Polybutylene Terephthalate Market: A Snapshot
Polybutylene terephthalate products are widely used in various application including electrical engineering, automotive construction, fibers in toothbrushes, among others. PBT is also used in the textile industry for producing yarn, thanks to its stretchable qualities. And, its chlorine resistance promises new opportunities in swimwear textiles. However, the polymer remains in robust demand in its key application in electronic products, and industry. If you are looking to experiment with its next-gen applications, you can consider laser sintering.
- What is Laser Sintering?
Laser sintering is used in 3D printing applications, wherein full-body metal products are required to undergo rapid and quality production process. The growing demand for 3D printing in manufacturing of various kinds is expected to drive considerable growth for this application in the near future.
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- The Promise of Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) in Laser Sintering
3D printing also known as additive manufacturing is witnessing robust growth as it the process offers various advantages over fused deposition modelling (FDM). Some such applications include its ability to eliminate support with the help of powder bed surrounding a build. The process is also known to be improve productivity. However, several powders have been tried as the ideal material to support additive manufacturing. However, products like nylon, even with their various benefits have failed to promise a sustainable production.
- A New Direction for Current Players
On the other hand, a company named Ricoh has launched a new material based on PBT which promises high-strength, high insulation, and heat resistance. The material promises to deliver solvent resistance as well as much-needed mechanical strength. This achievement is noteworthy for many reasons. Provided that it succeeds, it promises a major new applications for players in the polybutylene terephthalate market. Additionally, it seems quite promising as a wide variety of research on the topic in scientific journals promises application for polybutylene terephthalate powders in next-gen laser sintering.
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- Expansion of Applications
If it succeeds, the PBT powder can be key to growth for the additive manufacturing process. The material promises lighter end-components, lower costs of prototyping (a key application for 3D printing), and more efficiency in the process. The end-applications will also expand to include parts like automotive motors, electrical components, and bathroom furnishings.
Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) is an engineering polymer which is thermoplastic in nature and is used in electronics and electrical industriesas an insulator. It is a type of polyester and a thermoplastic (semi-crystalline polymer). PBT is solvent resistant, is mechanically strong, slightly shrinks during forming and is heat-resistant up to a temperature of 150 °C (or 200 °C with glass-fiber strengthening). It can be made noncombustible when treated with flame retardants.Polybutylene terephthalate is related closely to different thermoplastic polyesters. Polybutylene terephthalate has slightly lower rigidity and strength as compared to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), better contact resistance, and a lower glass shift temperature. Polybutylene terephthalate and polyethylene terephthalateare sensitive to warm water above the temperature of 60 °C (140 °F). Polybutylene terephthalate and polyethylene terephthalateif used outdoors needs UV protection and most variations of these polyesters are combustible. To improve flammability and UV properties, additives can be used. The global market for polybutylene terephthalate is segmented on the basis of application and geography.
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Major drivers of the global polybutylene terephthalate market include growing demand for eco-friendly, more sustainable green materials which has triggered market growth of recyclable polybutylene terephthalateblends. The introduction of Electronic Vehicles (EV) has resulted in the surfacing of latest high-voltage applications that require electrical components which are more efficient such as power sockets, switches, transformer insulation, sensor coverings, connectors, boards and sockets among others. Owing to the high performance electrical properties of polybutylene terephthalate, it is widely used in these components, which is driving its application in the EVs market thus triggering overall market growth. In addition, growing popularity of miniaturization of electrical parts is also driving the demand for polybutylene terephthalate in a positive way. The microscopic parts of miniaturized devices that ismadeof polymers like polybutylene terephthalateholds only around 25% of the printed circuit board area and are less than 20% of the total volume.
Geographically, the global market is segregated into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. APAC held the dominant market share in the globalpolybutylene terephthalate market in 2015 and is forecasted to continue its dominance over the forecast period. Polybutylene terephthalateresins are used in varied applications in the automobile industry such as in luxury car variants. The growing demand for compound functions in cars has led to the extensive use of polybutylene terephthalatein automobileexterior and interior parts. In addition, molding of composites and design innovations is forecasted to further trigger growth of the polybutylene terephthalatemarket in the APAC region.
Major players of the global polybutylene terephthalate market include BASF SE (Germany), Celanese Corporation (U.S.), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (U.S.), Lanxess Aktiengesellschaft (Germany), SABIC (Saudi Arabia), and Toray Industries, Inc. (Japan).
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