Published December 2016
Polyacetal resins, also known as acetal or polyoxymethylene (POM) resins, are important engineering resins with exceptional wear resistance and excellent chemical, thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties; as a result, they have replaced metals and other plastics in wear-critical applications.
The electrical, automotive, and consumer appliance industries are the major end users of POM; they account for over 70% of the global consumption in 2016. Other uses include industrial applications, plumbing, sheets/rods/tubes, and medical products (pacemakers, artificial heart valves, etc.). Over the past few years, consumption of polyacetal resins has grown strongly, with the major growth coming from Asia, driven primarily by consumption in consumer articles/appliances, electrical, and automotive applications.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of polyacetal resins:
China has become the largest consumer of polyacetal resins as production of electrical/electronics goods has transitioned away from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. In 2016, Chinese consumption accounted for 47% of the global total and the share will approach 50% by 2021, as automobile production continues to grow strongly in China.
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.
World consumption of polyacetal resins grew at an average annual rate of 4% from 2011 to 2016 but is forecast to slow to an average annual rate of almost 2% from 2016 to 2021. Consumption patterns differ by region, with automotive and industrial applications dominating in North America, and automotive and electrical applications dominating in Europe and Japan; the Chinese market is led by electrical applications and consumer products/appliances.
While one of the oldest engineering thermoplastics, polyacetal resins continue to be successful substitutes in traditional metal markets, at costs that are lower than those of many other engineering thermoplastics. Polyacetal resins continue to replace die-cast zinc, brass, aluminum, steel and other metals in various end-use applications.