Packaging pushing metallocene films
Demand for metallocene and single-site polymers is forecast to expand more than 20 percent per year to 4.8 billion pounds in 2006, valued at $5 billion, according to a Freedonia Group Inc. report.
Gains will be driven by the considerable processing and performance advantages the materials hold over conventional thermoplastics and elastomers, and glass, paper/paperboard and metal as well, the report said.
The primary advantages metallocene catalyst technology holds over conventional Ziegler/Natta processes in polyolefins production are versatility and control.
By 2006, metallocene and single-site polymers are forecast to account for about 10 percent of the total market for polyolefins, double the penetration level of 2001. Film and sheet applications, particularly packaging film, will continue to dominate the market for metallocene and single-site polymers, with demand more than doubling to 2.6 billion pounds in 2006.
Applications include stretch film, shrink film, overwrap, trash bags, heavy-duty bags and films for meat and dairy products, fruits and vegetables and frozen foods.
The report from Cleveland-based Freedonia, ``Metallocene & Single-Site Polymers,'' is 193 pages and costs $3,900.
Tel. (440) 684-9600, fax (440) 646-0484, e-mail [email protected]
Japan commercializes plastic film from corn
Eldib Engineering & Research Inc. of Berkeley Heights, N.J., has released ``Biodegradable Polylactides and Films from Corn,'' a study that found that several major Japanese companies aggressively are commercializing plastics and fibers made from polylactides derived from corn. Products made include packaging, fibers and injection molded plastics.
Annual global production of plastics is estimated at 273.3 billions pounds. Of this, about 508.5 million pounds, slightly less than 0.2 percent, can be replaced with PLA and other biodegradable polymers. Biodegradable polymers are sourced both from renewable sources such as Cargill Dow polylactide and thermoplastic starches and blends while others are synthesized from gas or crude oil, such as copolyesters produced by Eastman Chemical Co. and DuPont Co.
Recent spikes in the price of gas, concentrates and oil could be a factor in the selection of biodegradable polymers for product development, particularly if future disruptions are on the horizon.
The 60-page report costs $10,000.
Tel. (908) 464-2244, fax (908) 464-4626, e-mail [email protected]
Survey sees trends, evolution in film biz
Plastics Custom Research Services of Advance, N.C., has issued a report that focuses on the current climate in the film industry, attempts to predict patterns of growth and technological change, and looks at evolving industry infrastructure in North American film production and converting.
The report is based on a survey of officials at more than 100 U.S., Canadian and Mexican companies with captive, custom and/or proprietary film production capabilities. Also consulted were officials at leading suppliers of resins, machinery, tooling and auxiliary equipment to the regional film producers.
The result is ``An Analysis of the North American Plastic Film Business,'' a report highlighting data and insights for strategic planning to existing players and potential new entrants into the business.
As of 2002, film production in the region accounted for 14.7 million pounds of virgin resin and reprocessed plastic material consumption. That translates into roughly 15 percent of all plastic material consumed in this region.
However, after many years of strong growth in the volume and value of film production and converting, the regional film producers today confront a number of challenges that call for a fundamental re-evaluation of corporate growth and development strategies.
Those challenges are both domestic and foreign in origin. The slowdown of the U.S. economic growth dynamic from 2000 up through early 2003 has affected film demand adversely in many major markets. The regional film producers confront stiff competition from China and other foreign countries that can convert low labor costs, low raw material costs and less restrictive regulatory environment into low-cost film and film product exports.
On the positive side, however, some of the recent slowdown in the growth of domestic film volume and value stems from increased efficiency in film production.
There has been steady downgauging of film of all types, resulting in greater film yield per pound of plastic material. The efficiency of machines and tooling also has improved to reduce material scrap. And on the demand side, the film end users, responding to both economic and environmental mandates, have cut back on overengineering film packaging designs.
Looking to the future, the pace of growth of the regional film production business in volume is likely to return to the 4-5 percent average annual growth rate of the 1990s.
Film sales will grow at a rate of 6 percent, resulting in $20.8 billion worth of film produced in this region by 2007. The trend to multilayer film will continue, and new and improved barrier technologies will emerge. Overall the regional film producers will benefit from the long-term trend to replace rigid plastic and nonplastic packaging with flexible packaging.
These and other trends are found in the 160-page, $1,600 report.
Tel. 336-998-8004, fax 336-998-8044, e-mail [email protected]