The global thermoformed plastics market size was estimated at 380 kilo tons in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% over the forecast period. Globally, increasing demand in healthcare and pharmaceutical packaging sector is projected to be a key factor driving market growth over the forecast period.
Thermoforming process involves fabrication of plastic sheets heating them, to convert into a bendable form which can be molded into the desired shape as per the customer specifications. In recent developments thermoformed plastics are used as a metal replacements using heavy gauge process which provides applications in industries such as transportation, industrial equipment, aerospace, kiosks, and medical devices.
U.S. thermoformed plastics market by application, 2014 - 2025 (USD Billion)
Thermoformed plastics in medical industry are used for the manufacture of diagnostic systems, accessories, and medical plants. Thermoforming includes a manufacturing process of converting a two dimensional thermo polymer into a three dimensional to be used as prefilled syringes, pharmaceutical bottles, and medicine electronics along with capsules and tablets packing known as blister packaging in a pharmaceutical industry.
The food industry is a major application segment of the market which is expected to drive global demand over the forecast period. Thermoform plastics used in this industry are less in weight, flexible, restrain to bacteria, and odor & moisture free in comparison to other packaging materials on account of which they are preferred over others such as wood and glass.
Polypropylene is the significant product segment in 2016 and accounted for around 21% of the overall market segment, and is expected to be the largest segment across the forecast period. Commonly used resins in thermoformed plastics production include polyethylene, polystyrene, and polypropylene.
PP is a thermoplastic polymer which is widely used to produce food packaging products such as cups, trays, margarine tubs, sandwich packs, disposable products, beverage glasses, and microwaveable containers. Increasing manufacturers of packaging products using polypropylene is projected to propel the industry.
Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) product segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR over the forecast period. Rising use of PMMA due to its extreme light transmission, high surface hardness and huge service life along with certain properties such as weathering and UV light resistance this product segment is anticipated to fuel the market. The completely recyclable nature by avoiding wastage and safeguarding the natural resources is a major driver for the increase in usage of this product.
Increasing innovations, product developments, and investments in Middle East region on PMMA is anticipated to boost the production of the product. Key industries which account a major share of around 45% of the overall manufacturing of PMMA include Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd, Evonik Industries AG, and Altuglas International. Joint venture initiatives taken by Mitsubishi Rayon and Sabic for PMMA facility expansion in Saudi Arabia is one of the product driver.
A thin gauge thermoforming plastic dominated the process segment in 2016 and is expected to remain the largest process segment over the forecast period. Using contact, radiant, and hot air heating techniques the thermoform products are manufactured. Increasing demand for thin gauge thermoforming packaging products as a medical device packaging trays in the healthcare sector is anticipated to augment the market over the forecast period.
Thick gauge thermoforms are sturdy and rigid enclosures which are used to pack electronic equipment. The thick gauge thermoforming is used in wide range of applications including front & rear bumpers and interior trim components in heavy truck industry, enclosures for thread mills and weights in fitness equipment, huge decorative signs in signage, cowlings, dash components, and fenders in agricultural sector, cab interiors and engine covers in construction equipment industry.
Plug assist forming is the fastest growing process segment over the forecast period. Rising use of plug assist forming products in food packaging is projected to boost the market growth. The packaging materials formed using this method has uniform wall thickness with reduced starting gauge which protects the product safety and content storage.
AMUT Group manufactured a thermoformer machine whose properties include servo driven plug assist on lower & upper mould platens, good performance mould clamping & cutting force, various heat oven configurations, among others. This machine is applicable to handle materials like PVC, PLA, PP, EPS, PS, HIPS, OPS, CPET, RPET, APET, and PET and to manufacture products such as plates, trays, fruits & vegetables boxes, lids,clamshells, flowerpots, and nursery trays.
Food packaging segment is expected to be the significant application segment in 2016. Major areas where thermoformed plastic is used by the food industry is for the packaging of fruits, vegetables, confectionery products, meat, poultry, fish in addition to prepared meals, and storage products.
Healthcare thermoformed packaging includes medical packaging which is suitable for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Packaging products used in healthcare & medical sector includes medical trays, procedure trays, pharmaceutical packaging, and protective packaging.
Global thermoformed plastics market revenue by application, 2016 (%)
Automotive segment emerged as the fastest growing application segment in 2016. Increasing use of the product in this sector for its durability, reusable carts, and light-weight vehicle parts is projected to fuel the market growth over the forecast period. Increasing demand for automotive panels, liners, and vehicle parts is expected to spur the market from 2017 to 2025.
Research and Development institutes such as the University Of Delaware Center for Composite Materials (UD-CCM) and National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) demonstrated the effectiveness, quality, light weight feature, and safety measures by use of thermoplastics in automotive industry.
North America was the leading thermoformed plastics regional segment and accounted for around 53% of the total revenue in 2016. Rapid industrialization and growing packaging industry is projected to propel the market over the forecast period. Increasing manufacturers and suppliers of thermoformed plastic products in this region is expected to boost the industry growth. The U.S. is the significant market for producing thermoformed packaging followed by Canada.
Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing regional segment. Emerging economies in a region including India and China have been experiencing strong economic growth. Increasing population and disposable income have spurred the market demand in medical device packaging, automotive parts, and construction sectors.
China is the largest producer and supplier of thermoformed plastics, equipment using different types of technologies in this region. China’s rapid urbanization is supported by strong economic growth. Increasing per capita disposable income in this region is projected to propel the market over the forecast period. Asia Pacific was the accounted for around 14% of the overall revenue in 2016.
Rising developmental activities in Asia Pacific in the production of thermoformed plastic products is projected to propel the market over the forecast period. Increasing growth in automotive industries owing to light weight parts to improve the efficiency of the vehicle is anticipated to augment the market.
The global thermoformed plastics market is highly competitive and fairly concentrated, with major four companies Pactiv LLC, D&W Fine Pack LLC, Genpak LLC, and Sonoco Plastics accounting for a maximum share in the market. Major industry participants include Placon Corporation, Anchor Packaging, Spencer Industries, Brentwood Industries, Greiner Packaging, and Silgan Plastics.
Increasing company product offerings for the end-use industries such as medical, food packaging, electrical & electronics, consumer & commercial sector, automotive, construction, and pharmaceuticals are expected to be a key parameter for being competitive in this market. Rising mergers and acquisitions being undertaken as an attempt to strengthen the presence and gain industry share.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2014 - 2016
2017 - 2025
Volume in kilo tons, revenue in USD million and CAGR from 2017 to 2025
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central &South America, Middle East & Africa
U.S., Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Italy, China, India, Japan
Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends
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Segments covered in the report
This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional & country levels and provides an analysis on the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global thermoformed plastics market on the basis of product, process, application, and region:
Product Outlook (Volume, KiloTons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA)
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC)
High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)
Process Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Plug assist forming
Thick gauge thermoforming
Thin gauge thermoforming
Application Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Cylinders Healthcare & medical
Electrical & electronics
Consumer goods & appliances
Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Central & South America
Middle East & Africa
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