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High-Performance Films: The U.S. Market

Abstract

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

The U.S. market for high-performance films was valued at $12.4 billion in 2011, and is projected to reach $14.9 billion in 2017, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% from 2012 to 2017.

The commodity films segment is expected to increase in value from $10.1 billion in 2012 to $11.7 billion in 2017, a CAGR of 3%.

The high-performance films segment is expected to increase in value from $2.3 billion in 2012 to $3.2 billion in 2017, a CAGR of 6.8%.

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REPORT SCOPE

INTRODUCTION

High-performance thermoplastic (TP) films are playing an increasingly important role as engineers design products in increasingly demanding environments. Historically, the most important applications were for photographic and reprographic applications. Today, these films may make possible safer and lighter packaging, economic electric vehicles, better liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and the growth of an economically practical photovoltaic (PV) industry.

Major companies such as DuPont, Solvay and 3M are important technology drivers and invest significant capital in R&D to improve the technology. Innovations were driven initially by chemistry. Increasingly, they are driven by improved fabrication and treatment of films. One example is the incredibly complex development of specialty polyolefin films as membrane separators for lithium-ion batteries.

Engineers define films in different ways, but generally they have thicknesses ranging from 0.001 inches to 0.300 inches. Some markets define films slightly differently. Thicknesses above 0.20 inches (20 mils) may be defined as sheet by some. Thicknesses up to 0.40 inches (40 mils) may be defined as film by some engineers. As explained in this report, minimum film thicknesses are trending toward micro as exciting technologies emerge. Many high-temperature films are in the range of 0.001 inches to 0.010 inches.

A word on film thickness units: both English and metric units commonly are used. U.S. film thickness is expressed in gauge. In film technology, gauge is a measurement where one gauge unit equals 0.01 mil or about 0.25 micron. Perhaps the easiest way to remember the relationship between these unit systems is that 100-gauge film is 1 mil or 25 microns thick. For this report, film gauge will be referred to in the manner that is the standard in the industry under discussion.

STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Goals and objectives of this study include the following:

  • Identifying trends affecting high-performance polymer films and their major end-use application markets. For example, the photovoltaic market is one of the fastest-growing markets for high-performance film. Each of the major polymer films or film families is discussed and analyzed in detail. They include polyesters, nylons, acrylics, polyolefin-based, polycarbonates, fluoropolymers, cyclic olefin copolymers and polyimides.
  • Reviewing, analyzing and forecasting specific end markets for high-performance films by material types, with sections devoted to each class of high-performance film. This includes both the major resin types and several smaller-volume film materials for which markets were estimated.
  • Analyzing and forecasting market developments from the viewpoint of major applications for high-performance films (i.e., automotive, electrical/ electronic, magnetic media, packaging, photographic/reprographic and release films).
  • Analyzing how structural issues affect the high-performance plastic films industry, such as the roles of film fabricators, converters, and distributors; product differentiation and substitution; marketing and pricing; and international aspects of the business.
  • Profiling many of the most important suppliers to the high-performance plastic films industry, for example, providers of plastic resins (many of whom also fabricate films), equipment producers, and specific film converters and distributors.

REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY

The ability of engineers to meet design goals for products such as solar cells or batteries that power cars will depend on development of high-quality performance films. High-performance markets increasingly are becoming where the major chemical companies want to place their future. DuPont, for example, expects its sales for PV applications to exceed $1 billion by 2012. DuPont's increased sales in this area come from the company's increasing investment in fluoropolymer and other high-performance films.

These markets offer opportunities to create value and move discussions to topics beyond purchase price. Technology advances in this business area will help drive technology developments in other areas such as electronics. This will have a significant effect on our economy and even provide the ability to solve climate change problems. High-performance films offer opportunities for applications such as solar cells and fuel cells that can help solve global warming, one of the most serious environmental concerns.

CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY AND INTENDED AUDIENCE

Due to the size and diversity of the materials and products used in high-performance plastic films, this report should be of interest to a wide group of organizations and individuals. This includes people who are involved in the development, design, manufacture, sale and use of these films, as well as government officials and the general public. This report will be of value to technical and business personnel in the following areas, among others:

  • Personnel in end-user companies in a wide range of industries from aerospace to photographic film and food packaging; the focus of this report is on the interests of specifying engineers and procurement commodity managers.
  • Marketing and management personnel in companies that produce, market, and sell high-performance plastic films.
  • Companies involved in the design and construction of process plants that manufacture both the basic film resins and high-performance plastic films themselves.
  • Companies that supply, or want to supply, equipment and services to high-performance plastic films companies.
  • Financial institutions that supply money for such facilities and systems, including banks, merchant bankers, venture capitalists and others.
  • Investors in both equity and fixed-income markets; the fate of the specialty film business very much depends on the values of the publicly traded stocks of companies such as 3M, Kodak and DuPont.
  • Personnel in government at many levels, ranging from federal to state and local authorities, many of whom are involved in trying to ensure public health and safety; the report also will be of interest to military scientists studying new packaging and equipment.

SCOPE AND FORMAT

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 used primarily for their performance characteristics, not because of 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.

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 resin chemistries, including the following:

  • Polyesters.
  • Nylons.
  • Polyolefin-based specialties.
  • Polycarbonates (PCs).
  • Fluoropolymer.
  • Polyimides (PIs).
  • Cyclic olefin copolymers.
  • Acrylics.

Basic polyolefins, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), are not included. Also excluded are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polystyrene. Specialty polyolefin-based films are included, particularly when multilayer construction is involved. They are ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), ionomers, polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), and polymethyl pentene (PMP).

Fluoropolymer films are an important 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).

Other resin chemistries are also covered, but in less detail because their roles in films are not as well developed. They include polyethylene naphthalate (PEN), liquid crystal polymers (LCPs), polysulfones, polyetherimides (PEIs), polyetheretherketones (PEEKs) and benzocyclobutene (BCB).

The geographic scope of this report is the U.S. market.

METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES

Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used in preparing this study. Market professionals were interviewed, and extensive searches were made of the literature and the Internet, including many of the leading trade publications, as well as technical compendia, government publications and information from trade and other associations.

AUTHOR'S CREDENTIALS

Douglas A. Smock was the chief editor of Plastics World Magazine from 1986 to 1994 at Cahners Publishing Co./Reed Business Information (RBI).. He also served as a senior editor of Modern Plastics at McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., associate publisher and editorial director of Modern Mold & Tooling at the McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., chief editor of Purchasing Magazine at Reed Business Information and senior technical editor of Design News at UBM Canon.

At RBI-US, Smock also served as cochairman of the corporate editorial board. He is the coauthor of Straight to the Bottom Line and On-Demand Supply Management, two leading books in the field of supply management. Smock has a bachelor's degree in economics from Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio).

Table of Contents

Chapter- 1: INTRODUCTION - Complimentary

  • STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
  • REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY
  • CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY AND INTENDED AUDIENCE
  • SCOPE AND FORMAT
  • METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES
  • AUTHOR'S CREDENTIALS
  • RELATED BCC REPORTS
  • BCC ONLINE SERVICES
  • DISCLAIMER

Chapter- 2: SUMMARY

  • Table Summary : U.S. MARKET FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure Summary : U.S. MARKET FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS, 2010-2017

Chapter- 3: MARKETS BY MATERIALS

  • OVERVIEW
  • POLYESTER FILMS
  • PROCESSING
  • POLYOLEFIN-BASED HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS
  • NYLON FILMS
  • POLYCARBONATE (PC)
  • FLUOROPOLYMER FILMS
  • ACRYLIC
  • POLYIMIDE (PI)
  • CYCLIC OLEFIN COPOLYMERS (COCS)
  • POLYETHERIMIDE (PEI)
  • POLYSULFONE (PSU)
  • LIQUID CRYSTAL POLYMERS (LCP)
  • OTHER MATERIALS

