The global polyethylene market is changing dramatically. As part of our mission to provide converters with the unrivaled customer experience, Shell Polymers is committed to keeping a pulse on industry trends and highlighting advancements affecting injection molding. This way, we can provide our customers with expert insights on the current, credible market research.

In 2018, Grand View Research valued the global market for plastic injection molding at $326 billion and expects this to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7% through 2025.1 According to the American Chemistry Council, 2019 resin sales to injection molders were up by 3.2% and used for applications including, but not limited to:2

  • Caps
  • Closures
  • Crates
  • Boxes
  • Food tubs and containers
  • Home and garden furniture
  • Housewares

The demand for injection-molded plastic components is on the rise, and with it, the polyethylene industry as a whole is experiencing ups and downs as we embark further into 2020.

Upward Trends in Polymer Injection Molding

Multiple industries are making the shift towards injection-molded products to improve their operations and produce products with higher-quality finishes for their customers. For example, the automotive industry is moving towards replacing steel with plastics to reduce a vehicle’s weight and improve fuel efficiency.

Because polymer injection molding can provide optical clarity and biocompatibility characteristics, injection molding is projected to see the highest growth come from medical devices and component production.

Injection molding can provide optical clarity and biocompatibility, which is why it’s projected to see growth come from medical devices and component production.

Grand View Research reports that HDPE Resin is used extensively in thin-wall injection molding, and because of this, converters can expect a growing packaging demand for food containers, bin liners, and thin-gauge bags. Additionally, the market research company noticed a rising penetration of injection-molded HDPE plastic in shipping containers, industrial pails, and houseware applications.

From a geographical perspective, significant market growth is expected in the Asia Pacific region because of the growing automobile demand and companies, such as electronics and automobiles, moving their manufacturing to the Asian Pacific to lower production costs. The economic conditions in Brazil, Mexico, and Russia are likely to lead to an increase in demand for packaging as their economy picks up as well.

Downward Trends in Polymer Injection Molding

According to the American Chemistry Council,3 resin sales to injection molders in the USA and Canada were down 9.9% in September 2018, compared with the year before.

According to the Manufacturing Institute,4 the U.S labor shortage is making it hard for manufacturers to attract and retain quality workers in polymer injection molding applications. To competitively operate in the industry, manufacturing companies must find ways around the skills gap by implementing solutions such as work benefits, ergonomic improvements, and robotics.

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Key Takeaways

  • Injection Molding is Expanding

    Injection molding is expanding at a CAGR of 5.7%, partly because of technology and process innovations that have helped to minimize defects in injection molding applications.

  • Key Industries are Driving Growth

    The increasing demand for PE from key industries, including automotive, packaging, and construction, is one of the primary contributors to the growth.

  • Auto Regulations are Causing Shifts

    Government regulations have prompted a shift in the automotive industry towards replacing steel with plastics to reduce vehicle weight to improve fuel efficiency.

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1Injection Molded Plastics Market Size, Global Industry Report, 2019–2025, March 2019 by Grand View Research

2Plastic Market Monthly, US & Canada, HDPE, October 31, 2019 by Townsend Solutions

3Plastic Market Monthly, US & Canada, HDPE, October 31, 2019 by Townsend Solutions

4The Aging of the Manufacturing Workforce, July 2019 by The Manufacturing Institute