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More than 5.5 million tonnes of technical compounds were produced in Europe last year and an estimated quarter of this output was processed by independent compounders (those not owned by plastic suppliers). That is the finding of a just-published report from analysts at Applied Market Information (www.amiplastics.com; Bristol, England), Corporate Performance and Ownership among Technical CompoundersA Review of Europes 50 Largest Players. Clear leader among the independent sector is Belgian-based Ravago (Arendonk) followed by Italys MPB (San Gervasio Bresciano).
According to AMI, the largest sector remains color compounds, which accounted for 2.2 million tonnes last year, but this total has stagnated in recent years as masterbatches have replaced many color-compound applications. In Europe, color-compound production is now strongly focused on specific engineering polymers where masterbatch application may be difficult.
Markets for compounded engineering and technical polyolefin products are both of similar size, at about 1.7 million tonnes each. Demand for additive-, filler-, and reinforced-filled compounds is growing at about 5%/yr and has been the driver in the compounding market for the last five years, targeting automotive and appliance applications. Independent compounders have, so says AMI, benefited from trends among plastics suppliers to narrow their product ranges, giving those independent compounders opportunities to help processors obtain exact materials that may no longer be produced by many resin makers.[email protected]