The Plastics Compounding Market
- The North American market distributed 98 billion pounds of plastic compounds in 2008. The market decreased to an estimated 91 billion pounds in 2009, but is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4% to 107 billion pounds in 2014.
- The largest segment of the market, resin producers, distributed 64 billion pounds in 2008. It decreased to an estimated 60 billion pounds in 2009, but is projected to increase at a CAGR of 3.3% to 71 billion pounds in 2014.
- The processors segment distributed 21 billion pounds in 2008. That figure was expected to decrease to 20 billion in 2009, but was expected to grow to more than 23 billion pounds in 2014, for a 5-year CAGR of 3.4%.
As plastic resins leave the reactor, they are neat polymers. Additional chemicals and other materials must be added to make them commercially useful. This process is defined as compounding, or the creation of a compound, a mixture. These additives include colorants, stabilizers, flame retardants, impact modifiers, plasticizers, and dozens of others, including fillers/reinforcements. Plastic compounding is accomplished by three groups of companies, namely resin producers, plastics processors (e.g., injection/blow molders and extruders), and independent compounders.
- Review of key plastics additives used in plastics compounding
- Important information on major fillers/reinforcements
- Developments in carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes
- Advances in natural fibers
- Regulatory and environmental developments shaping compounds, ranging from phthalate plasticizers to halogenated flame retardants
- Key suppliers of plastics additives and fillers/reinforcements
- Review recent advances of plastics compounding machinery/ equipment
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In viewing the entire thermoplastic market, the resin producers account for the majority of the compounding activity (producing around 44.585 billion pounds in 2006), followed by plastic processors (12.964 billion pounds) and independent compounders (8.173 billion pounds). Independent compounders, though, will show the highest average annual growth rate (AAGR) at 5.3%.
When viewing this market by the individual thermoplastics covered in this report, these ratios can be vastly different. For example, the major polyethylene variants, HDPE, LDPE and LLDPE along with polystyrene are compounded mostly by resin producers, while PVC is compounded mostly by processors.
There are several key trends within the plastic compounding business which will take some time to become significant. They are: forward integration of resin producers into compounding; increased backward integration of large plastic processors into compounding; increased specialization of independent compounders; continued movement of compounding production.