Global demand for high-tech plastics to grow 7%/year through 2020

01 February 2012 16:29  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW DELHI (ICIS)--Global demand for high-tech plastics is projected to increase at an annual rate of 7% through 2020, with Asia’s consumption growing at 10%, officials at German specialty chemicals firm LANXESS said on Wednesday.

Christof Krogmann, vice-president for Asia-Pacific at the LANXESS semi-crystalline products (SCP) business unit, told ICIS that a general increase in the usage of engineering plastics and continuous growth in major downstream sectors, such as automotive and electric and electronics, would drive the increased demand.

The automotive sector in Asia, which is expanding strongly, accounts for the highest application of high-tech plastics being consumed in the region.

The automotive sector’s share of China’s demand for high-tech plastics is 50%, while in India it is 70%, said Krogmann.

India is expected to produce 5m cars a year by 2016, said Michael Zobel, LANXESS global head for the SCP business.

The cost-effectiveness of engineering plastics encourages more replacement of metal parts in automobiles and leads to lower costs for end-users, said Zobel.

India’s demand for high-tech plastics has plenty of room to grow, with its current utilisation at about 7–8 kg/car just half of China’s 15 kg/car, the LANXESS officials said.

The south Asian country’s use of plastics in cars in general is also low, at barely 70kg/car compared with 100–120 kg/car in China, Europe and the US, said Krogmann.

With the Asian automotive industry expected to grow by 10–15% annually, consumption of engineering plastics will grow at the same pace in the region, said Zobel.

New global trends, including green mobility in cars and trucks, where cars are made lighter and have reduced fuel consumption, fewer carbon dioxide emissions and better cost efficiency, bode well for demand of high-tech plastics, he added.

To cope with the expected increase in demand, LANXESS recently started its first high-tech plastics production in India, bringing its production sites in the country to four.

“We are targeting the automotive industry in total, ranging from low-cost cars to luxury cars,” Zobel said.

However, LANXESS faces difficulty in procuring raw materials for production. The company has to import or buy locally polyamide (or nylon) and polyester, while glass fibre products are partly sourced from its production line in Europe.

The LANXESS officials were talking at the Plastindia 2012 exhibition and conference being held in New Delhi, India, from 1–6 February.

Author: Sheau Ling Ong

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