While some in our industry decry growing consumer and business demand for recycled and bio-degradable plastics, there is at least one group of folks who are happy about it: plastic injection molding machinery manufacturers. Could be because global market demand for plastics processing machinery is expected to reach $24.3 billion by 2025.
Of course, the over-riding reason for this growth is insatiable consumption of plastics in virtually all consumer-oriented, industrial and commercial arenas. From plastic trash bags to medical grade plastics, the world remains devoted to plastics despite the growing problem of waste.
Plastics are simply indispensable when it comes to manufacturing. They are:
- non-electrically conductive
- cost effective
All of the above explains why plastics are displacing metals in industries such as medical, automotive and electronic. Continuous innovations in plastics are driving large scale displacement of metals with plastics. The rapid growth of recycled plastics and bio-plastics are defusing the protests of those who are concerned about the carbon footprint of conventional plastics, ensuring that these materials will have a strong presence, even in the emerging “sustainable” economy. In fact, every day plastic injection molding techniques are being adapted to process certain biodegradable plastic resins in response to the environmentally-conscious consumer market. The biodegradable plastic resins best suited with sustainable plastic injection molding technology include:
- Thermoplastic Starch-based Plastics (TPS)
- Polybutylene Succinate (PBS)
- Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
- Polylactic Acid (PLA)
- Polycaprolactone (PCL)
Now you understand our original premise that the market for plastic injection molding machinery will mushroom in the coming years. Especially in developing countries, the need for modernization of plastic processing plants will spur replacement demand for plastic injection molding machinery. This trend will be accelerated by rapidly decreasing equipment costs which, of course, will this equipment much more affordable in cost conscious emerging markets. Bottom line: sustainable plastic injection molding is already here, and will lead to the further growth of our industry.