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FLEXO Magazine : January 2011
INDUSTRY INDICATORS ing powder coatings, energy-curable inks and coatings, and additives specifically formulated to enhance the properties of bio-plastics.” Fredonia’s projections indicate that, 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 in- creasingly 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, includ- ing gravure and lithographic types. Coatings’ market value will benefit from growing demand for more environmentally friendly products, such as pow- der and radiation-curable coatings, which provide greater efficiency. Additionally, growing use of coatings that provide advanced performance characteristics, such as increased barrier properties and moisture resistance, will promote ad- vances. Gains will be restrained by the fact that coatings con- tinue 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. Pira International, like Fredonia, an industry watchdog for the packaging, printing and paper industries, recently ana- lyzed the market for functional and barrier coatings for paper and board and in the process prepared a trends forecast through 2014. Specifically, it concludes that the worldwide market for functional and barrier coatings for paper and board, valued at $3.8 billion in 2007, is experiencing a modest increase of 2.7 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) to 2014, when it will be worth approximately $4.6 billion. The main products being used as a functional or barrier coating on paper and board are extrusion polymers, which account for 46 percent of the market. Another key barrier is aluminum foil, which makes up a further 18 percent. The main market for these materials is in liquid packaging board (LPB), which is used for fresh and long-life liquid products such as dairy, fruit and vegetable juices, soups, etc. This means that many grades of LPB used for this application comprise about 75-80 percent paperboard, and 20-25 percent polyethylene, coated on both sides of the board. Aseptic board, which is also used for long-life products, requires greater barrier properties to ensure the packed product retains its freshness for many months or even years. Barriers to moisture, light, aroma, and oxygen are needed, and aluminum is a very good barrier to all these. As a result, many grades of aseptic board contains about 5-6 percent aluminum foil, as well as the poly- ethylene. Other materials, such as EVOH, are being used by some producers, due to recycling issues with aluminum foil. PACKAGING PAPERS The North American packaging papers market segment offers both opportunities and challenges for industry partici- Estimates place the number of label converters at 15,000+. Business volume projections point to continuous growth and range from $56 billion to $73 billion by 2013. /FTA file photo. www.flexography.org JANUARY 2011 FLEXO 15
Sustainable Winter 2011