Materials for Higher Requirements: New Ceresana Report on Engineering Plastics



Engineering plastics are increasingly replacing metal, glass or ceramics in applications such as plain bearings, gears, seals, insulators and housings.

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The taillights of cars are becoming increasingly spectacular; the former radiator front can also be redesigned with electrification. The new vehicle design is often made possible by PMMA, better known under brand names such as Plexiglas or Acrylite. “Although engineering plastics are more expensive than standard plastics, they are characterized by special physical and chemical properties,” explains Oliver Kutsch, managing director of the market research institute Ceresana: “These high-performance and lightweight materials can be used continuously at temperatures up to about 150°C.” Ceresana has analyzed the global market for engineering plastics for the fourth time: Last year, 22.4 million tonnes of ABS, PC, PA, PMMA, POM, PBT, SAN and fluoropolymers were consumed.

Automotive Industry: A Growing Application Area

The two most important sales markets for engineering plastics are currently the electrical and electronics industry and consumer products. However, the market researchers at Ceresana forecast that the third largest area of application to achieve the highest growth in the next few years will be the automotive industry. In contrast, applications in the construction industry will develop at a somewhat slower pace, with expected growth rates of 2.2% per year. There are major differences between the various types of engineering plastics in this respect.

ABS Dominates the Market for Engineering Plastics

Ceresana’s latest study provides demand, revenue, production and trade figures for the overall engineering plastics market, as well as demand for each of the different types of plastics and their applications. The best-selling engineering plastic is currently acrylonitrile butadiene styrene: ABS accounts for around 41% of global demand. ABS is used primarily in the automotive sector, for electrics and electronics, and in smaller quantities in the construction industry and in the household and consumer goods sector. Typical products made of ABS are door panels for cars, housings for electrical appliances, films, pipes and covers, but also shower heads, as well as numerous toys, sports and leisure products.

Further information about the market study Engineering Plastics (4th edition):