An analysis of the injection molding market

By: 
September 28, 1998


Research on the injection molding market, its resin demand, and markets served is seldom conducted separately from other plastics processes. But in a new study, "Injection Molded Plastics," the Freedonia Group projects U.S. demand for injection molded plastics to grow 3.3 percent per annum to more than 14 billion lb in 2001.

Growth, Freedonia analysts say, will result from improved resins and processing capabilities, the versatility of the injection molding process, and plastics' cost and performance advantages over other materials (factors with which molders are already familiar). Injection molded plastics are discussed in the report by resin types and markets in the context of overall economic conditions, as well as developments in end-use markets and changing technologies.

Additional information in the report tells us that the majority of injection molders serve a limited number of industries and a regional customer base. Custom molders account for more than 60 percent of the injection molded plastics market, with numbers growing due to the greater outsourcing being done by OEMs. The top 10 custom injection molders in the U.S., according to Freedonia, are Textron Automotive, Lear, UT Automotive (United Technologies), Mack Molding, Becker Group, Donnelly, Owens-Illinois, Worthington Custom Plastics (Worthington Industries), Illinois Tool Works, and Nypro. Following are some of Freedonia's predictions culled from the report.

Injection molded plastics market cyclicality.

Thermoplastic resins will be led by polypropylene, and will remain dominant based on benefits over thermoset resins in processing, design, and recyclability. Consumer and institutional uses will continue as the leading markets, with best opportunities anticipated in automotive and electrical/electronic sectors because of growing needs for higher performance.

Injection molded polypropylene demand is forecast to increase 4.3 percent yearly to 4.2 billion lb in 2001.

Injection molded polycarbonate and nylon will exhibit the best growth prospects, driven by expanding electrical and electronic and automotive applications. Information storage uses will be fostered by continued growth in traditional compact disks, as well as emerging recordable compact disk and digital versatile disk applications.

Leading consumer and institutional markets will be driven by opportunities in such niches as food storage containers, shelving, and bins. Automotive markets will present the fastest growth, buoyed by efforts on the part of OEMs to reduce costs and raise fuel efficiency.

Injection molded plastics demand by market, 1996. Total pie is 12 billion lb.

Components of the report include a section on the market environment, covering such topics as the macroeconomic environment, consumer spending overview, and outlooks on certain end markets and trends; sections on injection molded plastics by resin and by market; an industry structure section that includes extensive profiles of more than 100 custom and captive injection molding operations; appendices; and extensive tables and charts.

"Injection Molded Plastics," published in November 1997, is 212 pages and is available for $3300 from the Freedonia Group. For further details, contact Corinne Gangloff by phone at (216) 921-6800, via e-mail at [email protected], or by fax at (216) 921-5459.

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