Thermoforming is the process of molding material (plastic, aluminum, wood, and rubber) into desired shape to create packaging containers. The process allows the molding of large size containers from sheets in extremely cost effective way. Moreover, thermoform packaging can be customized into various shapes and sizes, and is more durable compared to its counterparts. Post molding, printing can be done to make products aesthetically appealing.
Cost effectiveness and ability for mass manufacturing make it a popular choice among the industries such as food and pharmaceutical. The major challenges are the environmental repercussions of using plastic packaging. Moreover, thermoformed material cannot bear excess weight and cannot be used for the packaging of heavy materials.
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Plastic is the most used material for the manufacture of thermoform packaging due to its widespread availability and cheap material cost. Clamshell packaging is used for consumer goods. They are usually transparent to ensure that the consumer can see the contents of the packaging. Whereas blister cards are used in pharmaceutical industry and are manufactured by heat sealing a sheet foil.
Skin packaging is gaining popularity due to its increased performance such as more durability, toughness, improved aesthetics, and lower material use over conventional blister packaging.
The largest end use industry is food and beverages. The ability of thermoform material to be customized makes it very popular in food, pharmaceutical and electronics industries for packaging of small items. Its durability ensures product is not damaged and contamination is prevented.
Thermoform Packaging Market Outlook
North America and Europe are the largest markets for thermoformed packaging due to high disposable incomes in the regions. Moreover, a preference for packaged food and disposable products has also driven market. According to the Population Reference Bureau, in Canada and EU, the geriatric population in North America is around 51 million and around 94 million in Europe, has boosted the growth of pharmaceutical industry.
Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market with the world’s largest population in India and China, boosting the demand for food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and electronics. These countries are also growing as manufacturing hubs for pharmaceuticals and electronics due to low cost of labor and raw material. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Asia Pacific region accounted for 50% of the world’s GDP and is slated to become a prime consumer hub in the forecast period.
Latin American population is getting shifted to higher income brackets, packaged food and beverages. Increased consumption of packaged commodities indicates a shift towards a higher quality of life of consumers. This has driven the growth for food, pharmaceutical, and electronics industries.
The Middle East and Africa are fast growing markets for thermoform packaging due to large working migrant population in GCC countries and fast growing economies in Africa are major drivers for end user industries.
A new thermoforming technique, known as “Computational Thermoforming” has come up as an alternative to 3D printing. It was developed by Zurich based Interactive Geometry Lab in 2016. This largely cuts down time required for manufacturing special purpose packaging.
Key Players in the Thermoform Packaging Market
Key Players in the thermoform packaging market include Amcor Limited, Bemis Company, Inc., WestRock Company, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, DS Smith Plc., Constantia Flexibles GmbH, Sonoco Products Company, Anchor Packaging, Tekni-plex Inc., G. Mondini S.p.A, and Display Pack Inc.
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