Chapter- 4: MARKETS BY APPLICATION

  • INTRODUCTION
  • MARKET FORECAST AND ANAYLSYIS
  • PACKAGING
  • AUTOMOTIVE
  • ELECTRICAL/ELECTRONIC (E/E)
  • RELEASE FILMS
  • LABELS AND DECALS
  • PHOTOGRAPHIC/REPROGRAPHIC
  • OTHER MARKETS
  • Table 25 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS DEMAND BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 15 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS DEMAND CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017

Chapter- 5: PLASTIC FILM FABRICATION TECHNOLOGY

  • OVERVIEW
  • EXTRUSION AND MELT FILM FABRICATION
  • BLOWN FILMS
  • FILM CASTING
  • SOLVENT CASTING
  • PTFE FABRICATION TECHNIQUES
  • MULTILAYER LAMINATION AND COEXTRUSION
  • BARRIER TECHNOLOGY
  • POLYMER AND FILM ORIENTATION
  • COMPETITIVE PROCESSES, METHODS AND PRODUCTS
  • Table 36 : PROCESS TECHNOLOGY MILESTONES FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS

Chapter- 6: INDUSTRY STRUCTURE AND COMPETITION

  • INTRODUCTION
  • INTEGRATED FILM FABRICATORS
  • NONINTEGRATED FILM FABRICATORS
  • CAPTIVE CONSUMPTION
  • INDUSTRY CONCENTRATION
  • KEY PLAYERS
  • END-USER FILM SELECTION CRITERIA
  • MARKETING

Chapter- 7: COMPANY PROFILES

  • 3M
  • AJEDIUM FILMS
  • ALTUGLAS INTERNATIONAL
  • AMERICAN DURAFILM CO.
  • BAYER MATERIALSCIENCE FUNCTIONAL FILMS
  • BEMIS
  • BIAXIS OY LTD.
  • CLOPAY PLASTIC PRODUCTS
  • CREATIVE FILM CORP.
  • DAIKIN AMERICA
  • DOW SPECIALTY PACKAGING & FILMS
  • DUPONT TEIJIN FILMS
  • EASTMAN CHEMICAL
  • EASTMAN KODAK
  • ENSINGER/PENN FIBRE
  • EVONIK
  • EXOPACK
  • EXTRUSION DIES INDUSTRIES
  • FILMQUEST
  • HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL SPECIALTY FILMS
  • INNOVIA FILMS INC.
  • KANEKA TEXAS CORP.
  • KNF CORP.
  • KOLON USA INC.
  • KURARAY AMERICA INC.
  • MITSUBISHI POLYESTER FILM INC.
  • M&Q PLASTIC PRODUCTS INC.
  • MULTIFILM PACKAGING CORP.
  • PARKINSON TECHNOLOGIES INC.
  • PIEDMONT PLASTICS FILM GROUP
  • POLYONICS INC.
  • RMS PACKAGING
  • ROWLAND TECHNOLOGIES
  • SABIC INNOVATIVE PLASTICS
  • SAINT-GOBAIN PERFORMANCE PLASTICS
  • SEKISUI SPECIALTY CHEMICALS AMERICA
  • SKC INC.
  • SOARUS LLC
  • SOLIANT/AKZO NOBEL
  • SOLUTIA PERFORMANCE FILMS
  • SPARTECH PEP
  • TERPHANE
  • TORAY PLASTICS
  • UBE AMERICA INC.
  • UNITIKA AMERICA CORP.
  • WELCH FLUOROCARBONS
  • WESTLAKE PLASTICS
  • WINPAK LTD.

Chapter- 8: APPENDIX : QUICK GUIDE TO HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS

