The electrical and electronics markets attract a wide range of plastics materials. Around 10 generic material types have a significant market share, the leader being acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a material used principally for appliance housings and telephones. PS and PP are also important materials.
Plastic is increasingly being used in the electronic and electrical markets. There is constant innovation and very rapid product cycles. Mobile telephones are an obvious example. Companies operating in this sector must always be on the lookout for the next big thing. Optical fibre and wireless technologies are recent growth areas. Recycled materials are less of an issue in these markets because of the need to retain flame retardancy, but design for dismantling and recovery is likely to be increasingly important. The European WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive, currently being implemented across the EU, will have a significant impact here.
Technological and scientific advances which will continue to drive growth in electronics markets include liquid crystal materials, conductive polymers and flexible circuitry; Philips Research, for example, has recently demonstrated a flexible computer display which can be rolled up into a 1cm tube.