As a stalwart of the UK plastic enclosure market here is a brief overview of the trends we think are shaping the market for the coming year.
Against the backdrop of Brexit, a growing anti-plastic sentiment and various global trade conflicts, many of our peers in the plastic enclosure manufacturing arena have an unsurprisingly cautious outlook of the future.
Nonetheless, the plastic enclosure market continues on a steady growth trajectory. Growth was driven in part by the stockpiling Brexit effect earlier in the year, and the continuing development of new applications like medical devices and electronic control devices in the automotive, biotech, building and sports industries.
We have noticed these main trends driving growth in plastic enclosures production:
- As the UK industry increasingly incorporates smart devices and sensors to enhance productivity plastic usage has soared. Plastic is the preferred choice for the boxes or enclosures needed for these electronic devices. It is not only lightweight, robust ad cost-effective but also allows wireless and RF signals to pass through easily.
- As product life cycles shorten and 3D printing develops, customer expectations have risen, with rapid prototype turnaround times expected. The flexibility and scope for changes in the production of machined plastic enclosures as opposed to metal or injection moulded enclosure alternatives means that the former can meet these higher expectations of designers and developers. They also are increasingly choosing custom plastic enclosures over other types because with machined plastic enclosures; and there are no expensive, obsolete injection mould tools involved.
- The medical sciences sector’s burgeoning use of technology and electronics is also driving the increased use of plastic. Not only of enclosures for medical devices but also in equipment and products such as stents, staples, and polymer drug-eluting implants.
- Lastly, the automotive sector’s increasing use of plastic materials as manufacturers strive to optimise performance and fuel economy, while reducing emissions – for example, innovations in plastic vehicle interiors such as smart surfaces and 3D-printed tooling.
Increasing Plastic Prices in 2020
Alongside this growth is the warning from our suppliers of price increases in 2020. Several factors are contributing to this, including tightness in supply as demand by China, and the East put a strain on raw material sourcing.
Sustainability and the Plastic Sector
As plastic pollution climbs the political agenda and a ban on certain ‘single-use’ plastic products comes into force in 2021, the plastic industry is stepping up to the challenge of addressing these concerns by increasingly focusing on sustainability.
And this focus on sustainability is not only driving increased use of bioplastics, such as those derived from flax, soybeans, corn and other materials but also the use of recycled plastics including ocean waste plastics. According to the Coherent Market Insights, the global green packaging market will reach the US $238 billion by 2025. We watch these developments with interest.
Here at CDT, we continue to monitor the enclosure market dynamics and emerging trends but stay firmly focused on meeting our customers’ needs first and foremost. If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article, please do get in touch.