The global ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene market is projected to generate $4,493.7 million revenue by 2030, advancing at a CAGR of 10.1% during 2021–2030. The market is distinguished by a large number of players operating on a global scale. Furthermore, several government initiatives to improve personal protective equipment and anti-ballistic gear for military and law enforcement personnel are expected to aid the market growth. Also, the polymer has light weight, low production cost, and several features and applications, which present numerous opportunities for UHMWPE manufacturers.
To improve fuel efficiency and, ultimately, reduce carbon emissions, automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have adopted this polymer as a substitute for metals in the fabrication of automotive components, which, in turn, positively impacts the market.
The medical grade & prosthetics category is projected to progress at the highest pace, advancing at a CAGR of more than 10%, during the forecast period. This can be ascribed to its advantageous chemical and physical properties, including higher flexibility and superior strength as compared to metals, and in recent years, UHMWPE has been gaining acceptance as a prosthetic material in the medical sector. Moreover, due to technological advancements, prosthetics now are more comfortable for users and have a longer operational life.
Furthermore, industry applicants have taken several steps in recent years to develop advanced materials, and improve their properties and application areas. For instance, crosslinked polymers with antioxidant additives such as vitamin E are gaining acceptance as hip replacement prosthetics. These materials are most commonly used in spine, knee, and hip implants.
In addition, crosslinked UHMWPE is more resistant to wear than other polymers. This property reduces the risk of inflammation, which minimizes the chances of bone damage and prosthesis failure. Furthermore, the material is used as a suture during surgeries. High-strength sutures are non-absorbable and provide a high level of strength for tying knots after surgery. Also, UHMWPE is many times stronger than steel and is not reactive to chemicals or additives.
The increasing industrialization and infrastructure development in the region is expected to lead to the growth in the ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene market. APAC has been the largest importer of polyethylene for supply to vast industries like packaging, plastics, and others. Moreover, the growing middle-class population has led to rapid urbanization and growth in the manufacturing sector, which is projected to drive the regional market.
Moreover, companies have taken several development strategies to improve their position in the market. For instance, Celanese Corporation declared a three-year plan to increase compounding capacities of engineered materials at its Asian facilities, such as in Nanjing and Suzhou (China) and Silvassa (India), in March 2021. The expansion aims to gain a competitive advantage by catering to local customer needs.
Major players operating in the ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene market include Celanese Corporation, Koninklijke DSM N.V., LyondellBasell Industries N.V., Braskem SA, Asahi Kasei Corporation, DuPont de Nemours Inc., Korea Petrochemical Ind. Co. LTD., Mitsui Chemicals Inc., and Teijin Limited.