What is the Current Plastics Industry Focus?
Looking from 2019 to 2020, the industry focus hasn't changed much. What we are seeing is more of an emphasis on biodegradable and renewable materials. The following is a breakdown of some of the top trends in 2019 and what we see as additional trends for 2020.
2019 Plastics Industry Trends
In 2019, there were quite a few shifts in production and demand in terms of plastic for manufacturing. Some trends included:
- Increased production of biodegradable plastics. Today, most biodegradable plastics are made of plant-based materials to allow for easy decomposition when disposed of. The market for biodegradable plastics is projected to reach about $12.4B by 2027. Marketing efforts in 2019 continued to bring awareness to the ever-increasing benefits of biodegradable plastics. More and more businesses continue to go "green."
- Increased demand for reinforced plastics. In 2019, reinforced plastics continued to become a reliable substitute for metals. They continue to become more popular in the medical, construction and military industries.
- Increased use of 3D printing (3DP) for production efficiency. The 3DP market continued a rapid growth trajectory, especially for hardware manufacturers. The market material is segmented into three core categories: polymer (being the single largest in 2019), metal (projected to lead over the forecast period) and ceramic.
- Rise of autonomous production. Known as the "Fourth Industrial Revolution," 2019 saw the rise of smart technology that allowed manufacturers to implement more autonomous machines, increasing productivity and cutting costs. Engineers are able to interact with 3D models in real-time, immersive environments. These new "smart factories" help to reduce error rates and risks. Some components of smart manufacturing include the following:
- Mobile devices
- Internet of Things (IoT) platforms
- Location-detection technologies
- Advanced human-machine interfaces
- Authentication and fraud detection
- 3D printing
- Smart sensors
- Big analytics and advanced processes
- Multilevel customer interaction and customer profiling
- Augmented reality and wearable technology
- On-demand availability of computer system resources
- Data visualization and triggered "live" training
2020 Plastics Industry Trends
2020 is looking to continue the momentum of 2019 and take it to the next level with increased production efforts and awareness programs. Already this year we're seeing:
- Increased production of recyclable products. This year we're seeing an increase in the use of recyclable products to propel growth.
- Rise of awareness programs. More and more countries are facilitating awareness programs regarding the environmental effects of using plastics.
- Increased use of enhanced plastic packaging. Manufacturers are leaning on enhanced plastic packaging to minimize quality degradation and contamination
What Changes in the Plastics Industry Are We Seeing?
Fortune Business Insights conducted a detailed plastics industry forecast for the years 2019 through 2026. In 2020 and beyond, the packaging segment continues to be an industry leader. But we also are seeing renewable plastics becoming more and more popular. We've also noticed a rising demand for plastics in the food and beverage industry.
What is the Importance of Bulletproof Acrylic Today?
Acrylic remains the most common type of bulletproof material on the market in 2020. Bulletproof acrylic sheeting is often used in environments where bullets may break windows in homes, cars and places of business. This innovative material can take up to three rounds of 9mm bullets and when shot, will "spider-web" and evenly distribute the force over the entire windowpane. Bullet-resistant acrylic sheeting is lightweight, durable, impact resistant and crystal clear. Plus, it's less expensive to fabricate, purchase and ship, making for a superior alternative to bulletproof glass.
What Role Does Plastic Play in a Pandemic?
The plastics industry is vital in the fight against COVID-19 and other communicative diseases. In fact, the global medical plastics market is expected to grow from $25.1B in 2020 to $29.1B by 2021. This is most evident in the plastic medical supplies and food packaging segments.
There is currently a huge demand for plastic raw materials for use in the manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes single-use gowns, gloves and face shields. There's also an increased demand for plastic medical devices like ventilators, thermal scanners and respirators. But single-use equipment will continue to drive demand for plastic products as medical disposables account for the largest share in medical plastics.
During a pandemic, there's also an increased need for safe and noncontaminated food packaged using FDA-approved polycarbonate. Consumers are now choosing to purchase pre-packaged produce in fear of contamination. There's even an ongoing debate about whether or not reusable bags are better than plastic bags.
Through a better understanding of how the plastics industry is evolving and changing, manufacturers can be better equipped to capitalize on plastics trends and grow with the times. So does partnering with an experienced plastics distribution company like A&C Plastics. Our team can help create innovative plastics solutions to ensure your end products perform as intended.