By David Reed, UT EditorLondon-Polyurethane-based systems dominate the west European market for coatings for plastics, which is expected to reach around 142 000 tonnes by 2008, equivalent to annual growth of 3.4 percent from its present level of 119 930 tonnes in 2003. And, according to Information Research (IRL), the London-based consultancy group which compiled the report, fashion is becoming a key driving force in many of the important application sectors such as the automotive and consumer products industries.PU-based systems have a 58-percent share of the total business, IRL estimates, and they continue to take share from acrylic systems which now account for just 21 percent of the total, while UV-curable systems account for a further 8 percent. A wide range of other technologies accounts for the remaining 13 percent of the business, IRL says. Looking further ahead, the consultancy group says that UV-curable, water-based and speciality technologies are likely to demonstrate the best growth opportunities, especially from 2007 onwards.The main end uses for plastics coatings are in the automotive sector, accounting for 51 000 tonnes, or 42 percent of the total, and greater functional integration through plastic use will be a key development area, the consultancy group asserts. Here, more than ever, there will be closer cooperation between OEMs and designers as interiors become more sophisticated and exteriors shift towards a 'total look,' IRL explains.In addition to sections on the use of plastics coatings in the automotive and other sectors, the 60-page report has 30 tables detailing the market data and trends as well as a directory of manufacturers of coatings for plastics in western Europe and national plastics and coatings associations.The report, titled The Western European market for coatings for plastic, costs €2250 for a single hard-copy edition. Sections of the report, priced individually, will soon be available to purchase online at IRL's website: www.informationresearch.co.uk"