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Socio-economic contribution of polycarbonate in Sweden

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.

Sweden has no own polycarbonate production and therefore
depends on imports from other countries to supply its Swedish industries´ needs of this high performance plastics material. However, due to its function as enabling technology, over 13,000 jobs were related to the use of polycarbonate in Sweden in 2010. In that year, Sweden consumed about 3% of the EU production of polycarbonate, thereby generating ca. 750 million Euro of value added. Over 90% of the Swedish consumption of polycarbonate is concentrated in three key economic sectors: the Electrical
& Electronics industries, the Automotive and the Medical
Devices market sector. The Electrical & Electronics sector supports nearly 63,000 jobs and generates an output of 22 million Euro. Here polycarbonate is used as a critical component in many technically complex and safety related applications, such as fi re retardant computer housings, electrical installations in private homes and large public buildings, consumer electronics and domestic appliances. Over 80% of the Swedish output in this sector is exported. In the Automotive market, polycarbonate is used in parts and components because of its impact resistance, light weight and
transparent characteristics. Vehicles, parts and component represent more than 12% of the total Swedish export, generating more than 17 millon Euro trade surplus. 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. This is particularly the case in the medical applications sector, where hygiene and sterilisability
over multiple re-uses as well as highest possible inertness and transparence is required. The Swedish medical devices industry is one of the largest in Europe, accounting for over 5% of output. Sweden is one of the world´s centers of expertise in hemodialysis. Polycarbonate is a dynamic enabling platform technology for innovation, thus helping to sustain Sweden´s manufacturing base. The competitive position of a significant number of
leading Swedish 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 performance.

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