Once manufactured as a processable material, PVC is supplied downstream to companies collectively known as ‘converters’.
These firms either make final PVC products for sale or make components for further downstream companies.
Various additives including stabilisers and plasticisers need to be added to PVC resin to create a ‘compound’ that meets the requirement of the end product and of the processing technology to be used. Compounding may be carried out by the converters themselves or by separate ‘compounders’ who supply ready-made blends ready for processing. The PVC compound is then ‘converted’ by processes such as extrusion, moulding and calendaring.
The PVC resin industry, the PVC additive manufacturers and the PVC compounding & converting industry are closely associated with each other, and are often collectively referred to – in short hand - as the ’PVC industries’.
The total PVC production and conversion industry in Western Europe comprises more than 21.000 companies with more than 530.000 jobs and a turnover of more than 72 billion euro.
The industry can be roughly divided into four groups: PVC polymer producers, stabiliser producers, plasticiser producers, and PVC converters.