Manufacturing in plastics across industries in APAC

Manufacturing in plastic provides many benefits across multiple industries and is fast becoming the material of choice for many manufacturers. The demand for lighter, more flexible and increasingly durable material has helped industrial plastics move into sectors such as automotive, electrical, machinery and medical manufacturing.

Because of the growing reliance on plastics suitable for engineering and production, the market for equipment and plant that can utilise this material is also expanding. The value of the global engineering plastics market is forecast to reach US$79 billion by 2018, increasing by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 per cent from 2013, according to Markets and Markets.

The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is one market expecting to dominate the plastics manufacturing sector, accounting for close to half of the overall global demand in 2013 (47.9 per cent). The value of plastics in this region is expected to climb by a CAGR of 10 per cent between 2013 and 2018. In comparison, the Western European market should grow in revenue by 7.8 per cent, followed by India at 7.3 per cent.

Plastics are primarily used to replace traditional materials, including metal and wood, in products to make them lighter, more durable and more cost effective. This is particularly prevalent in automotive manufacturing, as decreasing the weight of a vehicle can help cut carbon emissions, increase fuel economy and achieve more environmentally friendly end-products.

Another area where plastics are becoming increasingly important is medical manufacturing. Rather than using expensive and heavy metals to create replacement bones, structures and equipment needed to treat a variety of injuries and illnesses, medical manufacturers are turning to durable and safe plastics to boost their production while minimising costs.

In the APAC nations, joint replacement and reconstruction is a particularly influential industry regarding plastics use, with the sector set to reach a value of $6.4 billion over the next five years. According to the Ace Business and Market Research Group, expansion in this market is driven primarily by technical advancement in implant designs and manufacturing, the development of new joint biomaterials – such as plastics – and the adoption of robotic and minimally invasive surgeries.

Additionally, as more manufacturers in the medical devices sector turn to 3D printing, plastics may become even more important to the industry. Breakthroughs in additive manufacturing have made the design and creation of medical devices and products increasingly simple and achievable. This should drive supply and demand as medical professionals look to improve their industry's durability and costs.

Designing or manufacturing for the medical devices industry? Contact us at SOLIDWORKS to see how we can help inspire engineering innovation and improve every aspect of your product development.