Market Trends: Solutions for the Plastic/ Polymer Industry

With the outbreak of COVID-19, this has been a year of uncertainty and rapid change. Apart from the direct economic impact, it is clear that this pandemic will create a shift in future socio-economic behaviors with more people working from home, increased expenditure on health and wellbeing, preference for online shopping, and reduced discretionary expenditure. For example:

  • There is now a widely held view that plastic products are safer and cleaner than the recycled and reusable versions, thus performing more favorably to fight and contain the spread of the virus.
  • Packaging for all goods and services has now become a priority in handling nearly everything from shipping and incoming inspection to handling the end product. More remote activities also mean more automation, such as robotic and computer usage. This will result in a greater need for laminates and other polymers to properly coat electronics and circuit boards.
  • Plastics will also benefit from increased spending on household cleaning, hygiene, and personal protection products, as well as higher domestic food packaging use, and disposable products.
  • Plastics used in healthcare can be both advanced medical grade polymer materials that comply with regulatory standards specifically engineered for medical usage, or commonly found plastics used in consumer packaging.

Regardless of the current state of the world, plastics will be at the forefront, offering exceptional and innovative products. Guided Wave and online process monitoring provide unique solutions to cost-effectively measure and control plastic/polymer manufacturing. As the industry moves forward developing these new plastics and polymers, Guided Wave will be can help customers maintain their competitive edge by continuing to solve challenging industrial process problems and accommodate market needs.

There is almost an endless list of medical applications for plastics 1

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can be found in approximately 40% of all disposable medical devices, including flexible fluid bags, tubing, oxygen, masks, surgical gloves, etc.
  • Polycarbonate (PC) is the material of choice for medical devices and equipment, given its clarity and ease of sterilization, replacing glass in items such as blood oxygenators, hemodialyzers, intravenous connectors, and high-pressure syringes, in addition to safety glasses and face shields.
  • Polystyrene (PS) is used for a wide range of applications, including tissue culture trays, test tubes, petri dishes, diagnostic components, and housings for tests.

REFERENCE
1: https://ihsmarkit.com/research-analysis/how-is-polymer-demand-impacted-by-the-covid19-pandemic.html;
May 12, 2020, Authors: Kaushik Mitra Martin Wiesweg

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