Polyacetal Prices, markets & analysis
ICIS provides timely and reliable polyacetal (POM) pricing information, allowing buyers and sellers to make strategic business decisions in order to help maximise revenue and profit.
Our reporters in Asia, Europe and the US keep in touch with local markets, bringing you price assessments, in-depth news and analysis of the growing polyacetal market.
Polyacetal overview Transcript
Polyacetal or POM and polybutylene terephthalate also known as PBT are covered under the engineering plastics umbrella.
POM is a crystalline plastic often used for technical applications due to its strength, ductility and good machineability. Its properties make it suitable for click connections, for example, with bicycle light holders. The material is known for its stiffness, strength and hardness up to 120 degrees Celsius, and is as elastic as many metals. It is wear-resistant and has a very low friction coefficient.
PBT is a semi-crystalline white or off-white polyester similar in composition and properties to polyethylene terephthalate, though it has slightly lower strength and stiffness. PBT is softer, but it has higher impact strength and very similar chemical resistance. It is usually preferred for industrial-scale moulding because it has quicker crystallisation. It is widely used in electronic, electrical communication fibre optic and automotive industry.
The cost of feedstock methanol influences the POM price. The PBT price is highly influenced by the raw material costs of dimethyl terephthalate and butane diol.
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We offer the following regional Polyacetal analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Polyacetal marketplace.
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Polyacetal: Market overview
Asia’s spot polyacetal (POM) prices are likely to remain range-bound in the near term, amid subdued demand. Inventories are piling up because of persistent weakness in demand amid the bearish global economy, market sources said, while sellers are unwilling to reduce their prices because of high production costs.
Buying interest has been persistently low, with northeast Asian producers facing competition in the China market from lower-priced, domestically produced material.
Asia is saddled with high POM inventory, which has prompted some regional producers to cut their plant operating rates in view of their squeezed margins.
Global demand for POM is estimated to be at 810,000 tonnes/year, with Asia accounting for more than 60% of the total figure.
POM’s main applications are in the automotive and electrical sectors, which are experiencing weakening demand as consumer confidence and spending fall in the US, the debt-saddled eurozone and the slowing economies of Asia, including that of China.
Some traders said there are some Chinese plants under construction that are expected to come on line in the next two to three years. This will lead to overcapacity in the long term.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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POM is an engineering plastic used in precision parts that require strength and low friction and can withstand a wide range of temperatures. It is inherently self-lubricating and can replace metal parts.
It is used to manufacture mechanical gears such as gear drives, pumps, springs, screws as well as in electrical parts such as insulators, connectors. It is also used in vehicles as the fuel sender unit, in clothing zippers, in furniture hardware and locks, in the construction sector in structural glass and in medical devices such as insulin pens.
There are homopolymer and copolymer grades of POM and it is commonly fabricated by using forming methods such as injection molding or extrusion.