Metal plated plastics have achieved widespread popularity these days. Rapid progressions in polymer chemistry coupled with developing production technologies have replaced metals by plastics. Application areas of POP are numerous, such as automotive, electronics, utilities and other consumer goods.
Innumerable advantages offered by the finished material are creating huge demand for the overall market. Plastic has added benefits over metals as it is lighter, corrosion resistant, and inexpensive. Furthermore, plating them with a metal such as chrome, nickel, copper and others enhances the overall strength and appearance of the finished product. Moreover, metal plating also provides an impression of premium quality to the product and also delivers design freedom to the manufacturers.
However, certain complications arise while plating plastics. They are electrically non-conducive and are unable to withstand the process of being immersed in a metal solution. To overcome these problems substrate etching and electroless plating were developed to plate plastic substrates.
Manufacturers majorly prefer ABS plastic as it cheaper, easy to mold and has lesser coefficient of thermal expansion. All over plating and selective plating are majorly practiced, wherein all over plating metal is deposited over the surface with a thickness of 40 micro inches to 2,000 micro inches. All over plating option is typically the most cost efficient form.
Ongoing research & development activities are focusing on new production technologies. Chromium free etchant is a technology which provides freedom from carcinogenic hexavalent chromium, and leads to a fume free operation. This technology is expected to be widely adopted in Europe as it satisfies the norms laid by REACH. Double layer nickel systems and micro-discontinuous chromium systems are another form of technological advancements occurred into this industry.
The global market is led by Europe, followed by North America. Presence of huge automotive giants coupled with high promotional activities created augmented demand for the overall market. However, strengthening environmental concerns may hamper the market growth in upcoming years. The market growth in Asia Pacific is primarily supplemented by growing plastic electroplating market in China. China and India are the leading manufacturing countries for electronics and passenger vehicles. Thus, this would continue to drive the market growth in upcoming years.
In-depth report on global plating on plastics (POP) market market by Grand View Research:
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