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Published: December 2011
Polyacetal resins are important engineering resins used in industrial, transportation, agricultural, construction and consumer markets. They possess excellent chemical, thermal, electrical and mechanical properties; as a result, they have replaced metals and other plastics in many applications.
Demand for polyacetal continues to grow, especially in developing countries. After a very poor 2009 resulting from the global economic slowdown, the industry is experiencing high capacity utilization in 2011. Global automotive production is recovering and is expected to be 30% higher in 2011 than in 2009.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of polyacetal resins:
There is some difference in use breakdown by region, because industrial and automotive applications predominate in North America, while automotive dominates the European and Japanese markets. In China, electrical/electronics is the largest market, accounting for about 40% of the total.
Further growth for polyacetal is expected. World automotive production is forecast to grow by about 5.5% per year, and since polyacetal use is heavily dependent on automotive production, similar growth is forecast for polyacetal. Increased purchasing power will stimulate demand for automobiles, household appliances, medical goods and consumer goods in the developing countries of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Producers will continue to develop applications-specific grades to meet the steadily growing requirements of the marketplace. China has become the largest consumer of polyacetals as production of electrical/electronic goods transitions away from Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan. Also, automotive production continues to grow strongly in China.