Key end-use components:
- With 22.3 billion sq meters of material produced in 2015, labels dominate the overall release-liner market with a 49% share.
- Medical applications account for only 3% of the total field at 1.2 billion sq meters last year.
- Graphic films, with 2.3 billion sq meters of material, accounted for 5% of the 2015 market.
- At 13% market share, tapes made up the second-largest category of release-liner applications, with 5.9 billion sq meters.
- And industrial end uses, with an 11% market share, accounted for 5.0 billion sq meters.
- Label release-liner markets are projected to grow 3.4% a year to 2020 worldwide, says AWA. Asia-Pacific will likely see 5.3% annual growth (the fastest), and North America see a steady 2.3%.
- Glassine/SCK paper dominates the substrate range for label release liners with about a 55% market share; other papers make up 30%, and PE, PP and PET films account for the remainder.
- Trends: Linerless p-s labels continue to gain interest among CPCs and retailers; Digital direct printing may be a threat in key end-use markets for p-s labels in the short- to medium-term as the technology develops; and intelligent labels are better suited to p-s formats than other methods.
- The release-liner field for tapes grew 7.2% last year and is projected to climb at about 7.8% a year to 2020, predicts AWA. Again, Asia-Pacific is forecasted to see 10% annual growth, while North America will see only a 3.8% rise.
- Production-wise, Asia-Pacific led global regions in 2015 with a 58% share, followed by North America at 26% and Europe at 11%.
- Driving demand for tape release liners is growth in the automotive industry, building & construction in developing countries, and aviation. For example, Groupe Renault estimates that it uses on average 700 sq cm of p-s tapes (and its release liner) in each vehicle.
- Worldwide production of medical-related liners will grow 7.6% annually to 2020, says AWA. Asia-Pacific will see a rather astounding 17.5% CAGR; North America will see about 7% growth each year.
- North America led the world in medical release liner production (70%) last year, Europe had 16%, and Asia-Pacific 11%.
- Trends: An aging population worldwide is driving growth along with use and acceptance of disposable medical devices and transdermal patches for therapeutics and pharmaceuticals; ongoing developments in wound care; and a perception of cleanliness is critical to product success.
- At 5.7% growth in 2015, release liners for graphic films is the fourth-fastest growth end use. That rate should continue through 2020, predicts AWA.
- Glassine/SCK, clay-coated and polyolefin-coated papers made up 95% of the market for substrates in this application. Different films accounted for less than 5% last year.
- Trends: Advertising and branding apps hold the majority of volume while graphic films used for decorative purposes are expected to push future growth; pressure on costs have driven converters and printers to downgrade film materials to cheaper options; and improvements to calendering have increased demand toward calendered vinyl as a substrate.
- Production of release liners for industrial apps grew 6.8% in 2015, and globally the segment will climb another 7.5% a year to 2020, says AWA.
- Industrial apps are the only end-use segment where PE, PP and PET films make up the majority of substrate bases at a tiny fraction over 50%. Of this, PET films account for about 35%.
- North America and Asia-Pacific led industrial release-liner output last year at 45% and 43%, respectively. Europe produced only 10% of world output.
- Key apps driving growth are building & construction, consumer electronics, and composites for aerospace, wind energy, automotive and recreational apps.