Focus on High Quality Surface Finishes in the Manufacturing Industry Drives Demand for Prepregs

The global market for Prepreg (Pre-impregnated Composite Fibers) is projected to reach 489.3 thousand metric tons by 2024, driven by the growing focus on achieving part uniformity, consistent quality and superior surface finishes in product manufacturing.

Prepregs, or preimpregnated composites materials that refer to reinforcement fabrics impregnated with a resin system prior to fabrication into parts and components, are gaining widespread acceptance in the global composite industry owing properties such as easy handling, consistency as well as superior quality surface finishing. From their early applications in the high performance aerospace industry, prepregs are today used in a wider spectrum of industries including automotive, sporting goods, high temperature components, electronic-transmission systems, A/C ducting and in high impact surfaces, among others. Aerospace and aviation, construction and building, defense and recreation represent some of the largest markets for prepregs. Growing environmental regulations are driving the need for reducing weight of automobiles and aircraft to improve fuel efficiency. The scenario is leading to the replacement of aluminum and steel with composites. With benefits such as high resistance to corrosion, high specific stiffness and strength, consistency in quality, quicker manufacturing and longer shelf life, demand for prepreg materials continues to rise.

Technological advances which address existing hurdles will help open up new opportunities in applications and performance. Innovations that enable reduction in curing time and lower cost of prepreg materials will drive adoption across a range of new and emerging applications. Out-of-autoclave processes matching the quality and performance of autoclave-generated products will grow in popularity. Faster cycle times, low cost, lower wastages, lower capital and labor requirements, and high energy efficiency represent key benefits driving the commercial viability of out-of-autoclave (OoA) prepreg materials and methods. New techniques such as PCM (prepreg compression molding) and Vacuum-Bag-Only are finding increasing applications particularly in aviation and automotive sectors. New innovative products emerging on the market, with enhanced functionality, versatility and appearance are addressing the changing needs of end-use markets and driving market growth.

Europe represents the largest market worldwide supported by huge demand from aerospace, military/defense, and commercial sectors. Asia-Pacific ranks as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 12.8% through the analysis period, led by growing automobile production, increased applications in general engineering and strong demand for structural prepregs for renewable energy structures against the backdrop of growing government investments in ensuring energy sustainability and security.

Major players in the market include APCM LLC, Axiom Materials Inc., Cytec Solvay Group, Gurit Holding AG, Hexcel Corporation, Holding Company Composite, Isola Group, Koninklijke Ten Cate bv, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, SGL Group - The Carbon Company, Taiwan First Li-Bond Co. Ltd., Toray Industries Inc., and Zoltek Companies Inc., among others.

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