production. China, for instance, accounts for ~ 40% shares in the global polycarbonate resins market and currently relies on other regions for polycarbonate resins. In 2018, China’s polycarbonate resins production capacity was recorded to be just about 943 KT, whereas the imports reached1398.00 KT, indicates research.
This import and production scenario of polycarbonate resins is likely to witness a considerable shift, as China looks forward to increasing production at large scale while reducing its dependence on imports. The polycarbonate resins industry will continue to witness a turmoil of changes in countries like China, as the manufacturers recognize suitable technologies and raw materials to turn the pain point of pricing in favor.
Sales Remain Concentrated in Electrical & Electronics Industry
The global sales of polycarbonate resins managed to reach ~US$14.6 Bn in 2018. Since the commercialization of polycarbonate resins in the 1960s, a majority of the revenue generation in the market has remained concentrated in the electrical & electronics and building & construction industries. These industries collectively held ~ 53% revenues in 2018, and are highly likely to remain a hotbed of application opportunities for polycarbonate resins manufacturers.
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Broadening applications of polycarbonate resins are enabling manufacturers to penetrate a wide range of industries while witnessing notable demand from across the globe. A bulk of adoption has remained restricted to general-purpose grade applications; however, the optical grade value of polycarbonate resins is set to grow in the years to come, as industries continue to shift their focus from aesthetics to functionality.
The automotive industry, for instance, is witnessing rapid winds of change, with automakers leveraging every possible way to stay at par with the altering trends, such as the growing demand for lightweight models. This emerging trend is underway and here to stay for the years to come, as every ~10% of vehicle weight reduction tends to improve the fuel economy by ~ 5%. Moreover, aggravating environmental concerns pertaining to fuel emissions has been compelling automakers to innovate with functional materials.
Automotive Industry, the Frontier of Growth
Automakers who once underestimated the value of plastics are now recognizing its role in the development of various components, as they focus on developing lighter vehicle components to meet regulatory requisites. Polymers have aided vehicle enhancement for generations, and it is pertinent to note that they reduce the overall vehicle weight when they replace bulkier materials, such as glass and metal, ultimately saving energy. Several automakers are experimenting with key vehicle components to fit in well to the shifting customer-expectations while complying with the existing regulations in the automotive industry.