Plastics Pipes - Market Overview # 1995 Edinburgh
PVC has been used for the manufacture of pipe for over 60 years and such pipes are now used on a worldwide basis for water distribution, effluent disposal, drainage, both highway and land, rainwater goods and cable ducting for telephone and other telecommunications purposes. Today about one and a half million tonnes of PVC are used in the manufacture of pipe - over a quarter of the total European market for PVC - so the pipe sector is of great significance to the PVC industry. It also means that PVC pipes are the most widely used of all the plastic pipes.
"So what?", you may ask. If that sounds like yesterday's news, I'd like to explain to you why we believe that the PVC story still has a lot of life left in it, and why we see growth continuing for a long time to come. Let's take a brief look at why PVC has become the material of choice in pipe manufacture. Essentially it is because of the attractive cost benefit performance of PVC pipes which include light weight, durability, ease of installation and excellent hydraulic performance over a long lifetime.
But there are those who will tell you that PVC has had its day for environmental, cost, or regulatory reasons and that the future lies with other materials (normally undefined!). I believe, and our company believes, that there are opportunities to further develop the application of PVC in pipes, both from the PVC suppliers' and the pipe manufacturers' points of view. I would like to review some of the challenges and opportunities, demonstrate the strong and healthy future for PVC pipes, and show that there is plenty of good news on the PVC front.