Injection molding is a manufacturing process of producing an article by forcing molten plastic material under pressure into a mold where it is cooled, solidified and subsequently released by opening the two halves of the mold. It is used for both thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics. Some of the major polymers used in the molding process include polypropylene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polystyrene. Injection molding offers numerous advantages such as desired finish and shape, faster production process, minimum wastage and ability to process a variety of raw materials. Ethylene and propylene are polymerised to form polyethylene and polypropylene which are considered to be the two polymers which are widely used in numerous industries like packaging (for both flexible and rigid), electronics and consumer goods, construction and many more. Other plastics which are widely used include acrylonitrile styrene butadiene (ABS) which finds its major application in automobile industry where it is used to manufacture automotive bumpers.
Globally, cost of resin or raw material accounts for 42% of the total cost incurred for production of injection molded plastics. Cost incurred for the process and other costs associated with it accounts 45% to the total cost and machinery accounts for 13% of the total cost for producing injection molded plastics. One of the key drivers for the market is the use of injection molded plastic components in packaging industry. The packaging industry has increased demand for plastics as replacement to other conventional packaging materials such as glass and wood. The use of plastics in automotive industry is also on the rise owing to the increased focus on weight reduction in vehicles to attain higher efficiency. However, the volatile prices of crude oil are expected to be a major restraint for the development of the market over the forecast period. The global demand for injection molded plastics was 92,312 kilo tons in 2013 and is expected to reach 130.139.7 kilo tons by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 5% from 2014 to 2020.
Packaging was the largest application segment for injection molding plastics accounting for nearly 30% of global demand in 2013. Packaging finds application in both consumers packaging and industrial as both flexible and rigid packaging. The demand for packaging is on the rise owing to the improving economic conditions of countries such as India, Brazil, Russia and other Asian countries. Automotive and transportation segment is expected to emerge as the fastest growing application segment at an estimated CAGR of 5.7% from 2014 to 2020. The growing demand for plastic as replacement to metal in automobiles is expected to be a major driver for the market. Injection molded plastics are used in building and construction segment to produce doors and sanitary wares accounted for close to 10% of the market in 2013. Other applications of injection molded plastics such as healthcare devices accounted for 14% of the global demand in 2013.
Raw Material Insights
Polypropylene is the most widely used polymer material for the production of injection molded plastics owing to its properties like light weight and superior flexibility. Propylene accounted for over 34% of global demand in 2013 and was followed by ABS in terms of demand volume. ABS is widely used in the production of automotive bumpers. High density polyethylene (HDPE) was the third largest consumed injection molded plastics accounting for 17% of global demand in 2013 and is expected to grow owing to its increasing use in the packaging industry.
Asia Pacific was the largest regional market for injection molded plastics accounting for 37% of global demand in 2013. The growing application industry such as automotive, electronics and construction in India, China and Malaysia is expected to be a key driver for the growing demand in the region. Furthermore, the low labor and raw material cost in the region is further expected to augment the growth of industries in the region in turn boosting the demand for plastics over the forecast period. North America and Europe accounted for a significant share of the market in 2013 but are expected to lose share to Asia owing to the shift in manufacturing activities to other low cost markets. Latin America and Middle East were small markets and together accounted for over 10% of the demand in 2013.
The global injection molded plastics market is fragmented with a large number of participants operating in the market. The key participants in the market include BASF, DuPont, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemicals, SABIC, Huntsman and Eastman Chemicals among others.