US demand to rise 5.1% annually through 2017
US demand for specialty films is expected to grow 5.1 percent annually to $8.0 billion in 2017. Expansion of the market will be fostered by the increasing need for high-performance plastic films that offer such advantages as barrier properties, mechanical strength, and chemical resistance in packaging and construction applications. Additionally, the penetration of specialty films into high-growth market areas such as photovoltaic modules biodegradable products, and pharmaceuticals will bolster demand. The expansion of modified atmosphere packaging and case-ready packaging will fuel further gains, as will improved processing methods in film coating and metallization. However, demand growth will be inhibited by market maturity or weak demand for end-use products in a number of specialty film applications, such as conductive and insulative films in consumer electronics, microporous films for personal care products, and interlayer films for automotive windows.
Barrier films to remain largest product segment
Barrier films will remain the largest segment of the specialty film industry, accounting for nearly two-thirds of total demand in 2017. Growth will be driven by the continued expansion of packaging requiring high barrier properties for an array of products. However, the most rapid growth in specialty films will occur in biodegradable and water soluble films, which will see robust gains from a small base. Demand for biodegradable films, which are used to produce compostable packaging and plastic bags, will benefit from environmental concerns and increased commercialization of bio-based polymers. Water soluble film demand will
be driven by innovations in medicinal and health products in dissolvable thin film form and increased use of dissolvable laundry bags in hospitals and other health care facilities.
Light control films will exhibit above average growth in demand as a result of the favorable outlook for the building construction and photovoltaic markets. In both new construction and home improvements, the growing demand for more energy efficient buildings will fuel demand for window films designed to block infrared radiation while allowing in visible light. Growth in the photovoltaic market will also benefit light control films used as frontsheets. These films allow for light transmission necessary for solar energy generation, while featuring superior mechanical strength, weatherability, and flexibility. Conductive and insulative films will also be fueled by the growing solar energy market, where they are used for backsheets and encapsulants in photovoltaic modules.
Medical, drug uses to pace dominant packaging market
The packaging market will be the leading outlet for specialty films, accounting for more than two-thirds of demand in 2017. Gains will be driven by packaging for medical products and pharmaceuticals needed to care for an aging population as well as by antistatic packaging used to protect electronic components. However, the fastest growth will be in construction applications, as vapor barrier, security, and light control films benefit from the increase in building construction activity. The electronics market will also register above average growth, largely driven by films used in the production of photovoltaic modules.
Profiles 34 industry players such as Bemis, DuPont, Eastman Chemical and Sealed Air
This comprehensive study examines the US specialty films industry by function, resin, and market. Products covered include polyolefin films, polyester films, polyvinyl butyral films, nylon films, ethylene vinyl alcohol films, fluoropolymer films, polyvinylidene chloride films, and other specialty films. Applications include barrier films, microporous films, safety and security films, conductive and insulative films, light control films, biodegradable films, water soluble films, and others. Markets include packaging, personal care products, electronics, transportation equipment, construction, and others. Historical data are provided for 2002, 2007, and 2012 with forecasts for the years 2017 and 2022. “Demand” is defined as being equal to production plus imports minus exports. This is synonymous with terms such as “sales” and “apparent consumption.” Data are presented in millions of US dollars.
Specialty films are defined as plastic films which employ higher-value resins and/or are modified (e.g., coated, metallized, with additives) in such a way as to impart special functionality. Excluded from the study are laminates of conventional films with foils, paper, or other commodity materials. Also excluded are highly mature and declining markets such as cellophane film, photographic film, and magnetic audio and video film.