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[small Metal Summit] benefit from performance and cost advantages the application trend of antimony glycol is getting wider and wider.
Jul 24,2020 11:09CST
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Source:SMM
The content below was translated by Tencent automatically for reference.

SMM7 March 24: Deng Chuanyong, general manager of Yunnan Muli Antimony Industry Co., Ltd., said at the 2020 small Metal Industry Summit held by SMM that thanks to the advantages of performance and cost, the application trend of antimony ethylene glycol will be wider and wider. He analyzed antimony glycol development, antimony glycol application area, ethylene glycol antimony SWOT analysis, market supply, demand, conclusion analysis, future trend and so on.

Development of antimony glycol

The three uses of antimony: flame retardants, alloys and catalysts play an important role in the production of industrial products. The flame retardants are mainly antimony trioxide, in which antimony used in the production of flame retardants accounts for about 60% of the total antimony consumption, antimony consumed in alloy applications accounts for about 20%, and antimony consumed in catalyst uses accounts for about 12%. The consumption in other aspects is about 8%, and there are many medium products used in catalysts, among which representative products are "antimony glycol", "antimony acetate" and "metal passivator". What we now focus on is a product that has maintained a good trend of development and relatively fast growth in the past 10 years, antimony ethylene glycol, which is used in polyester catalyst.

Antimony glycol began to be used in polyester industrial Polycondensation as early as in the 1970s, when it was in the trial stage, and the quality was not very stable. in 1994, the French Chemical Company developed a more mature new type of antimony glycol catalyst. it was first used by foreign polyester manufacturers and gradually entered the Chinese market since 1996. Many domestic companies have tried imported antimony ethylene glycol as Polycondensation catalyst and achieved good results. From 1996 to 1998, domestic companies, colleges and scientific research institutions began to independently develop domestic antimony glycol. The successful maturity of domestic independent research and development and its introduction to the market broke out in 1999, when there were a number of companies, universities and scientific research institutions. Successfully launched their own domestic "antimony ethylene glycol" scientific research achievements, and applied for a patent. There were three representative ones in that year.

Application area of antimony glycol

Antimony glycol is mainly used in polyester Polycondensation, but it is rarely used in other fields. there are many kinds of catalysts for polyester Polycondensation in polyester industry, such as antimony system, germanium system, titanium system, tin system and so on. Antimony catalysts are widely used in polyester industry because antimony catalysts can greatly promote the condensation reaction in the process of Polycondensation, but have little effect on the thermal degradation reaction. Antimony glycol is the main antimony catalyst in the past 10 years. The synthesis method of antimony glycol is simple, the cost is low, the purity of the product is high, and there is no pollution. Antimony glycol has obvious advantages in catalytic performance in polyester industry, which can reduce the labor cost of catalyst products in factories, reduce environmental pollution, improve operating conditions and realize clean production.

SWOT analysis of antimony glycol

Advantages

In the use of polyester industry:

1. Among all polyester catalyst products, antimony glycol has a high market share of about 75%.

2. High antimony content and good activity, which can improve the production capacity of polyester plant.

3. It has high solubility and good dispersibility in ethylene glycol solution.

4. The catalyst itself will not bring in new impurities, which can improve the internal quality of chips and improve the spinnability of post-processing.

Inferior position

1. At present, the global polyester industry tends to the development trend of environmental protection catalysts, and the use of heavy metal-free catalysts has formed a relatively clear understanding.

2. The antimony content limits of polyester bottles and polyester films (including sheets-for blister packaging) directly related to food packaging in PET products have been set by the national standard.

3. The European Union and the United States have clear restrictions on the content of antimony in some products.

4. The anti-hydrolysis ability of antimony catalysts is not good enough and can be further studied and improved, because there is a considerable amount of water produced in the esterification process of polyester. It should be considered that a considerable part of antimony catalysts are hydrolyzed and reduced to metal antimony (non-catalytic).

Opportunity

1. With the rapid development of the polyester industry in the past 10 years, the production capacity and output have increased at an annual rate of 4.8% during the 13th five-year Plan period in the past five years, which has also brought the development of polyester catalysts.

2. The price of antimony ethylene glycol raw materials (antimony trioxide, ethylene glycol) decreased significantly, which reduced the production cost.

3. Since 2019, the overall recovery of the global polyester industry, the increase in the capacity of the polyester industry, and the 16% year-on-year increase in polyester production in 2019 has led to a substantial increase in demand for catalysts.

Threaten

1. Competitors, other non-heavy metal catalyst products, mainly the new titanium catalyst is more popular.

2. The European Union and the United States have respectively listed antimony as a priority pollutant, other countries have also set strict environmental standards for antimony, and Japan also has restrictions on antimony catalysts.

3. As antimony is a heavy metal, the problem of antimony toxicity has attracted more and more media attention and national attention, and the restrictions on antimony-containing products will become more and more stringent.

4. The enthusiasm of antimony related catalyst research projects decreased, and the R & D investment of related projects was relatively low.

Market supply and demand

Output

The output of antimony glycol among the member units of the China Antimony Industry Association was 11157 tons in 2018, an increase of 13 percent over the same period last year, and 13069 tons in 2019, an increase of 17.14 percent over the same period last year.

