The plastics industry has seen restructuring and mergers, and new manufacturing processes and specifications have altered customers requirements for additives. Plastics Additives, a new market report from Rapra, offers a fresh account of the additives market.
Plastics Additives begins with an executive summary of the important points arising from the report, followed by an overview of the significant trends in the four largest plastics market sectors: packaging, construction, automotive and electrical and electronics. The report focuses on the important issues within Europe, with comment on the relevant trends in North America and Asia.
The additive families are considered with an outline of the technical issues and the trends driving the markets. The report provides specific product examples and technology developments. Product types covered include antiblocking agents, biocides, antioxidants, antistatic agents, blowing agents, clarifying and nucleating agents, compatibilisers, fillers (including nanofillers), flame retardants, heat stabilisers, impact modifiers, lubricants and process oils, plasticisers and light stabilisers.
New products may be promoted amongst other reasons on grounds of reducing costs, minimising handling and storage problems, improving process efficiency, reducing product defects, or improving product performance. The main marketplaces for each additive type are discussed in this report and the developments in specific properties or trends outlined.
Demand for additives is obviously strongly dependent on demand for plastics, however other drivers are important: evolving food distribution with demand for improved packaging, changes in fire regulations, use of materials at higher temperatures in for example the automotive and electronic component industries, recycling issues. This report provides discussion of the trends in material consumption and specific additive groups. It also includes brief company news and information for some of the leading additive suppliers.
Health and safety considerations and regulatory pressures have had a major impact on certain classes of additives, especially heat stabilisers, flame retardants and plasticisers. A section of this report is dedicated to these developments with topics covered including REACH, end-of-life disposal, chemicals of specific concern, biocides, flame retardants and food contact applications.
Geoffrey Pritchard is an independent consultant and plastics industry analyst. He has been editor or principal co-author of nine books on polymer technology, and has organised the technical programmes for Rapra's annual Addcon conferences on additives and modifiers since 1996.