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Changes in the development trend of the global specialty paper industry

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Changes in the development trend of the global specialty paper industry

Release date:2019-09-17 Author:Kevin 纸引通 Click:

According to Smithers Pira's latest exclusive research, the global specialty paper market size will reach 25.03 million tons in 2019.

It is estimated that the total global output of paper and paperboard exceeds 450 million tons. In contrast, specialty papers provide more and more profitable market opportunities for established special suppliers and bulk manufacturers seeking diversification.

Smithers Pira's research-the future of specialty papers (by 2024)-tracks the market for more than 40 specialty papers. By 2024, the specialty paper market capacity will reach 28.02 million tons, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.3%. As this market expands, there will be a series of key points of change that will help build the industry's future profitability.

The Asia-Pacific region's market capacity growth will be the strongest (expected annual growth rate of 3.8%), it is also the world's largest market. China and India are particularly strong. Flexible packaging paper, single-sided coated paper packaging, printing labels, special printing paper and release paper are the largest paper types in the global special paper industry.

Smithers Pira analysis identified the following five key points for market development and opportunities that will help understand the future of the global specialty paper industry.

Commodity producer

There are more than 550 paper machines worldwide-usually smaller in output and size than ordinary paper machines-for the manufacture of specialty papers.

As the commodity printing and writing business and newsprint business have steadily contracted in North America and Western Europe for many years, more product companies are exploring how to enter the specialty paper sector. Commercial paper or newsprint mills in these areas have switched to specialty paper. New chemicals and improved process technology enable wider and faster machines to produce specialty paper products more economically than traditional small specialty paper mills. However, not all such conversions have been successful and some of these plants have been closed.

This puts new pressure on specialty paper companies, especially those active in slower growing market segments. Some long-established specialty paper companies have either closed down or become part of M & A trends. Some veteran producers such as Appvion and Arjowiggins are facing bankruptcy, management or takeover. Scandinavian investment group recently saved ZandersPaper in Germany, saving the historic factory.

Sustainable packaging

In 2019, flexible packaging will still be the largest segment of sales-about 20% of the market in 2018-and one of the highest growth rates expected.

Environmental regulations support this growth, and stricter waste packaging requirements in many EU-led regions have created new opportunities. In some areas, the conversion of plastic to paper will continue to accelerate-for example, some US cities recently banned the use of plastic straws.

Machine-glazedpaper is widely used for laminating, coating, metallizing and converting into various flexible packaging materials. The amount is large and the growth is stable. Although the cost of wax paper is relatively low, it is gradually losing market share because some traditional applications now use products with better barrier properties.

Oil- and grease-resistant (OGR) paper continues to spread, and through extensive research and development, effective water-based coating alternatives are sought as barrier coatings. Greaseproof paper is more commercialized and has a wide range of supply channels. As a result, their prices are usually significantly lower than high-quality greaseproof paper.

Water-based paint

New product development in food contact applications continues to focus primarily on the commercialization of water-based barrier coatings to replace expensive and environmentally controversial fluorocarbons. Major chemical companies have been seeking various patented innovative solutions, some of which are being implemented on a commercial basis.

Chemical suppliers and paper manufacturers are investing heavily in R & D and patent activities to further advance the application process of engineering nanoparticles in size pressing treatment and surface coating, in order to give paper environmentally friendly oil and grease resistance.

Another hot spot is the trivalent chromium complex commonly used in North America as a heat-resistant release surface instead of a baking sheet. Food-grade silicone coatings are more common in other parts of the world and perform well in many applications. However, they can be expensive and difficult to apply to paper machines, and their goal is to study better solutions for low- and mid-range machines.

Thermal and inkjet paper

The explosive growth of Internet shopping and transportation of related products has driven corresponding growth in thermal transfer, direct thermal, and digitally printed shipping labels.

For labels, plastic film facestock has gained market share in some applications because it has the advantages of flexibility, durability, and moisture resistance, but paper is still very common in most applications.

The thermal paper market is growing, and several capacities put into operation in the first decade of the 21st century have met this new market demand. With the increase in postage rates and the search for lighter weight solutions for bulk mail, lightweight opaque paper continues to be strong in several developing regions. The main challenge facing the industry remains the development of coating formulations that do not include bisphenol A (BPA) in their production, as the chemical has caused negative publicity and tighter regulation in North America and Europe.

The demand for inkjet printing is not limited to labels, but extends to many other areas. In response to the proliferation of high-speed inkjet printers around the world, specialty paper producers have developed a new line of surface-treated or fully-coated paper combined with digital printing platforms.

Medical applications

In addition to increasing demand for release paper for bandages and other products, the medical industry's demand for sterilizable packaging, including paper, will continue to increase. The growth rate of specialty paper in this segment is expected to be about 4.5% from 2019 to 2024.

Papermakers continue to invest in the production of various types of paper in this area, including lightweight MG or MF bleached wood pulp paper, to seize this opportunity, but they do face competition from plastic films because it is a low-cost alternative.

A key attribute of medical wrapping paper is the protection of surgical instruments or other contents by maintaining a sterile environment. This requires improved tear resistance or puncture resistance and maintaining these properties after treatment with several sterilization techniques to provide the necessary shelf life, typically up to five years.

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