Critical Importance of Lightweight & Wear-Resistant Materials in Transportation Technologies to Drive Demand for Reinforced Plastics

The global market for Reinforced Plastics is projected to reach 9 million tons by 2022, driven by the growing demand for lightweight and wear-resistant materials in automotive, aerospace and several other industries amid growing emphasis on energy efficiency, emission reduction and product durability.

Reinforced plastics are a versatile category of composite materials in which plastic's temperature and low-modulus limitations are eliminated by reinforcing the resin matrix with high-modulus fibers. Incorporating unmatched techno-functional attributes such as superior strength-to-weight, stiffness-to-weight, impact resistance, insulation, and environmental resistance, reinforced plastics continue to make robust gains in several core industrial verticals. Use case of these advanced composites is escalating especially in transportation, construction, wind energy, sports & leisure products, consumer goods, electrical & electronics, marine, and corrosion resistance equipment.

Heightened focus on making machines, systems and equipment in lightweight, energy-efficient, and wear-resistant designs is creating a fertile environment for wider application of reinforced plastics. Reinforced plastics made from glass fibers (GFRP or fibreglass), carbon fibers (CFRP), aramid/kevlar fibers, and wood/cellulose fibers are making robust gains, with GFPR demonstrating higher share in volume consumption and CFRP exhibiting faster growth than other variants. Fiberglass, a low-cost yet superior composite material, has already made significant inroads in the building construction and several other domains. On the other hand, CFRP is making rapid gains on the back of progressive improvements in manufacturing technologies, steady decrease in prices, and growing awareness about usage benefits of the innovative composite material.

Transportation has evolved into the core end-use sector for reinforced plastics, driven by sustained emphasis on bringing forward fuel efficient automotive designs that comply with prevailing regulatory standards. Similarly, growing use of composites in production of aircraft components such as floor beams, engine nacelles, wings, and vertical stabilizers continues to bolster market prospects. Wind turbine manufacturing also offers strong potential for reinforcement plastics, especially in the areas of building longer and lighter blades with improved performance. At the same time, consumption volumes of reinforced plastics are increasing in electrical/electronic products, consumer goods, and marine technologies, thus pointing towards bright outlook for the market.

Asia-Pacific represents the largest regional market. Demonstrating a CAGR of 5.9% over the analysis period, Asia-Pacific also constitutes the fastest growing market worldwide. Steered by healthy economic scenario and growing prominence of Asian countries as manufacturing hubs for electronics, consumer goods, parts & components for automotive and aerospace technologies, demand for reinforced plastics continues to escalate in the region.

Major players in the market include 3B-the Fiberglass Company, A. Schulman Inc., BASF SE, China Jushi Co. Ltd., Chongqing Polycomp International Corporation (CPIC), Continental Structural Plastics Inc., Core Molding Technologies Inc., DowAksa Advanced Composites Holdings BV, DowDuPont Inc., Fiber Reinforced Plastics (NZ) Ltd., Fiberset Incorporated, Hanwha Advanced Materials Corporation, Haysite Reinforced Plastics, Hexcel Corporation, Kuraray Co. Ltd., McClarin Plastics LLC, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Owens Corning Inc., PolyOne Corporation, PPG Industries Inc., Saint-Gobain SA, SGL Group - The Carbon Company, Solvay S.A., Taishan Fiberglass Inc., Teijin Ltd., Toho Tenax Co. Ltd., Toray Industries Inc., and Washington Penn Plastic Co. Inc.

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