Injection molding, the dominant sector in the plastics processing industry, shows no signs of slowing down, according to a new report from BCC Research (Wellesley, MA). The injection molding process is used to manufacture products in nearly every market segment from automotive and aerospace to toys and medical devices.
In 2017, the global market for plastic injection molding was valued at $117 billion; it is expected to reach $233 billion in 2023, reflecting a 10.9% compound annual growth rate, according to the report, Injection Molding: Global Markets and Technologies through 2023.
Rising demand across several vertical industries such as packaging and food and beverages is expected to drive growth. One robust segment is the medical device space, which accounts for 18.7% of the plastic injection molding market and is expected to see strong growth over the forecast period as healthcare becomes an increasingly integral part of household expenditures, especially in more developed countries with aging populations, said the report.
As for materials, global demand for polystyrene is expected to increase at higher growth rates over the next few years because of the increasing popularity of recycled expanded polystyrene (EPS) products.
Automotive innovations and the continued replacement of metal components with plastic parts are expected to continue in the upcoming years. Additionally, advances such as “smart surfaces” and 3D-printed tooling, as well as external autonomous driving sensors, will also help growth in the injection molding industry.
“As the market for injection molding of plastics continues to grow, so will innovations in resin selection, injection molding machinery and processing guidelines,” said Christopher Maara, BCC Research Analyst and author of the report. “With the emergence of new resins with improved properties, molders can process polymers to fabricate new designs with different properties in a more energy and cost-efficient manner.”