The global plating on plastics market size was estimated at USD 411.6 million in 2016. Increasing demand for lightweight metal substitutes in the automotive and electronics industries are expected to be key driving factors in the market. In addition, growing consumer awareness towards the environmental benefits such as reduction in CO2 emissions coupled with performance efficiency offered by light weight commercial vehicles is expected to propel the demand over the forecast period.
Plating on plastics refers to electroplating the plastic surface with metals such as nickel, chrome, electro-less nickel, copper, cobalt phosphorous, gold, silver and others. This process offers several functional as well as decorative benefits to the finished product. The process provides an excellent surface quality along with additional benefits such as flexibility, toughness and lightness to the substrate.
U.S. POP market revenue by plating, 2014 - 2025 (USD Million)
The plating process involving gold and silver also enhances the overall aesthetic appearance of the finished material. Moreover, it also improves the corrosion and abrasion resistance of the plastic substrate as well as strengthens it. The metal coating process also increases the resistance against a specific set of chemicals which are used during the manufacturing process.
The manufacturing process involves three major steps; molding, preplating, and electroplating. Firstly, in the molding process, the parts are converted into the desired component, while in the next step, the molded part is given an electroless bath. In the last step, the additional metal is plated onto the surface.
The overall industry has witnessed several advancements in electroplating technology, which has improved the overall quality of the finished product. Double layer nickel systems comprising a semi-bright underneath layer with bright nickel topcoat has been developed, in order to improve the corrosion resistance capability. Another significant advancement is the development of micro discontinuous chromium system, which improves the corrosion resistance of deposits of nickel and chromium during the metallization process.
However, rising stringency in the regulations governing regulations may severely impact the overall market growth. The Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) has banned the usage of hexavalent chromium in the POP industry. Furthermore, stringent regulations set by EPA and OSHA are expected to hamper overall growth in upcoming years.
Chrome plating is the most commonly used metal for coating applications. Though hexavalent chromium is banned by REACH in the EU, trivalent chrome is used extensively as it is environment friendly. It is commonly used to plate armrests, fiberglass pipes, grills, and various motorbike parts. It provides good surface finish, aesthetic appeal and rust resistance to the substrate.
Nickel has also gained considerable popularity in the automotive manufacturing industry for decorative purposes. It is used to enhance the overall appearance of exterior as well as interior parts of the automotive, which include gear shift knobs, bumpers, emblems, grilles, door handles, wheels, and light bezels. In several instances, an alloy of chromium and nickel is used in replacement of pure nickel.
Masking the resin with nickel offers several functional benefits also. It improves the corrosion and wears resistance of the plastic substrate coupled with enhancing its lubricity. Copper has also gained considerable significance in coating large plastic components owing to its higher conductivity. Copper strengthens and protects the substrate making it electrically conducive. It is cheaper as compared to palladium, gold and silver plating and provides metallic shine to the surface improving the product aesthetically.
Acrylonitrile-Butadiene styrene (ABS) is the most widely accepted in the global market. It has an acrylonitrile-styrene matrix which has butadiene rubber evenly distributed on it. This unique property makes its plating effective. The butadiene is etched out from the matrix which leave microscopic holes that are utilized as bonding sites by the plate. Cheaper costs, ease of molding, high metallic adhesion and low coefficient of thermal expansion are major drivers of ABS product segment.
ABS/PC is expected to witness the fastest CAGR of 8.6% during 2017 to 2025. The blend consists of 40% to 60% content of ABS, while the remaining blend contains PC. The blend offers high strength and ductility and is capable of being used in extreme temperatures. The development of phosphorous flame retardant PC/ABS has resolved the toxic emissions created while combusting halogen flame retardants.
The automotive industry in North America and Europe was the pioneer to implement nickel and chromium coating on plastic resins on a commercial level. Properties such as lower cost, weight reduction and aesthetic designs enabled huge applications across the automotive industry. It is widely used in window trims, interior trim, mirror housings, auxiliary lamps, radiator grills, name badges and front and rear lamps.
Global POP market revenue by application, 2016 (%)
Electronics is another key application segment. Copper is the most widely preferred metal in electronics industry. Decorative applications of nickel and nickel/chromium masking are used to improve the aesthetic appearance of plastic trims on computers, mobile phones, knobs, buttons and switches in electronic goods.
Utility applications include sink wastes, bathroom accessories, shower fittings, wash basin taps and kitchen accessories. The market is attaining popularity in the plumbing industry on account of several advantages offered by metal to the plastic substrate such as protection from water and rust. Bathroom fittings are exposed to extreme temperatures which leads to wear & tear of the plastic fittings. All these factors are likely to drive the overall demand in utility application segment.
Europe dominated the overall market in terms of revenue followed by North America. Europe is majorly driven by automotive industry in UK and Germany. Chrome finished automotive have attained considerable popularity in Europe and North America. The region is witnessing rising environmental regulations which has led higher demand for lighter aerodynamic cars. Auto giants such as BMW, Volvo, Volkwagen, Diamer AG and others are likely to drive the demand for the overall market in future.
Asia Pacific is expected to register the fastest CAGR of 8.2% during the forecast period. Growing automotive and electronics manufacturing industries in China, India and Japan are expected to drive the growth over coming years. The component and equipment capabilities are advancing in this region due to rapidly developing industrial infrastructure, thereby, creating lucrative opportunities for growth by 2025.
The market is highly competitive and fairly fragmented. Key players are investing into developing newer technologies coupled with acquisitions of chemical manufacturers. Major players include Atotech, Galva Decoparts Pvt. Ltd., Dow Chemicals and Cybershield Inc. Application development and customized products are expected to be key parameters to achieve sustainable growth in this market. Frequent mergers and acquisitions being undertaken as an attempt to diversify product portfolio and gain considerable share.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2014 - 2016
2017 - 2025
Revenue in USD Million and CAGR from 2017 to 2025
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America, Middle East & Africa
U.S., Germany, UK, China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia
Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends
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This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional & country levels and provides an analysis on the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global plating on plastics market on the basis of plating type, plastic type, application and region:
Plating Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Plastic Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Building & Construction
Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Central & South America
Middle East & Africa
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