List of Tables

  • Summary Table : U.S. MARKET FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 1 : U.S. HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM MARKET BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 2 : COMPETITIVE OVERVIEW OF HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS BY APPLICATION
  • Table 3 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR POLYESTER FILMS BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 4 : EXAMPLES OF 48-GAUGE PET FILM PRICES
  • Table 5 : DOMESTIC POLYESTER FILM PRODUCERS
  • Table 6 : POLYESTER FILM APPLICATIONS
  • Table 7 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR POLYOLEFIN HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 8 : U.S. POLYOLEFIN HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM MARKET BY RESIN VALUE, 2012
  • Table 9 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR POLYOLEFIN-BASED FILMS BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 10 : U.S. NYLON FILM MARKET BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 11 : NYLON FILM FABRICATORS
  • Table 12 : U.S. POLYCARBONATE FILM MARKET BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 13 : U.S. HIGH-PERFORMANCE BIOPLASTIC FILM MARKET BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 14 : FLUOROPOLYMER NAMES AND ACRONYMS
  • Table 15 : FLUOROPOLYMER PROPERTIES AND THE EFFECTS OF INCREASING FLUORINE CONTENT
  • Table 16 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR FLUOROPOLYMER FILMS BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 17 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR FLUOROPOLYMER FILMS BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 18 : U.S. FLUOROPOLYMER FILM VALUE, 2012
  • Table 19 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR ACRYLIC FILMS BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 20 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR POLYIMIDE FILMS BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 21 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR CYCLO OLEFIN FILMS BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 22 : TRADE NAMED PRODUCTS AND CAPACITIES
  • Table 23 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR POLYETHERIMIDE FILMS BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 24 : U.S. POLYSULFONE FILM MARKET BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 25 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS DEMAND BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 26 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR PHOTOVOLTAIC HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 27 : HIGH-PERFORMANCE PACKAGING FILM MARKET BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 28 : FLEXIBLE FOOD-PACKAGING FABRICATION PROCESSES, APPLICATIONS AND STRUCTURES
  • Table 29 : RIGID FOOD PACKAGING: FABRICATION PROCESSES, APPLICATIONS AND STRUCTURES
  • Table 30 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR AUTOMOTIVE HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 31 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR ELECTRICAL/ELECTRONIC HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 32 : U.S. HIGH-PERFORMANCE RELEASE FILM MARKET BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 33 : U.S. PHOTOGRAPHIC/REPROGRAPHIC HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM MARKET BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 34 : BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM MARKET BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 35 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR AIRCRAFT AND AEROSPACE HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM MARKET BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Table 36 : PROCESS TECHNOLOGY MILESTONES FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS
  • Table 37 : KEY ASPECTS OF HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM FABRICATION
  • Table 38 : TOP 20 U.S. HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM PRODUCERS

List of Figures

  • Summary Figure : U.S. MARKET FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS, 2010-2017
  • Figure 1 : U.S. HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM MARKET, CAGR BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 2 : U.S. POLYESTER FILM MARKET, CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 3 : U.S. POLYOLEFIN HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM MARKET, CAGR BY RESIN VOLUME, 2017
  • Figure 4 : U.S. POLYOLEFIN HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM MARKET BY RESIN VALUE, 2012
  • Figure 5 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR POLYOLEFIN-BASED FILMS, CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 6 : NYLON FILM MARKET, CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 7 : U.S. POLYCARBONATE FILM MARKET, CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 8 : U.S. HIGH-PERFORMANCE BIOPLASTIC FILM MARKET, CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 9 : U.S. FLUOROPOLYMER FILMS, CAGR BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 10 : U.S. ACRYLIC FILM MARKET, CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 11 : U.S. POLYIMIDE FILM MARKET, CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 12 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR CYCLOOLEFIN FILMS, CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 13 : U.S. POLYETHERIMIDE FILM MARKET, CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 14 : U.S. PSU FILM MARKET, CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 15 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS DEMAND CAGR BY APPLICATION, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 16 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR PHOTOVOLTAIC HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS, CAGR BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 17 : HIGH-PERFORMANCE PACKAGING FILM MARKET, CAGR BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 18 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR AUTOMOTIVE HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS, CAGR BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 19 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR ELECTRICAL/ELECTRONIC HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILMS, CAGR BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 20 : U.S. HIGH-PERFORMANCE RELEASE FILM MARKET, CAGR BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 21 : BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION HIGH-PERFORMANCE FILM MARKET, CAGR BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
  • Figure 22 : U.S. MARKET FORECAST FOR AIRCRAFT AND AEROSPACE HIGH PERFORMANCE FILM MARKET, CAGR BY RESIN VOLUME, THROUGH 2017
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