CLEVELAND — Freedonia Group Inc. of Cleveland has released a number of plastics-industry related studies.
According to "Materials Handling Equipment," U.S. shipments of materials-handling equipment will increase nearly 5 percent annually to $20 billion in the year 2004. Economic expansion and strength in key end-use markets, such as aerospace and electronics, will fuel growth. Increasing computerization of industrial operations and e-commerce also will benefit demand. Foreign trade plays an important role in the U.S. materials-handling equipment industry. Industrial trucks and automated systems, particularly robots, will experience the strongest growth, expanding in excess of 6 percent a year through 2004. The report is 289 pages and costs $3,500.
U.S. shipments of labels are projected to advance at an annual pace of nearly 7 percent through the year 2004, approaching $14 billion. While paper will remain the dominant stock, plastic films will continue to make inroads, logging annual gains upwards of 10 percent.aAdvances will be based on the aesthetic and performance advantages of plastic labels, the growing use of plastic packaging for an array of consumer goods and the popularity of labeling methods, such as pressure-sensitive and in-mold and sleeve labels. Oriented polypropylene will exhibit the fastest growth among the major label resins. Pressure-sensitive adhesive labels will continue to capture market share, already accounting for more than two-thirds of the label industry. The best gains are expected for plastic heat-shrink labels. The packaging market will remain the largest, though the best gains are expected in secondary labeling applications, where labels play an increasingly important role in electronic data processing and inventory control systems. The 259-page study, "Labels," is available for $3,700.
Conductive polymer demand in the United States will grow more than 6 percent annually to 565 million pounds in 2004, including both resins and additives. Sales will total $1.5 billion, including the cost of resins and additives, as well as labor and other overhead costs incurred during the production of the conductive compound. These and other trends are presented in the study "Conductive Polymers." The best opportunities are anticipated for fiber-filled conductive polymers because of their shielding properties and surface appearance. ABS will remain the leading resin, thanks to its high- impact strength, but PVC will present the best opportunities because of its lower cost and processing ease. Top markets include electrical part housings and anti-static packaging. Smaller markets include materials-handling systems and work-surface and flooring products. The 187-page report costs $3,600.
U.S. demand for fluorochemicals is forecast to increase nearly 2 percent annually to 1.3 billion pounds in 2004, valued at $4.8 billion. Growth will be sluggish due to meager gains in the large fluorocarbon sector, but represents a considerable improvement over the losses of the past decade. Growth opportunities are expected in fluoropolymers, specialty fluorine gases and specialty organic chemicals. Downward price pressure is expected in key markets, such as polymers. Refrigerants will remain the most important market for fluorochemicals. The coatings sector will benefit from gains in wire and cable applications where fluoropolymers are used as insulation. In electronics, specialty fluorine gases are becoming increasingly important for end users trying to meet stringent performance standards. "Fluorochemicals" is 216 pages and costs $3,600.
According to the study "Polypropylene," U.S. polypropylene demand is forecast to expand more than 6 percent annually to more than 17 billion pounds by the year 2004. There are a number of reasons for this solid growth: PP's competitive price vs. other resins; availability of new grades; improved catalysts; and improved flexibility via compounding, blending and alloying. The largest PP markets will continue to be packaging, fabrics, carpets and rugs, housewares and motor vehicles. PP demand will be strongest in motor vehicle applications, where it competes with ABS and polycarbonate. PP should pick up business thanks to the auto industry's drive toward aiding recycling efforts. The 295-page report is available for $3,500.
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