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High-Performance Films: The U.S. Market

High-Performance Films: The U.S. Market

  • August 2020
  • 176 pages
  • ID: 958077
  • Format: PDF
  • BCC Research


Table of Contents

Report Scope:
High-performance films can be defined in any of several ways: by volume, price, performance, end-use markets, resin types, or a combination of two or more of these characteristics.

For this study, high-performance films are defined as thin-gauge, mostly extruded or solution-cast polymer sheets that generally meet at least one of the following criteria: pricing above commodity film levels, continuous-use temperature above commodity plastics, and end-uses requiring technical capability and thickness at or below 30 mils.These are films that are primarily selected for their performance characteristics, not their price.

Emphasis is on those markets and products where opportunities are the greatest.

Therefore, the distinguishing characteristics of high-performance films are as follows -
- Relatively expensive.
- Thin gauge (compared to sheet).
- Possess special performance characteristics.
- Significant applications outside of packaging.

High-performance films generally are fabricated (or converted) in relatively small volumes (at least compared to commodity films). Much of their value is created after the film is extruded.

The focal point is on high-performance resins and their chemistries, including the following
- Polyesters, primarily PET. (Note: PET is used interchangeably with “polyester” throughout this report.)
- Polyolefin-based specialty film resins.
- Nylons (more properly and chemically called polyamides).
- Polycarbonates (PCs).
- Bioplastics, a newer group of plastics.
- Fluoropolymers.
- Acrylic films based on PMMA chemistry.
- Polyimides (PIs).
- Cyclic olefin copolymers (COCs).
- Polyethylene naphthalate (PEN).
- Liquid crystal polymers (LCPs).
- Polysulfones.
- Polyetherimides.

We also introduce some newer film resins whose markets at present are too small to measure with any precision. These include polyketones, benzocyclobutenes and polyacetals.

Basic polyolefins, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), are not included in our scope since they are true commodities used in commodity film applications like grocery and garbage bags. Also excluded are other commodity resins like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polystyrene.

Specialty polyolefin-based films are included, primarily and particularly when multilayer construction is involved. These specialty films are ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), ionomers, polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC), polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) and polymethyl pentene (PMP).

Fluoropolymer films are an important focus of this report. They include the following -
- Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
- Polyvinyl fluoride (PVF).
- Fluorinated ethylene-propylene (FEP).
- Polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE).
- Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVdF).
- Perfluoroalkoxy (PFA).
- Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE).
- Ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE).

Although geographic scope of this report is the U.S. market, it also includes some international discussion, for example of foreign-owned firms that are active in these markets.

The market estimates are by resin volumes in millions of pounds, and these estimates are rounded to the nearest million pounds.The numbers are rounded to millions since market estimates, which integrate so many products and applications, many of which are similar and can overlap, are by nature just that—estimates—and thus not precise beyond millions of pounds, if that.

Many applications markets for particular films are small, less than a million pounds, but precision here is not greater than that for larger numbers, and numbers are round up to 1 million those estimated volumes greater than a half-million. Also, compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for table entries with small volumes may not agree exactly with the 2019 and 2025 volumes; this is again caused by rounding.

Report Includes:
- 21 data tables and 10 additional tables
- An overview of the U.S. market for high-performance films
- Analyses of market trends with data from 2019, estimates for 2020 and projections of CAGRs through 2025
- Identification of trends affecting high-performance polymer films and market analysis of the various applications
- Explanation of the major drivers and regional dynamics of the high-performance films industry and a look at the recent developments and market investments
- Highlights of current and future market potential and a detailed analysis of the current market trends, market size, and regulatory scenarios
- Market share analysis of the leading suppliers of the industry and detailed company profiles of major players in the market, including BASF Corp., Dow Chemical Co., Honeywell International Inc., Mitsubishi Polyester Film Inc., Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, and Toray Plastics (America) Inc.

High-performance (HP) thin films as those films that are higher in cost than commodity films and are used in applications that require high strength, temperature resistance or some other strong performance attribute. These films find significant use in applications other than packaging; however, packaging is still the largest overall end use for several of the HP films.

The HP film market is made up of several resin classes.The largest are polyesters (almost exclusively PET films), polyolefin-based polymers such as EVOH and PVdC, polyamides (nylons), polycarbonates, fluoropolymers, acrylics and polyimides.

Several newer and emerging HP films are also included.The analyst estimates the total HP film market to have been about REDACTED billion pounds in 2019, and this is forecast to grow to more than REDACTED billion pounds by 2025.

As a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak, high performance films operation was reduced in the first five months of 2020.The supply chain was disrupted, and downstream plants were also shut in compliance with trade restrictions imposed by regional governments.

After the lifting of the global lockdown, the high-performance films market is likely to witness resumed demand in the second half of 2020. The market in 2020 is estimated to record a slightly lower revenue compared to that of 2019. However, this effect will be reversed in 2021, and revenue will be close to 2019. By 2022, the market is likely to witness growth in revenue.

The following are the main HP film resins and their primary applications -
- Polyesters, the dominant HP films, find use in most applications markets and account for most of the HP film in such end uses as release films, office products and hot stamping films. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) makes up almost all of the polyester film market. Packaging is the largest PET film market, as it is for several HP films. Polyesters make up more than half of the total HP film market. 
- Polyolefin-based films are EVOH, ionomers, PVdC, PVOH, EVA and PMP. Packaging, primarily food packaging, is the primary end use for these films. 
- Polyamide (nylon) films find major application in food packaging for their strength and good barrier properties. 
- Bioplastic films, relatively new and growing products, find most application in packaging and electrical/electronics (E/E) markets. 
- Polycarbonate films, often thicker than films made of other materials, are primarily used in automotive instrument panel, E/E, signs and displays, and building/construction markets. 
- Eight different fluoropolymer films exist, and all find at least some use as HP films. Four of them (PTFE, FEP, PVF and PVdF) account for most usage at present. E/E, release films and industrial membranes are major markets. Acrylic films, made from PMMA-type resins, find most application in automotive and building/construction markets. 
- Polyimides are the highest priced major HP film resins and are used for their excellent hightemperature and flame resistance and good electrical properties. E/E applications are the largest segment. 
- Other definable film materials and markets include cyclic olefin copolymers (COCs), polyethylene naphthalate (PEN), liquid crystal polymers (LCPs), polysulfones and polyetherimides. Other polymers with still developing markets include polyketones, benzlocyclobutene and polyacetal films. They have diverse applications, with packaging and E/E again being the most important.

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