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PVC–Poly Vinyl Chloride

Polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated PVC, is the third-most widely-produced plastic, after polyethylene and polypropylene. 57% of the molecular weight of PVC is derived from common salt, with the remaining 43% derived from hydrocarbon feedstocks. PVC is made by suspension process (82%), by mass polymerization (10%), or by emulsion (8%). All PVC is produced by addition polymerization from the vinyl chloride monomer in a head-to-tail alignment. PVC is amorphous with partially crystalline (Syndiotactic) due to structural irregularity increasing with the reaction temperature. PVC (rigid) decomposes at 212 F leading to dangerous HCl gas.

Polyvinyls were invented in 1835 by French chemist V. Regnault when he discovered a white residue could be synthesized from ethylene dichloride in an alcohol solution. (Sunlight was catalyst). PVC was patented in 1933 by BF Goodrich Company in a process that combined a plasticizer, tritolyl phosphate, with PVC compounds making it easily moldable and processed.

Shin-Etsu, Formosa Group, Occidental, Solvay, Ineos, LG Group, Georgia Gulf and Reliance Industries are some of the leading producers of PVC. The global name plate capacity has risen from 51 MMT in 2011 to over 61 MMT in 2015 for PVC plants. Against global PVC demand of 36 MMT in 2011, it is expected to increase to 42 MMT in 2016. Manufacturing of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in India started 60 years ago with the country’s first PVC plant set up in Mumbai in 1951. The plant operated by Calico had a capacity of 6000 MTA. In India the total PVC capacity(suspension) is expected to be around 1440 KTA in 2016-17. The demand for PVC is expected to be over 2930 KTA in 2016-17.

Globally, demand for PVC is closely aligned to economic development growth. One of the best estimates for PVC demand is its close correlation to construction sector growth. This is due to the fact that spending in the construction sector always stimulates demand for resins as supplies such as PVC pipes, fittings, siding, wire and cable are some of the basic requirements for building any infrastructure. As a rule of thumb, growth rates will tend to be modest in developed economies as building and basic infrastructure would have been well established. Today, stronger demand growth is likely to be concentrated in developing economies in Asia, such as China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia. For high demand locations, the common theme to look out for is a large population base with a stable political climate that still needs considerable spending on infrastructure.

Demand for PVC in developing countries will account for a larger proportion of global PVC consumption due to its stronger growth rate. By 2025, Northeast Asia will form by far the largest demand region, consuming 28 million metric tons of PVC, or equivalent to 48% of the world total. Additionally, China shall remain the largest PVC consumer and producer in the world for the foreseeable future.

In terms of end uses, pipes and fittings is the bedrock of demand for PVC resins, accounting for more than 40% of all PVC usage globally. This category is forecast to see an average annual growth of 3.9% per year to 2025, which is the highest growth sector. As a consequence, pipes and fittings are expected to account for 45% of global consumption by 2025. Rigid PVC end uses, such as pipes & fittings and profiles, are durable items mainly used for the construction sector. These end uses tend to face less scrutiny and environmental pressure than flexible PVC products such as artificial leather, films and sheets which tends to contain plasticizers, such as phthalates, about which a variety of concerns have sometimes been raised. Thus, rigid PVC applications will tend to see faster growth and account for a larger proportion of consumption and growth when compared with flexible PVC usage.

PVC, a major plastics material which finds widespread use in building, transport, packaging, electrical/electronic and healthcare applications. PVC is a very durable and long lasting construction material, which can be used in a variety of applications, rigid or flexible, white or black and a wide range of colours in between. Due to its very nature, PVC is widely used in many industries and provides very many popular and necessary products. Heavy investments by the government in infrastructure projects and focus on increase in irrigational land are the main drivers for the increased consumption of PVC.

There are four polymerization routes for the manufacture of PVC. They are Suspension Polymerization, Emulsion Polymerization, Bulk or Mass Polymerization, Solution Polymerization. The leading licensors for this technology are Ineos Vinyls, Uhde, Vinnolit and Chisso.

Bulk polymerization process included gas phase polymerization. Micro-suspension process was included in suspension process. There are two processes in the solution process, one is homogeneous process where polymer is soluble in solvent and the other is heterogeneous process (or slurry process) where polymer is insoluble in the solvent.

PVC: Suspension Process

PVC: Mass Polymerization Process

PVC: Emulsion Polymerization Process

Capacity (kt)   Actual Actual Actual Actual Actual Projected
Type 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
RIL Susp 625 625 670 670 750 750
Finolex Susp 270 270 270 270 270 270
Chemplast Susp 250 260 260 260 260 260
DCW Susp 90 90 90 90 90 90
Shriram Susp 70 70 70 70 70 70
Total   1350 1315 1360 1360 1440 1440
Chemplast Emulsion 30 30 30 30 30 30
DCW cPVC 0 0 12 12 12 12
    1335 1335 1402 1402 1482 1482
Source: Industry
PVC: India Demand Supply
  Actual Actual Actual Actual Actual Projected
Type 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Capacity   1305 1315 1360 1360 1440 1440
Production Susp 1242 1201 1293 1256 1354 1406
Dom Sales Susp 1230 1215 1283 1271 1364 1407
Imports Susp 749 1048 1026 1172 1335 1542
Exports Susp            
Consumption   1979 2263 2309 2443 2699 2931
      14.4% 2.0% 5.8% 10.5% 8.6%
Source: Industry

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