Short for Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, UHMW is a particular type of machinable thermoplastic that brings with it a wide range of different benefits. In addition to the fact that it is self-lubricating (meaning that it has not only excellent resistance to wear and abrasion), it also has high impact strength, exceptional corrosion resistance, low friction, low moisture absorption, and more.
Because of these characteristics, UHMW is a material used in a plethora of different applications. Supply chains all over the world rely on it for efficient material handling and conveying. It’s used on a daily basis in plastic and metal fabrication because it is so easily machinable. It is commonly used in transportation and shipping for items like storage bins and interior panels. The list goes on and on.
Indeed, UHMW has become a popular option for many over the years – and it looks like that is a trend that is about to continue. According to one recent report, the global UHMW market is set to experience “significant growth” over the coming years in more ways than one.
The Global UHMW Market: What You Need to Know
According to the report, the global UHMW market was valued at approximately $1.795 billion in 2020. That number is expected to climb to an incredible $3.815 billion by as soon as 2026. That accounts for an impressive compound annual growth rate of 13.4% during those six years. About 134.13 kilo tons of UHMWPE was sold in 2020 alone.
Things are looking particularly good in North America, which has about 33% of the global market share. Much of his has to do with the wide use of UHMW materials in the areas of defense and the military. Thanks to its desirable traits, UHMW is commonly used to create everything from lightweight helmets to more reliable bulletproof vests.
Interestingly, Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing market over the aforementioned period. This is because a lot of advanced medical devices and cars will be developed in the region using (in part) UHMW which will then begin to make their way around the world.
All of this makes sense because UHMW is such a versatile material. In addition to its uses in healthcare, medical, aerospace, and defense, it is also commonly relied on by those in industries like:
- Sports and leisure.
- Pipe and machining.
- Water filtration.
- Food and beverages.
- Oil and gas.
- And more.
Right now, the industrial and heavy equipment sectors hold the largest market share of UHMW by end user, coming in at about 15%. The oil and gas industry came in second with a market size that is expected to hit around $203 million by as soon as 2024.
If you’d like to find out more information about the continued growth of the global UHMW market, or if you’d just like to talk to someone about why UHMW might be an excellent fit for your next big project, please feel free to contact the team at Spiratex today.