The global sales of polycarbonate resins managed to reach ~US$14.6 Bn in 2018. Since the commercialization of polycarbonate resins in the 1960s, a majority of the revenue generation in the market has remained concentrated in the electrical & electronics and building & construction industries. These industries collectively held ~ 53% revenues in 2018, and are highly likely to remain a hotbed of application opportunities for polycarbonate resins manufacturers.
Broadening applications of polycarbonate resins are enabling manufacturers to penetrate a wide range of industries while witnessing notable demand from across the globe. A bulk of adoption has remained restricted to general-purpose grade applications; however, the optical grade value of polycarbonate resins is set to grow in the years to come, as industries continue to shift their focus from aesthetics to functionality.
The automotive industry, for instance, is witnessing rapid winds of change, with automakers leveraging every possible way to stay at par with the altering trends, such as the growing demand for lightweight models. This emerging trend is underway and here to stay for the years to come, as every ~10% of vehicle weight reduction tends to improve the fuel economy by ~ 5%. Moreover, aggravating environmental concerns pertaining to fuel emissions has been compelling automakers to innovate with functional materials.
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Automakers who once underestimated the value of plastics are now recognizing its role in the development of various components, as they focus on developing lighter vehicle components to meet regulatory requisites. Polymers have aided vehicle enhancement for generations, and it is pertinent to note that they reduce the overall vehicle weight when they replace bulkier materials, such as glass and metal, ultimately saving energy. Several automakers are experimenting with key vehicle components to fit in well to the shifting customer-expectations while complying with the existing regulations in the automotive industry.
The automotive industry is on the brink of ’automation’, with leading automakers investing significantly in electric vehicles. The shift to electromobility points to the rising demand for lightweight materials, thereby surge in the use of specialized plastics. What the auto industry is undergoing is unprecedented in terms of the scale and the nature of change ahead of it; however, these changes are influencing the business of supplying engineering plastics to the auto industry. A large number of automakers and plastics manufacturers are joining hands for the development of highly functional, cost-effective, and customer-centric auto components, to secure long-term sales.
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