Global Medical Polycarbonate Market: Snapshot
The potential of polycarbonates as an engineered thermoplastic has expanded over the decades, including in the worldwide medical industry. They have been utilized in wide spectrum of medical applications in devices and equipment used in a variety of medical processes. Depending on the purpose, the industry adopts medical polycarbonates with varying attributes—with different combination of strength, optical clarity, heat resistance, and dimensional stability. A better understanding of the science coupled with continuous advances in resin manufacturing techniques has catalyzed the development of medical polycarbonates of required safety and biocompatibility. This is one of the key drivers of the medical polycarbonate market.
Extensive demands for medical polycarbonates are in making intravenous connectors, and devices used in renal processes, cardiac surgeries, and in general surgical instruments. For instance, the devices used in renal dialysis need to be made with materials with outstanding optical clarity and strength to withstand cracking. In surgeries, clinicians have been using devices with marked structural stability, including high tensile strength. Further, medical device makers adopting medical-grade polycarbonates seek materials that will allow the devices to be sterilized several times with negligible loss of performance in medical procedures. This is a notable trend underpinning the steady expansion of new products in the market. However, a prominent and recurrent concern has been the presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in polycarbonates. The presence of BPS is indispensable and are present in traces in polycarbonates. That said, their presence may be of considerable health risk for patients and clinicians alike. The science behind addressing such concerns is growing fast to meet the unmet need. This will undoubtedly expand the potential of the medical polycarbonate market in the coming few years.
Medical Polycarbonate Market: Product Overview
- Polycarbonates are among the fastest growing plastics in the medical device industry, primarily due to the favorable combination of cost and performance factors
- Medical polycarbonates possess optical clarity & colorability, durability/impact resistance, ductility for rigorous use, high heat resistance, low water absorption, dimensional stability, UV light/gamma radiation resistance, high flow & enhanced release, flame retardancy, sterilizability, chemical resistance, and biocompatibility characteristics
- Medical polycarbonates are widely used in medical devices for renal dialysis, cardiac surgery products, surgical instruments, and IV connection components
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Polycarbonate to Create Traction in Medical Industry
- In terms of application, the medical polycarbonate market can be segmented into eyewear, surgical instruments, wound care, drug delivery systems, electro-medical equipment, and others
- Demand for medical polycarbonates in medical tubing connectors is high owing to their high degree of dimensional stability
- Polycarbonates possess high transparency and are widely used transparent medical devices where visual monitoring of blood or other biological fluids is essential. Hence, demand for medical polycarbonates in transparent medical devices is projected to increase during the forecast period.
- Polycarbonates are gaining popularity among medical device manufacturers, as they possess high fracture strength and toughness that make them helpful in manufacture of delicate probes used in non-invasive surgical procedures
- Polycarbonate medical products can be sterilized with ethylene oxide, gamma radiation, electron beam radiation, and steam autoclaves. Medical polycarbonate medical devices do not undergo product failure when exposed to gamma rays and electron beams used in radiation sterilization. However, medical polycarbonate substitutes such as Teflon, rubber, polyurethane, and polypropylene are unable to withstand these radiations.
- Therefore, demand for polycarbonate in the medical industry is anticipated to increase in the near future due to their exceptional properties
High Demand for New Manufacturing Technologies to Boost Medical Polycarbonate Market
- High incidence rate of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) in developed nations such as the U.S. has compelled medical device manufacturers to develop new polycarbonates with higher levels of chemical resistance
- Increase in incidence of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) has boosted the usage of disinfectants to clean surfaces and medical equipment. This has led to pitting, cracking, color changes, and other unintended consequences of polycarbonate materials used in medical devices and equipment.
- In order to counter these negative situations, medical device and equipment designers are switching toward new polycarbonate materials with exceptional chemical physical characteristics
Replacement of Conventional Materials by Polycarbonate in Medical Devices & Equipment
- Medical device and equipment designers are planning to integrate an ergonomic grip into product design by developing and manufacturing light weight and functional polycarbonate products
- Ongoing improvements in physical and mechanical properties of medical polycarbonates and new polycarbonate formulations are increasingly substituting metals in medical device designs
- Medical device manufacturers are shifting toward metal-to-plastic transformation, wherein polycarbonates are predominantly used over metals owing to their higher tensile strength, and lighter, cheaper, more flexible, and easier to process characteristics
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Environmental Concerns Hampering Market Growth
- BPA (bisphenol A) is one of the primary ingredients used in manufacture of polycarbonates
- Of late, increase in trace levels of BPA in medical devices has become a topic of public safety debate
- Higher traces of BPA can cause endocrine disruption, hormone mimicry, carcinogenicity, and other human developmental and behavioral issues
- The Government of Canada has limited the usage of BPA in medical devices and equipment to be safe up to certain limits. However, public pressure to be sustainable and environmentally conscious has compelled manufacturers to make necessary changes in the selection of BPA-free polycarbonates for medical devices and equipment. This is expected to hamper the medical polycarbonate market in the near future.
North America Anticipated to Dominate Global Medical Polycarbonate Market
- In terms of region, the medical polycarbonate market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
- North America and Europe accounted for significant share of the global medical polycarbonate market in 2018
- North America is a leading consumer of medical polycarbonate, followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. Rise in demand for polycarbonate in the medical industry in developed economies such as the U.S., the U.K., and Germany is expected to boost the demand for medical polycarbonate during the forecast period.
- The medical polycarbonate market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period, due to the increase in awareness about medical polycarbonate among medical plastic product manufacturers. Rise in demand for medical polycarbonate in Asia Pacific has encouraged medical plastic product manufacturers in China to establish new production lines. This is likely to boost the demand for medical polycarbonate in the country in the next few years.
- Asia Pacific is the major producer of medical polycarbonate in the world. Countries such as China, India, and South Korea have strong distribution network of medical plastic products to meet the growing needs of consumers. China manufactures substantial amount of medical polycarbonate and exports it to Europe and North America.
- Advancements in polycarbonate compositions and the advent of manufacturing technologies are estimated to drive the medical polycarbonate market in Asia Pacific in the near future
- Increase in FDI investment in the medical industry in developing economies of Asia Pacific is also a key factor that is anticipated to drive the medical polycarbonate market in the region during the forecast period
- Implementation of stringent regulations against edible consumption of medical polycarbonate grades in the U.S. is expected to hamper the demand for medical polycarbonate in North America in the near future
Key Players in Medical Polycarbonate Market
Key players operating in the global medical polycarbonate market focus on distributing their products through strong distribution channels in order to increase their market share. Major players operating in the medical polycarbonate market include:
- Asahi Kasei Corporation
- Chi Mei Corporation
- Covestro AG
- Entec Polymers
- Lone Star Chemical
- Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
- RTP Company
- Trinseo S.A.