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Use of the terms transparent and clear is subjective. Most definitions of the terms express the clarity of plastics by the percentage of light transmission as defined by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Test D-1003. Light transmission percentages above 85 are generally accepted as transparent although many suppliers claim clear grades with percentages of 80 or lower, making the distinction between transparent and translucent unclear. When referring to plastics and resins, the terms transparent and clear are used synonymously in this report.
Clear rigid plastics are commercially available in many forms, including injection-molded, extruded, blow-molded and thermoformed. Many clear extruded products are converted to clear films. The uses for these films are varied and include commodity, specialty, coextruded, food and medical packaging. Packaging markets such as healthcare and food are not addressed in this report. Blow-molded clear plastics are hollow, and most are converted to bottles or containers. Thermoformed plastics are similar to injection-molded plastics but are generally thinner and require less equipment and capital outlay.
This report covers rigid, clear, non-packaging plastic products, which include injection-molded, non-film extrusion and some thermoformed (including cast sheet) plastics. Flexible and hollow thin plastics, including films, are not covered in this report. The clear resins covered in this report are: acrylics, polycarbonates, polystyrenes, styrene block copolymers (SBCs), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polysulfones, thermoplastic polyesters (almost exclusively polyethylene terephthalate (PET)), polypropylene, acrylic-styrene copolymers (SMMAs), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nylon, cellulosic resins, cyclic olefin copolymers (COCs), and allyl diglycol carbonate (ADC) (for optical applications).
Major applications of these rigid transparent plastics include: medical, electronic, automotive, building and construction (glazing, lighting lenses, signs, and displays), housewares, appliances, toys, optical lenses, and aircraft transparencies.
- An overview of the global market for rigid transparent plastics.
- Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2016, estimates for 2017, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2022.
- Coverage of new developments in clear plastics, their expanded usage in existing and new applications, and competition between polymers exhibiting optical clarity.
- Information on major applications for rigid transparent plastics, in addition to medical, electronic, and automotive markets, which include building/construction (glazing, lighting lenses, signs/displays), housewares, appliances, toys, optical lenses, and aircraft transparencies.
- Evaluation of the market's dynamics, specifically growth drivers, inhibitors, and opportunities.
- Profiles of major players in the industry.
Reasons for Doing This Study
Most plastics suppliers are in continual search for special markets, often irrespective of potential volume. Selection criteria are focused on growing specialty markets with opportunities for respectable profits although sales volumes may not be large by commodity resin standards.
Rigid transparent plastics have become a significant market and include many types of polymers. In addition to acrylics and polycarbonates, many styrene-based materials and commodity and specialty polymers are available in clear grades. Opportunities in several application areas need to be reappraised in regard to the use of transparent or clear plastics, especially in the electronics, medical and automotive sectors. Of special interest within the electronics sector is the apparent decrease of transparent plastics as substrates for CDs, DVDs and more recent variants, especially those with polycarbonate. For example, online downloads and other technologies have slowed demand for
polycarbonate-based CDs and DVDs.