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FLEXO Magazine : March 2010
8 FLEXO MARCH 2010 www.flexography.org INDUSTRY INDICATORS Overall packaging ink, coating and additive demand will benefit from efforts to make packaging more environmentally friendly, which will promote the use of bioplastics and flexible packaging, according to a new study by Freedonia Group, titled, Packaging Inks, Coatings and Additives to 2013. The report estimates that U.S. demand for packaging inks, coatings and additives will expand 2.5 percent annually to $3 billion in 2013, with volume rising to 1.4 billion pounds. Value gains are expected to decelerate from the pace of the 2003-2008 period due to an expected modera- tion in pricing. However, market volume is projected to grow somewhat faster due to improving real growth in packaging production. Overall demand will benefit from efforts to make packaging more environmentally friendly, which will promote the use of bioplastics and flexible packaging. This, in turn, will support the development of new high performance products designed to be sustainable and efficient, including powder coatings, energy-curable inks and coatings, and additives specifically formulated to enhance the properties of bioplastics. The report claims that packaging additives are the fastest growing segment. Among the three product categories, pack- aging inks account for the single largest share of market value. Flexographic inks will remain the leading type of ink used on packaging, supported by the growing popularity of flexible packaging, which utilizes flexographic printing as its process of choice. Smaller and increasingly sophisticated job runs will also favor flexographic inks, based on improvements in both quality and consistency which have enabled them to compete with other inks, including gravure and lithographic types. Packaging coatings market value will benefit from growing demand for more environmentally friendly products, such as powder and radiation-curable coatings, which provide great- er efficiency. Although increased efficiency will limit volume gains, these formulations are priced higher than conventional products, thus supporting overall market value. Additionally, growing use of coatings that provide advanced performance characteristics, such as increased barrier properties and moisture resistance, will promote advances. However, gains will be restrained by the fact that coatings continue to find much of their use in the more mature packaging segments, including metal, paperboard and glass containers. Packaging additives are projected to achieve the most rapid gains through 2013, with plastic packaging account- ing for the vast majority of demand. Additives can be used to improve the clarity, strength, shatter resistance and barrier properties of plastic. For example, polypropylene would find minimal use in the packaging industry were it not for antioxi- dants and clarifying agents. Additionally, source reduction efforts will promote the use of thinner materials, which will aid additives demand, as thinner plastics typically require more additives and more advanced formulations per unit. • Flexographic inks will remain the leading type of ink used on packaging, supported by the growing popularity of flexible packaging, which utilizes flexo- graphic printing as its process of choice. • Overall demand will benefit from efforts to make packaging more environmentally friendly, which will promote the use of bioplastics and flexible packaging. • The growing use of coatings that provide advanced performance characteristics, such as increased bar- rier properties and moisture resistance, will promote advances. Packaging Inks, Coatings & Additives U.S. Industry Study Issues Forecasts for 2013
Sustainable Winter 2010