In the next decade, the chemical industry will continue to change rapidly. Chemical suppliers must adapt quickly to maintain competitive advantage, overcome challenges and embrace new market opportunities.
According to a research report published by markets and markets, a global market research company, this paper describes three major trends in the chemical industry in the next few years.
Sustainable development and circular economy
The supply of key raw materials and energy is becoming increasingly tight. The increasing impact of emissions and waste disposal has led to stringent environmental regulations by different agencies
At present, global chemical suppliers are operating in the form of ecosystem to ensure sustainability and economy, thus reducing energy and resource consumption. The key nodes of these ecosystems - raw materials, chemical production, application and end-users - focus on the substitution of raw materials to maximize the use of renewable energy, energy recovery, recycling and reuse of end-users, so as to achieve the goal of circular economy and realize value maximization and resource conservation.
Digitalization is leading the innovation of all major industries, and the chemical industry is not lagging behind in embracing the power of digitalization and its role in innovation. Digital technology will help chemical suppliers in many ways, such as obtaining key data and insights from it, achieving higher production at lower cost, arranging preventive maintenance to reduce downtime, and promoting accurate inventory planning to prevent stock out.
Digitization is expected to lead to increased revenue and lower costs, while increasing the industry's EBITDA margin by 9%. Although many companies have begun to take advantage of the advantages provided by mobility and the Internet of things, machine learning and blockchain are expected to be major breakthroughs in the chemical industry.
Innovation and accelerating globalization
Demand for chemicals in emerging markets continues to grow as their working age population remains a huge driver of the chemical industry. The shortening of product life cycle and the upsurge of product commercialization accelerate the pace of globalization.
Last year, most of the mergers and acquisitions in the global chemical industry took place between companies that provide commodities, intermediates and special materials. Most of these transactions took place in the United States and China. In the past 20 years, production facilities have mainly shifted to Asia. However, with the emergence of shale gas technology in the United States and coal to olefin technology in China, it will be very interesting for chemical suppliers to see how things go.
Consider the following examples of innovations:
New manufacturing process: carbon fiber composite manufacturers and automobile manufacturers are exploring ways to increase the application of composite materials in automobiles. Faurecia (France) has developed a "one-off" manufacturing process for composite parts, which not only improves the quality, but also reduces the cost and cycle time.
To rationalize the price of composites: plasticomp, Inc. commercialized its new hybrid long glass and carbon fiber composites in two kinds of thermoplastic polymer matrix, thus reducing the cost of carbon fiber composites without compromising its advantages of high performance.
Advanced insulation materials: compared with the traditional thermal insulation materials, aerogel and phase change materials and other thermal insulation materials will achieve a two digit growth rate in terms of energy saving and thermal comfort.