In 2019, other producers of antimony glycol in China (producers outside the antimony industry association) have an annual output of 6500 tons.

In 2019, the national production output of antimony glycol was summarized, with an annual output of 19569 tons, with domestic polyester industrial production consumption accounting for 88%, exports accounting for 10%, and others accounting for 2%.

Production capacity

From 2020 to 2021, China's ethylene glycol antimony industry will once again usher in the peak period of production, with 50% of antimony industry members and 50% of other and polyester industries in the expansion of production capacity.

China's chemical fiber output was 50.1109 million tons in 2018 and 58.27 million tons in 2019, an increase of 16.28 percent over the same period last year.

The output of polyester bottle chips in China was 8.155 million tons in 2018 and 8.7028 million tons in 2019, an increase of 6.72 percent over the same period last year.

China's chemical fiber production and polyester bottle chip production totaled 58.27 million tons in 2018 and 66.97 million tons in 2019, an increase of 15 percent over the same period last year.

In 2018, domestic polyester synthesis needs 17479 tons of polyester catalyst and 15734 tons of ethylene glycol antimony catalyst.

In 2019, domestic polyester synthesis needs 20092 tons of polyester catalyst and 18083 tons of ethylene glycol antimony catalyst. A year-on-year increase of 15%.

Conclusion, analysis

The main types of catalysts used for Polycondensation in polyester production are antimony system, germanium system, titanium system and so on.

Antimony catalysts: at present, antimony catalysts are the most commonly used in the polyester industry, accounting for 85% of polyester catalysts, and there are many kinds of antimony catalysts, among which antimony glycol, antimony trioxide and antimony acetate are mainly used in polyester production. although antimony trioxide was first used as a catalyst in the polyester industry, it has a small amount of impurities, is insoluble in ethylene glycol at low temperature, and has poor thermal stability. Dust exposure has an impact on the health of operators, and then, in the 1980s, most of the polyester industry used antimony acetate as a catalyst, but antimony acetate also had defects, such as low antimony content, increased dosage and high cost. The acetate radical contained in it is corrosive to the polyester plant, the post-treatment is tedious, and the cost of environmental protection is high. Compared with antimony trioxide and antimony acetate, antimony glycol has the above product efficacy, less impurity content and easy synthesis. The production of antimony glycol has little impact on the ecological environment, and has high catalytic activity in the use of polyester. It is considered to be the best polyester catalyst from the aspects of cost reduction, safety, cost and environment. Instead of antimony trioxide and antimony acetate, it has become the most widely used and widely used polyester catalyst product.

Germanium catalyst: although it has good reaction and stability in polyester plant, it does not have cost competitive advantage and mass production capacity due to the high cost of germanium and scarcity of resources.

Titanium-based catalysts: although in recent years, titanium-based polyester catalysts have reached a consensus in academic circles to replace antimony catalysts, and have become a hot research object of many experts, scientific research institutions, and colleges, they have been researched and used since 1970s. During the use of titanium-based composite catalysts in polyester plants, it is common that the reaction rate is too fast and affects the hue of polymers. No major breakthroughs have been made in these two aspects. Other side effects are caused in the process of use, and there are many by-products, and the viscosity of the polyester chip is not ideal, so that the color of the finished polymer is easy to yellowing.

Antimony glycol, from the production point of view, has the following advantages:

1. To prevent the formation of alcoholysis products and alcohol impurities and high Polycondensation ability;

2. It has high solubility in ethylene glycol solution, and antimony glycol, as a complex of ethylene glycol, has good dispersibility.

3. High antimony content and good activity, which can improve the production capacity of the unit.

4. The catalyst itself will not bring new impurities and can improve the internal quality of the chip.

5. The color of the polyester product is better, the b value and L value are improved, and the processing spinnability is improved.

6. So as to increase the output, reduce the total cost of polyester chips, and increase the market competitiveness of the products.

Prospect of future trend

Over the years, antimony glycol has been highly effective in the application of polyester catalysts. The production and demand of antimony glycol have increased steadily over the past 10 years, and it has occupied about 75% of the market share of polyester catalysts for a long time. Since 2019, the global polyester industry will once again usher in the peak period of production. It is expected that in the next five years, 2021-2025 will grow at an annual growth rate of 5.36%, and the global production capacity of polyester units will exceed 100 million tons in 2025. The output of polyester is 90 million tons, and the demand for antimony ethylene glycol is 27000 tons / year. Antimony trioxide, the main raw material, has decreased year by year, which has greatly reduced the production cost of antimony ethylene glycol. The cost price of producing antimony glycol has dropped from 90000 yuan / ton at its peak to 33000 yuan / ton now. Due to the support of low cost and price, as well as efficient catalytic synthesis performance of polyester, its application in the polyester industry will be more consolidated and consolidated in the next few years. The pattern that antimony glycol continues to dominate the market of polyester catalyst during the 14th five-year Plan period will not change. With the continuous promotion of application in the field of polyester catalyst and the research and development of other new application fields, the application trend of antimony ethylene glycol will be wider and wider in the future.

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