Increasing opportunities for a number of niche materials and technologies in the West European flexible packaging market are predicted in a new study from PCI Films Consulting.

The report identifies PEN/PET coextruded polyester film, which is expected to benefit from downgauging and packaging reduction initiatives in niche laminate applications requiring enhanced oxygen barriers. Also spotlighted is LISIM manufacturing technology for the production of polyester and PP films – forecast to grow in importance as investment costs reduce. Film produced with this technology is said to offer substantial strength, productivity and optical advantages over traditional stenter oriented film.

PVOH film is forecast to grow by 8-10 per cent annually over the next five years, as it builds on existing niche applications, particularly with regards to water solubility. Bespoke laminating adhesives are also noted for providing converters with the ability to create the optimum adhesive solution for each job in-house, rather than rely on off-the-shelf compromises

On nano composites – a coating technology claimed to provide a barrier substantially higher than EVOH and PVdC alternatives – PCI says higher costs are preventing their use currently, but the economics may change for niche applications.

The study provides statistical data and interpretation on usage and trends for flexible packaging raw materials, explanations of technologies and processes as well as insights into likely sources of competitive advantage.