Currently, many consumers are wondering what happened to their silicones, as they are facing supply problems of products that they have historically purchased and are being affected in terms of production, maintenance, and business generation.
To understand this situation, we must look at how the following points have affected the availability of raw materials:
- COVID 19
- Silicon metal
Let’s go point by point:
COVID 19 came to change our lives, and the digital transformation accelerated dramatically around the world. And teleworking, which before was an exclusivity of “freelancers” in sectors such as animation, IT, community managers, etc., became the new standard of new normality for many sectors such as education, sales, legal advice, and medical consultations, and a myriad of tasks.
It is necessary to consider that to be able to do telework, one must have at least a cellular or Tablet, and in the ideal case, a PC or laptop. The four electronic instruments mentioned above have several components in common, such as microprocessors, semiconductors, RAMs, etc. Silicon metal is used for all of them.
This element is also the primary raw material for many products with different applications such as cosmetic, pharmaceutical, industrial, textile grade silicones, microprocessors, solar panels, construction additives, glass additives, etc.
Silicones are not immune to the law of supply and demand since the greater the need for a good, in this case, silicon metal, the supply is not sufficient, and the price rises, hence all its derivatives.
While supply was affected by the closure of several silicone factories due to COVID 19, the production history that existed before the pandemic is now restored, but demand has continued to grow. For its part, the market size of silicon has increased ninefold from 2016 to Q4 of 2021.
Currently, one could say that the silicon commonly used in producing polydimethylsiloxane, Cyclomethicone, and/or their derivatives, has been used in the production of microprocessors for automobiles, televisions, smart gadgets, and all of the above.
It is important to remember that, in the production of siloxanes, catalysts, methanol, and other inputs are used, which have also been increasing in value and decreasing in availability due to COVID 19; this also impacts the cost and availability of raw materials produced from silicone.
Dear reader, you made it this far; let me tell you that in an optimistic scenario, we expect a return to normalcy in silicone availability between Q3 to Q4 of this year.
If the lack of silicones is a problem for your regular production, contact us. At Mathiesen, we can help you find a solution to your silicone needs.