High-Performance Films: Global Markets

LONDON, June 24, 2015 — (PRNewswire) — This BCC Research report covers the global markets and technologies of high performance (HP) plastic films. Forecast revenue is provided through 2019.

Use this report to:
- Analyze markets for high-performance films by resin type and regions.
- Receive information about the major application types of high performance films, including packaging, electrical/electronics, automotive and photovoltaic.
- Understand how structural issues affect the high-performance plastic films industry, such as the roles of film fabricators, converters, and distributors.
- Analyze industry structure and profile important players in the global high-performance films market.

- The global market for high-performance (HP) plastic films was worth $9.7 billion in 2014. The market is expected to reach nearly $14.0 billion in 2019, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% between 2014 and 2019.
- Polyester (mostly PET) resins totaled roughly $6.7 billion in 2014 and should reach $9.2 billion by 2019, demonstrating a CAGR of 6.6% from 2014 to 2019.
- Polyolefin-based resins totaled nearly $1.1 billion in 2014 and should reach almost $1.5 billion by 2019, with a CAGR of 7.0% from 2014 to 2019.

Introduction & Scope

Plastics are widely used in both developed and developing countries. The U.S. had been the world's largest producer and user of plastics for decades until it was surpassed by China in recent years. In 2009, China's average plastics consumption reached 46 kg per capita, overtaking the world's average for the first time. Although still being far behind the North American level of approximate 170 kg per capita, China became the world's No. 1 plastic consuming country.

While China will have huge potential for the growth in both consumption and production, the U.S. remains competitive. Abundant and cheap natural gas feedstock from hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") of tight gas shales will provide the opportunity for large petrochemical and polymer companies to re-building their U.S. plants. In Europe, Asia and other regions, plastics production and consumption also continue to grow.

The main focus of this report is high-performance plastic films. The report can be taken as the global edition of another BCC Research report, High-Performance Films: The U.S.
Market (PLS039G) written by Dr. J. Charles Forman. This report uses the same definitions for film and high-performance film as in PLS039G.

Plastic film is one of the most important applications in this mature but still growing industry. Film is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as a:
1. Thin skin or membrane.
2. Thin, opaque, abnormal coating on the cornea of the eye.
3. Thin covering or coating: a film of dust on the piano.
4. Thin, flexible, transparent sheet, as of plastic, used in wrapping or packaging.
5. a.Thin sheet or strip of flexible material, such as a cellulose derivative or a thermoplastic resin, coated with a photosensitive emulsion and used to make photographic negatives or transparencies.
b. Thin sheet or strip of developed photographic negatives or transparencies.
6. a. Movie, especially one recorded on film.
b. Presentation of such a work.
c. Long, narrative movie.
d. Movies collectively, especially when considered as an art form.
The firms covered in this report are included in definitions 4, 5.a, and 5.b. Although this definition comes from the most recent edition of this dictionary, the inclusion of
"cellulose derivative" is now virtually obsolete since cellulose has long been replaced by synthetic polymers.

In the plastics industry, there is a difference between film and sheet. The definitions between them are not absolute, however, and engineers define films and sheets in
different ways. In general, films are the thinner form of plastic extrusions up to approximately 0.01 inches (0.25 mm or 10 mils). Above this thickness, a film of most materials usually becomes a sheet. However, as film technology has improved the flexibility of films, some markets have different definitions and now thicknesses up to 0.40 inches (400 mils) may be defined as film by some engineers.

As discussed in this report, while some greater thicknesses are now considered film instead of sheet, minimum film thicknesses are also trending thinner toward micro
thicknesses as new technologies emerge. Many high-temperature films are in the range of 0.001 inches to 0.010 inches (1 to 10 mils). At these thicknesses, a little film
resin can go a long way. A note on thickness units: In film technology, both English and metric units are commonly used. In addition, in the U.S., film thickness is commonly expressed in gauge. In film technology, gauge is a measurement of film thickness, where one gauge unity equals 0.01 mil or about 0.25 microns. Perhaps the easiest way to remember the relationship between these units is that 100-gauge film is 1 mil or 25 microns thick. In this report, film gauge will be discussed in the manner standard in the industry under discussion.

High-performance thermoplastic (TP) films, the subject of this study, are playing an increasingly important role as engineers design products in increasingly demanding
environments and demand higher performance from the products they use. Historically, the most important applications for these films were for photographic and reprographic applications, both of which are disappearing from use as digital formats take over these businesses. Fortunately, new applications are constantly being developed to replace those lost to technology. These films may someday make possible safer and lighter packaging, economically viable electric vehicles, better liquid crystal displays (LCDs), as well as economically viable photovoltaic (PV) products for the solar power industry.

Major polymer and film producing companies are important technology drivers and invest significant capital in R&D to improve their technologies. Innovations were
initially driven by polymer chemistry, but increasingly, they are being driven by improved fabrication and treatment of films. One example is the complex development
of specialty polyolefin films as membrane separators for lithium-ion batteries.

Goals and objectives of this study include:
- Identifying trends affecting high-performance films and their major end-use application markets. High-performance films are made of resins such as polyesters,
polyolefin-based film resins, polyamides (nylons), polycarbonates, bioplastics, fluoropolymers, PMMA-type acrylics, polyimides, cyclic olefin copolymers (COCs),
polyethylene naphthalate (PEN), liquid crystal polymers (LCPs), polysulfones and polyetherimides. Their applications include packaging, electrical/electronics,
automotive, building/construction, medical and photovoltaic.
- Analyzing and forecasting markets for high-performance films by resin types.
- Analyzing and forecasting markets by major application types, including packaging, electrical/electronics, automotive and photovoltaic.
- Analyzing and forecasting markets by major regions. These regions include Asia, China, the U.S., Europe and others.
- Analyzing industry structure and competitiveness and profiling important players in the global high-performance films market.

High-performance plastic films have become a large and important niche market within the immense plastic films industry. High-performance films are specialty products that sell at premium prices because they do jobs that commodity films cannot do. Their use is driven by the specific applications for which they are targeted.
Although the volumes of high-performance films are small when compared to those of commodity films, the dollar value of this market is disproportionately high.
High-performance films, since they are specialty items, can command prices several times higher than commodity films.

Markets for high-performance films offer opportunities to create value and move discussions to topics beyond purchase price. Technology advances should help drive
developments in major areas, including packaging, the largest end-use market. New and better barrier film structures made with high-performance films will extend product
shelf life and improve appearance. Developments in this industry could have significant effects on our economy and help mitigate global warming - one of the most serious environmental concerns - by improving the performance of solar cells and fuel cells.

Similar work is going on in the automotive arena. The ability of engineers to meet design goals for products such as solar cells and/or batteries that power cars will in
part depend on developments in high-quality performance films. High-performance markets are becoming increasingly attractive to major chemical companies with a global reach. Many foreign-owned firms are active in the U.S. market and industry leaders have worldwide marketing and manufacturing facilities, often in joint ventures with local companies. The rise of China as a manufacturing behemoth has led to the formation of many joint ventures between China and other countries.

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