Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can withstand practically anything and is almost indestructible. PVC plasticisers are controversial, yet, this robust material remains one of the most frequently produced plastics alongside polypropylene and polyethylene.
The most current and already fifth PVC market report by Ceresana expects PVC demand to increase to about 56.2 million tonnes by 2026.
A distinction is made between rigid PVC (rigid PVC-U = unplasticised), which is used, for example, for packaging, pipes, and window profiles, and flexible PVC (flexible PVC-P = plasticised), which contains up to 40% plasticiser and is used for elastic products. PVC-U accounts for approximately two thirds of total demand.
In 2018, pipes and conduits reached a market share of over 37%. Profiles (19.9%) and films and sheets (18.3%) follow at a distance. PVC is also used for cables, flooring, and containers. The diverse other applications include, for example, coatings, medical products such as infusion bags, shoes, and credit cards.
Compared to pipes made of concrete, or metal, the weight of the units to be laid is drastically reduced. PVC is very resistant to corrosion and numerous chemicals. The shape of PVC pipes becomes more and more variable as well. Non-circular pipes, for example, are suitable for relining old drainage pipelines, which often have non-circular shapes.
In 2018, over seven million tonnes of PVC were processed into sewage pipes. The market for potable water pipes is slightly smaller. In highly developed industrial countries in particular, legal requirements regarding potable water pipelines are often very high.
With a share that is likely to exceed 60%, the construction industry will be the most important customer for PVC producers also in the years to come. Examples for the use in the construction industry are films, cables, tubes, profiles and coverings, sheets and pipes, dowels, screws, mounting elements, and coatings.
The packaging industry will rank second with almost 16%, using PVC for flexible and rigid packaging. The most important application areas in this sector are packaging films, bags and sacks as well as shrink and stretch films. The rigid packaging segment includes containers such as butter and margarine tubs, yogurt cups, bottles, boxes as well as caps.
For the latest refining and petrochemical industry related videos, subscribe to our YouTube page.