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Socio-economic contribution of polycarbonate in Germany

Polycarbonate is a lightweight, highly versatile, durable, heat and shatter resistant, formable and
transparent thermoplastic. It is the material of choice for a wide range of end-user applications
as diverse as DVDs, spectacles and optical lenses, car headlamps and parts, transparent roofs in
construction, or medical devices.

Germany is the major producer of polycarbonate in Europe:
about 40% of total European production is produced
here, generating about 900 mio Euro of value added. A
trade surplus of about 560 mio Euro is generated by net
exports of polycarbonate. Due to its function as an enabling
technology, almost 120,000 jobs in Germany are related to
the production and consumption of polycarbonate.
German national consumption of polycarbonate grew
continuously by over 4% p.a. during the past years and
reached about 22% of total EU consumption in 2010. 90% of
the German consumption of polycarbonate is concentrated
in fi ve key economic sectors: in the Optical Media, Building
& Construction, Electrical & Electronics, Automotive and
Medical Devices sector. It is estimated that about 8.1
billion Euro of value added depend upon polycarbonate
technology in Germany.
In many of these applications polycarbonate is critical to
transforming the functional characteristics of components or end uses. This means: Polycarbonate cannot be replaced
by any other material if the same material performance
characteristics are required. Circa 85% of the German
consumption of polycarbonate is used in these unique
In unique applications situations, outputs are dependent
upon polycarbonate, and so are the working places of the
people producing or processing them: 8,000 jobs in the
production industry, 8,000 jobs in the processing, and
104,000 jobs related to the manufacturing and sale of end
products are related directly and indirectly to polycarbonate
in unique applications in Germany.
This is particularly the case in the medical applications
sector, where robustness, biocompatibility and ease
of sterilization over multiple re-uses as well as highest
possible inertness and transparence is required.

Germany´s world leading medical devices industry
accounts for 30% of the output of medical and surgical
equipment in the EU. This includes applications used in
open heart surgery, blood processing devices and dialysis
Germany is also the largest centre of production of optical
storage media and accounts for over 30% of European
output. In the Automotive and Building&Construction
industries in Germany, as an enabling technology,
polycarbonate provides development designers with the
basis for innovation in applications requiring long-term
transparency, stability against wear and shatter-proof
combined with light weight, thus providing for safety as
well as energy saving. Use of polycarbonate in the German
Automotive Parts industry includes for example advanced
lighting systems, instrument panels, glazing, safety features
and body panels.
Polycarbonate is a dynamic enabling platform technology
for innovation, thus helping to sustain Germany´s
manufacturing base. The competitive position of a
significant number of leading German companies depends upon the continued exploitation of the many and unique
properties of polycarbonate. It offers solutions to modern
societies to meet the emerging needs for lower weight,
greater safety and security, lower risks and improved wellbeing, while at the same time reducing costs and improving
the product performance.

Jasmin Bird
Manager Communications
PC/BPA-Group PlasticsEurope
Tel: +32 2 676 1738