Reflective Materials: Infrastructure and New Energy Vehicles Are Important Growth Points

The upstream of the material industry chain is raw materials, mainly including PET, PVC, titanium dioxide. And the midstream is a supplier of various reflective films. There are mainly two types of glass beads and micro prisms in the market. The downstream is for various market applications, divided into planned dedicated market and civilian market.

The Traffic Sign Field Is More Inclined to the Micro Prism Type

According to the structure of the reflective unit of the reflective material, the reflective material can be divided into the glass bead type and the micro prism type.

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The glass bead-type reflective material can be called the first-generation reflective material. Its related technology has gone through three development stages, including exposed type, lens embedded type, and sealed capsule type, and reached its peak in the 1970s. However, the glass beads have some inherent defects that are difficult to overcome. One is that only 28% of the surface of the glass beads can be retroreflected; Second, because the glass beads are spherical objects, there are always some gaps in the arrangement, which cannot reflect the incident light. These factors limit the further development of glass bead reflective technology to a certain extent.

The second-generation reflective materials are micro-prism reflective materials, which can be divided into triangular prism type and full prism type according to the sequence of development. The incident light needs three total reflections in the micro prism to achieve the retroreflection effect. For the triangular prism type, when the light hits the truncated angle structure of the triangular prism, only two total reflections can be completed, and retroreflection cannot be achieved. The all-prism reflective material cuts off the three non-reflective truncated angles, leaving the core part. Through recombination, the all-prism reflective material can theoretically achieve 100% reflection.

In the field of road traffic signs, the micro-prism type reflective film has excellent performance. According to the research of related scholars, the process can be divided into three steps when recognizing road traffic signs, namely, perceiving the existence of the signs, recognizing the color and shape of the signs, reading and understanding the content of the signs, and the average duration of the whole process is 6.25 seconds. If the maximum speed limit of the expressway is 120km/h as the standard, the reflection distance that the reflective film can reach must be greater than 208 meters. The maximum reflection distance of the general glass microbead type reflective film is between 130 meters and 250 meters, while the reflection distance of the micro prism type reflective film can reach more than 350 meters. Taking into account the influence of bad weather and the slowness of some drivers in recognizing traffic signs, reflective films with a larger reflection distance should be used to make road traffic signs to ensure driving safety. Therefore, the micro-prism reflective film has excellent reverse Reflective performance is more popular.

Speeding Up Infrastructure Is Good for the Microprism Reflective Film Market

Domestic high-end micro-prism reflective film products break through the technological monopoly, and the product penetration rate will gradually increase. At present, the domestic micro prism-type reflective film market is about 3-4 billion yuan, and most of the market share is occupied by foreign companies such as 3M, Avery, NCI, and the leading domestic company Daoming Optics has a market share of nearly 10%. Considering the trade tensions between China and the United States in recent years, as well as with the improvement of the technology of micro-prism reflective film by domestic enterprises such as TD Optics, and the localization of upstream optical-grade resin raw materials, domestic high-end micro-prism reflective film products will be made in the future, in which the penetration rate will gradually increase.

Among the reflective material suppliers, domestic companies are mainly represented by Daoming Optics, Huarsheng, and Yeshili. Daoming Optics is the leader in the domestic reflective material industry, focusing on manufacturing license plate films and micro-prism films; Huarsheng is the leading company in the domestic car model market. The most influential manufacturers in the world are mainly 3M, Avery Dennison, and NCI. 3M is the inventor of reflective materials with a 120-year history of development; Avery Dennison is the world's leading manufacturer of self-adhesive label materials; NCI is an early player in the industry, a one-stop solution provider for reflective materials and traffic safety.

The Domestic Trade Surplus of Reflective Materials Is Large, But the Overall Strength Needs to Be Improved

According to customs data, China's total imports and exports of products involving reflective material items reached 8.924 billion US dollars in 2019. Among them, the import value was US$3.187 billion, a year-on-year increase of 8.00%; the export value was US$5.737 billion, a year-on-year increase of 16.3%. A trade surplus of US$25.51 was achieved, and the scale of the trade surplus has expanded compared to 2018.

At present, only a few leading companies in the industry can supply corresponding products, and the supply of products exceeds demand. In a good market environment, the lack of overall strength of the industry limits the further improvement of domestic product market share and market competitiveness.

Stable Demand for Reflective Materials in the Highway Sector

For motor vehicle drivers, night travel is a difficult task. There are high risks and intersections along the roadsides. Reflective technology allows drivers to accurately identify road traffic environment information and information at night. For road traffic signs, reflective film materials have irreplaceable functional advantages. According to statistics, the demand for reflective materials in China's highway sector reached 15.908 million square meters in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 1.3%.

The Popularization of New Energy Vehicles Promotes the Growth of the License Plate Film Market

As the penetration rate of new energy vehicles increases, the license plate film market will further expand. At present, domestic new energy vehicle license plates are different from traditional white license plates on a blue background. Most of them have a green background with a gradient effect and black lettering. The production process of new energy vehicle license plates is hot stamping technology, which is also the most commonly used license plate production technology in the world, different from traditional ink technology. It has the advantages of environmental protection and fast license plate production time. Due to the update of the production process, the size of the reflective film required to make car license plates by hot stamping technology is 1.1 times that of the original ink technology. The price is 40-50% higher than the traditional ink technology license plate film, and the gross profit rate of the hot stamping technology license plate is as high as 70%, the profit of a single set of license plate film doubled.

This March, to promote automobile consumption, policy support and financial incentives will be provided in three aspects, including new energy vehicle purchase, truck trade-in, and second-hand vehicle sales. In recent years, domestic auto sales have experienced a temporary decline, but with the introduction of this policy and subsequent national stimulus policies, domestic auto sales are expected to rebound. At the same time, under the condition that the total automobile sales rebound, the proportion of new energy automobile sales will also gradually increase, which will further expand the domestic automotive reflective film market.


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