In this installment of the 2020 Plastics Market Forecast series, our director of Wire & Cable, Todd Waddle, and our market manager for Electrical & Electronics, Carlos Aponte, share their perspectives on what’s ahead for their respective markets. Both the Wire & Cable and Electrical & Electronics markets are constantly changing as new technologies, urbanization and population growth, and the growing appetite for more environmentally-conscious products and practices drive demand. If their responses are any indication, 2020 will be a year of significant progress.
Todd starts us off by sharing his predictions for Wire & Cable below:
“The Wire & Cable market is set to experience exciting technological and environmentally-conscious advancements in 2020. As I think back to my predictions for 2019, I expect the Internet of Things (IoT), and the demand for even faster 5G will continue to drive market growth. Additionally, I expect urban expansion and the need for safer homes and buildings, which drive demand for Wire & Cable materials used in security and fire alarm applications, to continue its growth trajectory.
We’ll also see some exciting technological developments relating to driverless vehicle technology and conservation, as well as how to tackle sustainability. I expect these trends will shape 2020 and beyond as technology evolves, and as we learn the best way to promote a circular economy.
Autonomous & Electric Vehicles: Autonomous vehicles are the way of the future, and the automotive industry is continuing to work towards fully-autonomous and driverless cars. While we wait for that day, semi-autonomous vehicles are and will continue to drive demand for Wire & Cable materials and products because these vehicles include improved safety features, sensors, and vehicle cameras. We also expect to see an increase in Wire & Cable used in electric and hybrid vehicles that require power cables and connectors, as well as lighter materials to improve fuel efficiency.
Plastics Mitigating Wildfires: Our environment is seeing an increase in explosive cyclogenesis, also known as bomb cyclones. Explosive cyclogenesis causes high sustained surface winds (approx. 74- 95 mph), which can cause overhead conductors to touch, generate sparks and create wildfires, such as the Camp Fire– the deadliest wildfire in California’s history. Utility companies have a few options for mitigating fire risk from power lines colliding. Some solutions include turning off overhead power lines (an unpopular choice), installing underground electric cable (an expensive option), or insulating and coating bare overhead lines with plastic materials that protect the bare wire and prevent sparks from causing fires.
Considering the devastating wildfires we’ve seen in recent years, I expect more utility companies in wildfire-prone states will take advantage of the advanced plastic materials and cable coatings for overhead power lines to protect their communities and wildlands, which will also drive growth for Wire & Cable.
Sustainability Through Recycling: Sustainability is the biggest issue of our time– not just for Wire & Cable and plastics industries, but for the future of our planet. The Wire & Cable market will have to decide how to tackle the new challenges brought on by the shift to sustainability and the push for a circular economy, but we’re off to a good start. Currently, polyethylene and polypropylene resins used in applications such as conduit, insulation, jacketing, and strength member are already easy to recycle materials.
The upcoming year will be an interesting and environmentally-conscious one as we continue driving new technological advancements and correcting existing products and practices to preserve our world and create a more sustainable future. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out!”
– Authored by Todd Waddle, Director, Wire & Cable
A close cousin to the Wire & Cable market, M. Holland’s newest market segment– Electrical & Electronics– is also set to experience a year of growth and technological advancement due to population growth, urban expansion, and increased commercial and residential construction. Market manager Carlos Aponte weighs in on why Electrical & Electronics will be an emerging market for M. Holland in 2020 and beyond:
“After strategically realigning with suppliers and noting the demands in robotics and automation, LED lighting, and new engineered power systems, M. Holland found that suppliers were reallocating resources to meet demands in the Electrical & Electronics space. We wanted to help suppliers and customers anticipate and manage this evolving market, products, and regulatory changes, which led to the advent of an Electrical & Electronics market segment within our Business Development Group.
In 2020, we plan to partner with key producers and strategic OEM’s to better address the demands mentioned above and the challenges posed by a changing global regulatory landscape. I also expect to see an increase in urbanization, residential and commercial construction, and populations, which will drive greater demand for power, lighting, electrical, and electronic reinforcements. Overall, I look forward to seeing the progress M. Holland makes in this new market segment in 2020.”
– Authored by Carlos Aponte, Market Manager, Electrical & Electronics
In our next installment of the 2020 Plastics Market Forecast series, Frank LaRocque, M. Holland’s director of resale sales, will share his perspective on what we can expect from the emerging flexible packaging segment. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to check for future and previously-published market insights from our Healthcare, 3D Printing, Rotational Molding, Color & Compounding, and Automotive market managers.