Industrial Competence: Engineering Plastics vs. Commodity Plastics

Classifying plastics – the most synthetic raw materials in the world – on the basis of industrial compatibility can be quite dicey, considering how promoting one type can end up downgrading the other; both of which are still as non-degradable as always. Between engineering plastics and commodity plastics, defining which type of polymers hold the highest competency for multiple industrial verticals becomes tricky as end-user industries are eventually compelled to use polymers, classified under both these turfs, in one way and another. Leaving out of account the candidacy of speciality plastics, the debate on choosing the best plastic as an industrial material is likely to end up giving a slight advantage to engineering plastics over commodity plastics. Here are the grounds on which engineering plastics attains a marginal lead over commodity plastics:

Processing Turbulence: Synthesis processes involved for producing plastics come to be of greater importance on the account of their feasibility. Commodity plastics are easy to process, which is why they are used for production of low value items. The inherent functions of commodity plastics are negligible compared to properties of engineering plastics. Thus, engineering plastics are processed through intricate systems that ensure retention of its unique properties. Also, commodity plastics attain singularity with respect to the type of polymers, whereas manufacturing of engineering plastics involves a unique combination of multiple polymers & polymerizing compounds.

Manufacturing Costs: There’s no debating on this – commodity plastics are cheaper to manufacture than engineering plastics. Polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyester are commodity plastics which have been rampantly used in production of almost every other plastic product. Manufacturing such plastics is cheaper and becomes cost-effective while using them in further applications. Nevertheless, the comparatively higher costs of manufacturing engineering plastics are tuned out since thousands of industrial applications require polymers with special properties, which cannot be achieved by using commodity plastics.

Availability: Commodity plastics are, in a way, generic type of products in the global plastics industry. Since they don’t hold any special mechanical properties like engineering plastics, availability of commodity plastics continues to be higher even today. Engineering plastics are quite in demand but less available, which urges polymer manufacturers to extend their material sourcing measures.

Key Features & Applicability: Based on the properties, engineering plastics gain industrial competence as opposed to commodity plastics. Commodity plastics are used for manufacturing packaging products in high volumes, limiting their applicability to production of items that are mostly disposable. However, engineering plastics become the apt choice of raw plastic materials for industries that produce a wide range of products. Exceptional features or mechanical properties of engineering plastics includes toughness, low creep quotient, and high thermal sustenance. As a result, engineering plastics are applicable for production of expensive devices that demand such multifunctional properties. Besides, engineering plastics have been gaining surplus demand for around the world since they can effectively replace metal in certain industrial applications, and thereby, reduce production costs and increase efficiency of end-products.

Global Engineering Plastics Market

According to report compiled by Future Market Insights, titled “Engineering Plastics Market: Global Industry Analysis & Opportunity Assessment, 2016-2026,” the global market for engineering plastics, which is currently valued at an estimated US$ 66.2 billion, is projected to expand robustly at 7.2% CAGR and procure over US$ 130 billion in global revenues by the end of 2026.

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