The Future of Metallizing

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Metallized Products

Europe dominates consumption of metallized products with 33% of the global market. North America and Asia, at 24% and 23% respectively, come in second and third. Packaging and labels are the major market segments, but metallized products—both film and paper—span a variety of markets, from textiles and cigarettes to gift wrap and technical/construction applications.

For metallized films, there are strong growth opportunities in bakery applications for replacing waxed paper and polyethylene, while metallized films also are increasingly popular for snack food packaging. Clear oxide barrier coatings are opening new markets, as are product security and brand authentication and electronics (antenna arrays/displays, etc).

While metallized papers may be losing market share to films in some areas, they also have some positive drivers for continuing future growth. They have a good image in the promotional and point-of-sale arena, where consumer shoppers are proven to be positively attracted by the sparkle of metal.

Metallized papers also have an advantage in the common perception of their environmental properties over metallized films. Practically speaking, they offer good barrier properties, are available with clear and opaque functional coatings, and—best of all—are very cost effective.

On the down side, however, aluminum has a poor image in some regions—e.g., the Nordic countries and Germany—and metallized paper’s environmental credentials are irrelevant in the strong growth areas in Asia Pacific and the other developing economies of the world. Innovation in metallized papers is hard to come by, and competition from alternative coatings and packaging formats is increasing.

Nevertheless, the market for metallized products can be described as positive for both the manufacturers of the film and paper substrates—as well as for converters.

Data for this article is taken from the library of reports and conferences on vacuum coating and metallizing topics available from AWA Alexander Watson Assoc.

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