Canadian Plastics

Market for thermoformed plastics poised for steady growth: report

June 19, 2016   Canadian Plastics

The thermoformed plastic products market has increased significantly due to improved technologies and is competing favorably with injection molding and other plastic processes, a new report said.

According to the report from BCC Research, the global plastic thermoformed plastic market is expected to increase from 8.3 billion pounds in 2016 to 10.2 billion pounds by 2021, which corresponds with a five-year compound annual growth rate of 4.3%.

Thermoformed plastics are involved in several important applications such as rigid food and healthcare packaging, automotive, building products, appliances, and a wide array of consumer and industrial/commercial products.  These plastics compete with injection molded and blow molded plastics along with non-plastic materials such as glass, paper and metals. Generally, the report said, industry considers “plastic sheet” to be extruded plastics ranging from thicknesses of 10-12 millimeters to about two inches.

Advances in the market will be driven by above-average growth in tubs, cups, bowls and lids used in foodservice applications, the report said, and also by the packaging of foods such as baked goods, frozen products, fresh produce, meat and dairy products.

Prospects in pharmaceutical blister packaging will also add to the market. Other end uses include cosmetics, toiletries, hardware, sporting goods, electronic products and consumer goods. The latter category includes appliances, lawn/garden equipment along with recreational and sports products.

The appliance industry is poised for growth due to the benefits of plastic sheet, which offers lower weight, moisture and corrosion resistance and excellent design flexibility. Yet, these applications will see just a steady gain because of increased appliance longevity.

Sheet demand in the auto sector will rise as the need for lighter weight and fuel-efficient vehicles with instrument panels are paving the way in auto interiors along with the potential of plastic windshields and windows.

The growing use of thermoformed plastics, mostly in the rigid packaging market led by the food industry, is a key market driver. These plastics have significantly impacted several key markets as a substitute for glass, metal and paper packaging in addition to blowmolded and injection-molded plastics.

“In sectors such as food, medical and other packaging, moisture control is often critical and thermoformed products have been used with barrier films to provide excellent packaging materials,” said BCC Research analyst Mel Schlechter. “The concept of ‘thinwalling’ in many packaging applications has been another major driver for thermoformed packaging.”


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