Synthetic paper is generally manufactured from petroleum derivatives such as synthetic resins (polyethylene and polypropylene). Synthetic paper displays characteristics resembling those of plastic films and at the same time is visually indistinguishable from regular paper. Synthetic paper offers a multitude of advantages over ordinary paper due to its superior chemical and physical characteristics. Synthetic paper is resistant to water, stains, tearing, oily substances, and most chemical products. In addition, unlike normal paper, synthetic paper is capable of withstanding extreme heat and cold. Furthermore, synthetic paper is resistant to ultraviolet light (UV) and sunlight, which makes it ideal for outdoor applications. Synthetic paper is inorganic, eco-friendly and produces very low quantities of byproducts during the manufacturing process. Synthetic paper can be easily disposed off through recycling, incineration, or at certified landfills. Synthetic paper not only finds application in the converting industry, but also in the food label and packaging industry and for children’s books.
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Growing application sectors, such as the labels segment, are likely to drive the global synthetic paper market. In addition, the rising demand for eco-friendly and energy efficient products is projected to boost the global synthetic paper market in the coming years. Regular paper is often given preference over synthetic paper due to low price of regular paper. However, innovative and cost-effective products can overcome this challenge.
Majority of synthetic papers are either produced using biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) accounted for over 60% of the global synthetic paper market in 2013. Biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) synthetic paper has very high stability and performance over a very wide range of temperatures and environmental conditions. High-density polyethylene synthetic papers exhibit excellent chemical resistance, which is often the driving force behind the selection of high-density polyethylene synthetic paper. In terms of volume, HDPE is likely to experience moderate growth, at a CAGR of approximately 6% between 2014 and 2020. However, a sizable amount of synthetic paper is manufactured from polyesters and some amounts from polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride.
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Synthetic paper finds application in a wide range of printing and finishing applications where high temperature resistance, durability, strength, moisture, grease, and chemical resistance are essential factors. Major applications of the synthetic paper market are divided into two sectors: label and non-label. The non-label segment comprises traditional synthetic paper products such as banners, graphic art, maps, and menus. The non-label segment dominated the global synthetic paper market with just under 60% of the total volume share. The label segment is expected exhibit quicker growth numbers as compared to the non-label segment due to the increasing demand from end-user industries such as food, beverage, and pharmaceuticals. Labels are typically used as warning labels, bar-coded labels, and laboratory identification labels in the chemical, cosmetics, transportation and pharmaceutical end-user segments.
The market is currently dominated by a few large, global ventures with proprietary technologies, each making a distinctive product. Key players in the market include Arjobex, Nan Ya Plastics, PPG Corporation, and Yupo Corporation. The top three companies accounted for over 83% of the global synthetic market in 2013. Yupo Corporation is one of the major players in the synthetic paper industry. Yupo Corporation has been primarily focusing on strengthening its global presence in existing as well as untapped regions. Additionally, a number of small players have emerged in the unorganized sector, especially in Asia Pacific. The unorganized sector comprises small and medium-sized companies competing in China and India.
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