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Socio-economic contribution of polycarbonate in Spain

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.

Spain is a major producer of polycarbonate: about 20% of
total European production is produced here, generating about
500 mio Euro of value added. A trade surplus of about 380
mio Euro is generated by net exports of polycarbonate. Due
to its function as an enabling technology, over 38,000 jobs
in Spain are related to the production and consumption of
Spanish national consumption of polycarbonate grew
continuously by about 6% p.a. during the past years and
reached about 7% of total EU consumption in 2010. Nearly
90% of the Spanish consumption of polycarbonate is
concentrated in four key economic sectors: in Building &
Construction, in the Electrical & Electronics industries, the
Automotive and the Optical Media sector. It is estimated
that about 2.6 billion Euro of value added depend upon
polycarbonate technology in Spain.

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. Over 75% of the Spanish
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: 4,000 jobs in the production
industry, 2,000+ jobs in the processing, and 32,ooo jobs
related to the manufacturing and sale of end products are
related directly and indirectly to polycarbonate in unique
applications in Spain.

A characteristic use of polycarbonate in Spain is the
Horticultural sector concentrated in the South-East in the
region of Almeria. Here, more than 26,000 hectares of land
are covered by greenhouses, which are built with lightweight,
shatter-proof and transparent polycarbonate glazing. Over 95%
of the Spanish production of peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers,
melons, green beans, and lettuces from these greenhouses are
exported, mainly to the other European countries . Total output
is estimated to be in excess of 12 billion Euro.
Polycarbonate is a dynamic enabling platform technology for
innovation, thus helping to sustain Spain´s manufacturing
base. The competitive position of a significant number of
leading Spanish 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 well-being, while at
the same time reducing costs and improving the product

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