Growth in the PE film industry

The demand for PE film has continued to make a slow, steady recovery since 2010. The recession of 2008-2009 saw polyethylene film production drop by 10% and output is still some half a million tonnes below the peak level of 2007. Recovery and growth are no longer based solely on tonnage. With downgauge processes and linear an metallocene grades, it is possible to make and to use thinner films for the same applications.
According to AMI (Bristol, UK), in its recent  tenth edition of the Directory of Polyethylene Film Extruders in Europe, in 2013, for the first time ever, the consumption of linear and metallocene grades by film extruders exceeded the usage of conventional LDPE grades. This trend is here to stay, with AMI forecasting that the use of metallocenes materials in film extrusion will grow at a rate of 3 or 4 percentage points above that for the industry as a whole as more and more extruders develop products using them.

Film extruders have been steadily increasing their use of linear and metallocene resins to adapt to consumer demands, which helps to explain the good growth rates in stretch and shrink film production.   Shrink and stretch films, used to protect goods in transit, each accounted for 1 million tonnes of polyethylene film production in 2013. AMI’s directory shows the importance of this sector with 52% of plants involved in the production of stretch film or shrink film for collation or pallet wrapping.  This trend is reflected across Europe with Germany taking the lead, where 61% of film extrusion sites are producing shrink and stretch films.  The leading producer of stretch film, the Italian group Manuli Stretch, operates one of the largest plants for stretch film in Europe in Schkopau, Germany.  image

Consolidation and restructuring continues to be a major feature of the film extrusion market. The Coveris Group brings together the PE film operations of Britton Group, Veriplast, Unterland and Kobusch. Nortdenia is now part of the Mondi Group and RKW’s took over Hyplast.