COVID-19 Impact on Pharmaceutical Packaging in Chemicals and Materials Industry


  • Apr 30, 2022

Chemicals industry:

Chemicals have been in the application for more than a thousand years now. Chemical manufacturing practices have evolved over the years since their inception. The scope of application, which was restricted to only certain industrial activities, has widened over the years into manufacturing consumer goods today. This history of chemicals can be tracked down to when alkali and limestone were mixed together to form glass. In the series of discoveries and inventions, the mixture of Sulphur and saltpeter gave the world a similar substance to gunpowder. Around the 10th century, the Chinese developed black powder which was used as primitive explosive material. However, this was all restricted to a low scale. The chemicals industry came to fame on a large scale in the 19th century.

Industrial revolution- Industrial revolution greatly and positively impacted the chemicals industry. The impact was such that the emergence of the chemicals industry as an independent branch is associated with the emergence of industrial revolution. It was in this phase when the first few sulphuric acid plants were established in Great Britain in 1740 (Richmond), France in 1766 (Rouen), Russia in 1805 (Moscow Province), and Germany in 1810 (near Leipzig). This led to the emergence of a number of other plants, such as soda plants in France in 1793 (near Paris), Great Britain in 1823 (Liverpool), Germany in 1843 (Schönebeck), and Russia in 1864 (Barnaul) and artificial fertilizer plants in Britain (1842), Germany (1867), and Russia (1892). Chemical companies caught hold on the electrolytic method, which led to the high demand and production of caustic soda and ash.

19th century- The second half of the 19th century further led to the advancements in the organic chemistry. This in turn led to the growth in the production rate of synthetic dyes and coal tar. Synthetic dyes carved the way for the global growth of textiles, paint, and printing. During World War II, the United States extensively depended on petrochemicals for the production of plastics and fibers. During the 19th century, the two main driving forces for the chemical industry were polymer science (dealt with the production and manufacturing of plastics, resins, paints, and adhesives) and chemical engineering (dealt with the production and manufacturing of products possible and at a low enough cost to be profitable). The conclusion of World War II led to the shift in focus from inorganic chemicals to organic chemicals. The increased rate of globalization was responsible for the booming chemicals industry and by the end of the century, the industry leadership shifted to Germany. Commercial politics, a high level of scientific and technological development and the strengthening of the monopoly on patents were the major reasons responsible for the growth and dominance of Germany in the global market. It is to be noted the chemical industry began to flourish in the United States way later than in the European economies. However, United States was quick enough to overtake the market. In the early 1900's it emerged as the largest producer in the world in volume of chemical production due to the country's wealthy mineral resources and technologically advanced infrastructure.

20th century- This phase led to the introduction of synthetic fertilizers in the global market by the American Cyanamid Company. This was a stepping stone to the green revolution in the agricultural industry research and development activities extensively increased during this period and synthetic rubber came into existence in this phase. During this phase, the principal producers of the same were USA, Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy. In the late 20th century, the dominance of U.S. weakened in the global market. 1960s was the time that saw rise in the production of organic chemicals such as natural gas. Many chemical companies such as BP, Shell, and Exxon began to diversify during this period. 

21st century- By this phase, the companies were broadly categorized into large, medium and small scale enterprises globally. Multi-billion dollar companies improved the presence at a global scale. The phase generated millions of employment opportunities. The chemical business contains the organizations that produce synthetic compounds. Integral to the cutting edge world economy, it makes more than 70,000 different finished products (by utilizing raw materials such as oil, petroleum gas, air, water, metals, and minerals).