Growth prjected for degradable plastics
Degradable plastics have not been on the industry's front burner for the past decade, but a study by Frost & Sullivan is predicting steep growth for degradables in the United States and Japan.
The total degradable plastics market in the United States and Japan stood at $23 million in 1997, but should get a big boost from new, fully degradable polyester resins. End-use markets with the highest growth rates are compost bags, trash bags, sporting goods such as golf tees, and thermoformed packaging such as yogurt cups, according to the report.
The main challenges are price and performance: Degradables cost much more than alternative materials, and need to perform better to replace conventional plastics, said analyst Venkat Ramanujam. Some 27 companies now are marketing degradable resins in U.S. and Japanese markets.
The report, ``U.S. and Japanese Degradable Plastics Markets,'' costs $3,450. Frost & Sullivan is based in Mountain View, Calif.
Tel. (650) 237-4385, fax (650) 903-0915, e-mail [email protected] frost.com.
Better barrier films aid flexible segment
The flexible packaging segment of the packaging industry is projected to enjoy growth averaging 5 percent annually during the next five years, according to a study from Kline & Co. Inc.
``In addition to its cost advantages, attractive growth opportunities in the flexible packaging segment of the industry will be fueled by significant advances in the performance of barrier packaging films,'' said Jay Dwivedi, a senior consultant with the Fairfield, N.J., management consulting firm.
Barrier films protect products from moisture and oxygen, and new-generation films also provide protection for flavor and aromas, and against chemicals, ultraviolet radiation and carbon dioxide. End users would like to have custom-built films for their products, according to the study. Recycling, cost-effectiveness and environmental considerations will determine the choice of materials.
The study predicts barrier packaging film will diversify into new segments, thanks to development of silica oxide, aluminum oxide and metal-coated films.
The report, ``Opportunities in High-Performance Barrier Packaging Films,'' costs $11,000.
Tel. (973) 808-3450, fax (973) 227-6262, e-mail [email protected] klinegroup.com.
Auto suppliers face demand for assembly
Automakers are heading in the direction of having Tier 1 suppliers take responsibility for assembly of major modules — such as entire front-end systems. The situation poses dilemmas to both suppliers and original equipment manufacturers, according to a new study from ITB Group Ltd. of Novi, Mich.
Front-end modules can include bumper fascias, beams, energy-absorbing foams, cooling and air- conditioning units, fits, fresh-air ducts, headlamps, sound-damping components and brackets.
Currently, most Tier 1 suppliers do not offer the full front-end package. As a result, the study claims, suppliers must decide which pieces of the value chain they should manufacture internally, and which should be standardized.
Tier 1 suppliers also are working to gain all the required capabilities — including design, engineering, manufacturing and logistics — to deliver a completed module.
The study, ``Automotive Front-end Modules,'' costs $16,500, or $18,600 after Dec. 31.
Tel. (248) 380-6310, fax (248) 380-7294, e-mail [email protected]