North America polyvinyl chloride films market size was 961.3 kilo tons in 2013. Rigid & flexible films are widely used in numerous packaging applications such as food packaging, pharmaceutical packaging, and consumer products packaging. The industry is characterized by increasing regulatory & legislative intervention in the U.S. and Canada, particularly for food packaging applications. Major U.S. cities including Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, and Buffalo have prohibited PVC use in food packaging or utensils due to the phthalate presence. This has led to increase in demand for substitutes such as PEVA and RPET in the same application segment.
Relatively lax regulatory guidelines exist in Mexico; where PVC films market currently face little threat in the form of legislature or regulatory policies for food packaging applications. Municipal bodies in the country, instead of banning plastic films, have adopted policies to gradually phase out through increasing recycled plastics content in overall consumption pattern.
Major processing technologies used production includes calendering, cast extrusion, co-extrusion and lamination. Calendering was the leading technology segment and accounted for over 55% of the market volume in 2014. Calendering is widely being used as compared to other processing technologies owing to its superior pounding rate, product quality and long batch production properties.
Compared to calendering, extrusion equipment procurement is cheap; however, the long term of usability of extrusion machines is lower than calendering machines thus increasing operational costs of the manufacturer. Additionally, the quality and output vary proving to be inconsistent with metallic usage higher in extrusion than in calendering. In terms of revenue, extrusion industry was estimated at USD 527.9 million in 2013.
Key products analyzed in this report include rigid, monomeric flexible and polymeric flexible films along with shrink & semi-rigid. Rigid PVC films were the leading product segment with demand estimated at 509.9 kilo tons in 2013 and is widely used in food, footwear and tools packaging. In blister packaging applications, the product serves pharmaceutical industry.
Other applications include furniture, building materials (canopy, holdings) and stationery products. Legislations in the U.S. & Canada aimed at banning PVC in packaging applications owing to presence of phthalates is expected to challenge its demand over the forecast period.
Flexible films are traditionally used in building materials, stationeries, clothing, medical apparatus, and printing applications. They are fabricated through plasticizers namely, monomeric & polymeric, thus attaining differentiation in terms of their physical and chemical properties post formulations.
Increasing demand in medical, packaging, building materials and stationery applications, particularly in Mexico is expected to drive these product segments’ demand over the next seven years.
Packaging was the largest end-use segment and accounted for over 33% of the market volume in 2014. PVC films are highly consumed in packaging applications owing to their superior barrier properties compared to other conventional counterparts.
However, regulatory and legislative intervention such as in California and FDA directive 21 CFR 175.105 and 21 CFR 177.1390 have paved way for substitutes such as RPET and PEVA. This factor is expected to challenge packaging end-use growth.
These films are used for various purposes including decorative, furniture, construction and envelope materials in infrastructure sector. Construction films protect under-construction masonry and columns from weathering and chemical corrosion. Growing construction industry in Mexico and increasing public infrastructure spending in the U.S. & Canada are expected to drive the end-use segment growth over the forecast period.
PVC films are used in a wide range of medical devices such as external feeding bags, oxygen bags, pressure cuffs, collection bags, therapy bags and cold packs. However, growing concerns regarding their toxicity and carcinogenicity has forced healthcare institutions in the U.S. to phase out their usage.
U.S. PVC films market was the largest consumer and accounted for 77.8% of the North America volume in 2014. Mature end-use industries coupled with presence of large number of resin suppliers have been major factors instrumental in driving consumption in the U.S.
With increasing awareness regarding carcinogenicity and toxicity of conventional plastics and their products, regulatory bodies have adapted stringent norms. PVC has been under scrutiny by EPA, FDA and legislative bodies owing to presence of phthalates and its disposability issues. These factors are expected to negatively affect the industry in U.S. over the forecast period.
Industry dynamics in Canada are similar to that in the U.S.; the market is characterized by growing regulatory pressure on end-users to reduce reliance on plastic films for packaging applications. On the other hand, Mexico has a favorable regulatory environment. These factors comparatively are expected to shift production from the U.S. to high demand regions in Mexico.
This industry value chain consists of resin manufacturers, resin suppliers/distributors, film producers, film suppliers, and end-users. North America PVC films market share is characterized by presence of large number of resin manufacturers. Majority of these companies have established supply partnerships with suppliers and distribution channels in order to cater to film producers.
Few film producers such as Plastic Film Corp., Tekra, and Presco are further integrated along the value chain by establishing their own distribution channels through supply partnerships with end-users and by setting up their sales offices & distribution centers in the region. This enables these companies to cut-down on marketing costs and vice-versa, and sell their products and services at competitive prices.
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