GLOBAL MARKET OUTLOOK FOR PLASTIC FILMS
SPE SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERS EUROPE
CONFERENCE ON ADVANCES IN EXTRUSION TECHNOLOGY
OCTOBER 29, 2007, K’2007, DÜSSELDORF
Françoise Pardos, Pardos Marketing
Extrusion is the largest converting process for plastics, 60% of total world plastics consumption of about 225 million tons in 2007 (Table 2), more than molding and all other processes. Extruded plastics can be made into many final products, 1-dimension, such as pipes, profiles, rods, 2-dimension, such as film, sheet and plate, 3-dimension, such as extruded blown containers.
Films are 22% of all plastics used worldwide, about 50 million tons, a massive market sector. Commodity plastics dominate, with polyethylene and polypropylene together accounting for around 45 million tons, mainly in packaging. This is an expanding area with increased demand each year particularly in the developing regions of the world and with a move from rigid to flexible packaging. Other materials used in films, for many applications, are PET, nylon, polycarbonate, PVB, and a huge variety of multimaterial films and their substrates.
Films can be made via a number of converting processes, extrusion and coextrusion, extrusion coating and extrusion laminating, extrusion processes largely dominating over casting.
Films are mainly used in packaging for foodstuffs, but there are substantial market segments for medical, electronic, automotive and construction applications. Specific applications include decorative wrap, form-fill-seal, blood bags, flexible printed circuits, bed sheeting, diapers, in-mold decorating of car parts, construction films for glazing, damp proofing, tarpaulins, geomembranes and many others.
In general, expected growth for the next ten years is to continue very strong, a minimum average annual rate of 3-5% worldwide, much more in developing areas and for higher value and more sophisticated films still in the high growth phase of their development, like OPP, PET, nylon, and their innumerable combinations, multilayers, laminated, coextruded, coated and metallized.
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