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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.

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. PVC produced through the Emulsion polymerization process is mainly used as latex or paste in speciality applications.

Shin-Etsu, Formosa Group, Occidental, Solvay, Ineos, LG Group, Georgia Gulf and Reliance Industries are some of the leading producers of PVC. The name plate plant size capacity has risen from 36 MMT in 2006 to 48 MMT in 2011 for PVC plants. PVC price touched its lowest level in last five years in Nov’08 – 586$/MT-SE Asia prices, while in May’12 PVC price has been 1018$ MT corresponding to Crude 107.31 $/Barrel and Naphtha 886 $/MT. Global PVC capacity was 50 MMT in 2011 against demand of 36 MMT. The capacity is expected to increase to 57 MMT in 2016 with demand reaching 45 MMT.

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 mt/year. At present, the Indian PVC industry boasts of a production capacity of 1.3 million mt/year. In India the total PVC capacity is expected to reach 1635 KTA by 2016-17 and Reliance Industries Ltd has planned capacity expansion to 735 KTA by 2016-17 followed by Finolex at 270 KTA, Chemplast 250 KTA, DCW90 KTA and Shriram70 KTA.

The large difference in demand growth rates between the Vinyls markets in developed and developing regions, therefore, will further shift the geographic balance away from North America and West Europe toward the emerging markets in Asia, South America, India and the Middle East. The four BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries exemplify this trend and together will likely account for an estimated 60 percent of the global demand growth expected to take place over the next five years; China alone will likely account for just over 40 percent. Rising living standards driven by advances in services, industry, and agricultureand the need to develop infrastructure will help boost the PVC supplies. 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 last 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. With an investment of Rs. 20 lakh crore towards infrastructure development in India in 2011-12 and a projected investment of Rs. 40 lakh crore till 2016-17, the consumption of PVC in pipes is expected to progressively increase and reach 10 million mt by 2017 from a current estimated consumption of 6 million mt.

As the development focus has now shifted to Asia has led world-renowned window manufacturers to set up their fabrication units in India and by 2016-17, the consumption of PVC in window profiles is estimated to reach 205 kt. 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 Projected
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
RIL 650 650 690 735 735 735
Finolex 270 270 270 270 270 270
Chemplast 250 250 250 250 250 250
DCW 90 90 90 90 90 90
Shriram 70 70 70 70 70 70
Total 1330 1440 1590 1635 1635 1635

Producer PVC: India Demand Supply
Actual Projected
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Capacity 1330 1440 1590 1635 1635 1635
Prod/Cons 1275 1380 1520 1560 1560 1560
Imports 813 738 810 1003 1260 1542
Consumption 2087 2118 2330 2563 2820 3102
Cons Growth (%)   2% 10% 10% 10% 10%

Total PVC Consumption in 2011-12 1971 Kt

PVC (Kt) 10-11 11-12 % Share % Growth
Pipes 1340 1360 69% 1.5%
Calendering 160 162 8% 1.3%
W & C 100 107 5% 7.0%
Films 80 90 5% 13%
Compound 50 64 3% 28%
Fittings 70 64 3% -8.6%
Profiles 50 50 3% 0.0%
Footwear 35 34 2% -2.9%
Sheets 25 28 1% 12%
BM 3 3 0% 0.0%
Others 6 9 0% 50%
Total 1919 1971   2.7%

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