The Plastics Compounding Market

Published - Sep 2009| Analyst - Doug Smock| Code - PLS018C
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Report Highlights

  • 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%.

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND

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.

SCOPE OF THE REPORT
 
This report covers the major thermoplastic resins and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). The resins include high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene, polystyrene, and engineering thermoplastics (ETPs): the major representatives being nylons, polycarbonates, polyacetals, PET, and PBT. This report also includes, for the first time, bio compounds: plastics that are made from plants instead of hydrocarbons.
 
The plastics compounding market is segmented by each of the above resins by volume and by each of the three plastics compounding groups for the years 2008, 2009, and 2014. Reasons are provided for estimates and forecasts. The major resin producers, key plastics processors, and independent compounders are identified, and activities, product lines, and estimated sales for the major independent compounders are provided.
 
The quantitative market information contained in this report pertains to North America. Other features in this report include the following:
  • 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
REASONS FOR DOING STUDY
 
Previous reports on plastics compounding have covered only part of the overall business. Either these reports dealt only with the independent compounders or provided the results of interviews with selected compounders, but none of them attempted to analyze the overall North American market. Importantly, this report is the first to address critical issues that will shape plastics compounding for the next five years: bio compounds, carbon fiber, carbon nanotubes, natural fiber reinforcements, and environmental regulations.  
 
METHODOLOGY
 
Extensive searches were made of the literature, including the leading trade journals, technical papers, company literature, pertinent trade associations, etc.
 
In addition, interviews were conducted with resin producers and plastics compounders to try to verify consumption, company products, key applications, market trends, etc.
 
Definitions for many of the key acronyms used in this report can be found in the Appendix.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Research analyst, Doug Smock has been writing about plastics for 21 years, and has served as the editorial director of Plastics World, editorial director of Modern Mold and Tooling, and materials contributing editor for Design News Magazine. He is a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Case Western Reserve University.
 
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DISCLAIMER
 
The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature.  The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or its use.

Table of Contents & Pricing

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Published - Jun-2006| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS018B

Report Highlights

  • 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.

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