A composite material is a combination of two separate materials that have unique features like mechanical, microcracking, and fatigue resistance, spectacular tensile strength, electrical conductivity, and high strength-to-weight ratio. When integrated, these properties result in a final product with outstanding attributes. Composites are comprised of a polymer matrix and structural fiber. The fiber gives the shape and strength of the composite, while a plastic polymer keeps the fiber together.
Composites are employed in several end-use industries, including electrical & electronics, aerospace & defense, transportation, wind energy, marine, pipe & tank, and construction & infrastructure. Composites have a number of advantages, including their resistance to corrosion, nonconductivity, flexibility, low maintenance requirements, durability, and design adaptability.
Top 10 Composite Companies
- Johns Manville
- Mitsubishi Corporation
- Owens Corning
- Huntsman Corporation
Types of Fibers used in Composites
Glass fiber, carbon fiber, basalt fiber, aramid fiber, and natural fiber are some of the common fibers used in composites.
Glass fiber composites are produced by combining glass fibers and a polymer matrix. These fibers are frequently utilized in composites as a reinforcing component. Glass fiber has several uses in the building, wind energy, pipes and tanks, marine, and transportation sectors because of its exceptional qualities, including strength, flexibility, durability, stability, low weight, and resistance to heat, temperature, and moisture. It is utilized in a variety of transportation-related applications, including underbody systems, deck lids, front-end modules, bumper beams, engine covers, instrument panels, and air ducts.
Carbon fiber-reinforced composites are created by combining carbon fibers with matrix resins. They are strong and lightweight. They have a variety of uses, including in sports equipment, general industrial parts, and aerospace. Prepregs, textiles, pultrusion, and windings are all forms in which these composite materials are employed. As these composites have the greatest potential for weight reduction and greater rigidity than glass fiber-reinforced composites, carbon fiber is being employed more frequently as the reinforcement for plastic matrices.
Many end-use industries utilize carbon fiber because it is 30% lighter and twice as robust as glass fiber. The use of carbon fiber-reinforced composites in the automotive industry started with racing vehicles since they lighten the vehicle's weight and are necessary as a high-strength, high-rigidity material for the monolithic frame to assure the driver's safety.
Natural fiber composites are made of natural fibers like flax, hemp, jute, and kenaf and a polymer matrix like polypropylene, epoxy, polyethylene, or polyesters. As an alternative to glass fiber composites, the usage of natural fiber composites is expanding in numerous end-use industries, including automotive parts, building structures, and consumer items. The majority of natural fiber reinforcements are employed in automotive interior applications. Since they come from renewable sources and leave a less environmental footprint than carbon or glass fibers, these fibers are frequently used in automobile applications. Automotive OEMs can use this to comply with strict regulations.
The basalt fiber composite is a sophisticated fiber made from volcanic lava deposits. It is produced using a single-melt technique from basalt rock and is made up of melts of the single source material. These fibers have properties like thermal stability, sound and heat insulation, vibration resistance, and chemical resistance. Products made from basalt fiber can be used with resins like epoxy, phenolic, polyester, and vinyl ester systems. These fibers are used in composite materials or in fiber form.
They can be used in building and infrastructure, transportation, marine, electrical and electronic, wind energy, and other sectors like the healthcare industry. Basalt fibers and matrix resin work well together. They can be combined with steel wires, steel bars, or other fiber materials to create hybrids with noticeable advantages in terms of high-temperature performance, fatigue resistance, and short- and long-term mechanical qualities.
Aramid fiber is an artificial organic polymer created by spinning a solid fiber from a liquid chemical mixture. It is made up of vivid golden-yellow filaments that are non-conductive, high strength, low density, thermally stable, and abrasion resistant. In addition to jet engine enclosures, this is utilized in snowboards, tennis strings, hockey sticks, ropes, and cables. In the transportation industry, aramid fibers are utilized in tires, body parts, hoses, brake pads, and vehicle armor.
Types of resins used in Composites
Thermoset and thermoplastic resins are utilized as the matrix with fibers to create various composites. A thermoset resin is a stiff petrochemical substance that needs to be chemically cured using heat and a catalyst, whereas a thermoplastic resin is a polymer compound that melts or flows when heated and solidifies again when cooled. Due to their low cost and superior performance, thermoset composites have a larger market share than thermoplastic composites.
In thermoset composites, fibers such as glass fiber, carbon fiber, natural fiber, and others are utilized as a matrix with thermoset resin. Since thermoset resins are liquid at room temperature when uncured, they are frequently utilized to make composite materials. This distinctive quality of thermoset resin makes it possible to easily impregnate reinforcing fiber. Thermoset composites are strong because of their stiff interlinking molecular structure, inert chemical make-up, and resistance to ultraviolet and chemical attacks. Additionally, thermoset composite structures require little upkeep.
Composites are made using a variety of thermoset polymer matrices, including epoxy, polyester, and vinyl esters. Thermoset composites with high toughness, impact strength, and moisture resistance are made utilizing fibers that are produced using thermoset resins as a matrix. These composites are frequently utilized in the infrastructure, pipe & tank, electronics, transportation, and industry. Phenolic, polyimide (PI), benzoxazine, bismaleimide (BMI), and other thermoset resins are also utilized to make composites.
Continuous fiber and thermoplastic resin have been used to produce structural composite goods. The fundamental benefit of using resin as matrix material is that, unlike thermoset resin, the composite created may be molded and rebuilt. The composite that is created is readily recyclable, and during the past ten years, its use has greatly increased. Thermoplastic composites make it simple to construct complex material shapes. They can be used to construct enormous constructions and can be stored at room temperature.
Long fiber thermoplastics (LFT), short fiber thermoplastics (SFT), glass mat thermoplastics (GMT), and continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastics are the four different types of thermoplastic materials. Resins such as polycarbonates (PC), polypropylene (PP), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), polyetherimide (PEI), and polyether ether ketone (PEEK) and polyamide (PA) are among the several forms of thermoplastic composites. Other thermoplastic resins are polyoxymethylene (POM), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). These resins provide outstanding dimensional stability, high toughness, and heat stability.
Different processes involved in manufacturing Composites
The composite manufacturing process chosen is heavily influenced by the dimensions and shape of the internal system to be produced such as lay-up, filament winding, injection molding, compression molding, RTM, and pultrusion. These procedures make it possible to create lightweight composites that have a high strength-to-weight ratio, good surface quality, and great dimensional tolerance. Vacuum and pressure bagging, 3D printing, and continuous laminate are further methods used in the manufacture of composites. Compact composite layers, sonar domes, antenna housings, and aeroplane fairings are all produced utilizing these technologies. Depending on the uses, manufacturers can use any of the manufacturing techniques.
The orientation of the fibers can be adjusted as necessary during this procedure to enable them to withstand the highest possible stresses. This is a low-cost technology that has benefits including rapid fiber and resin deposition and simplicity of use. Designing straightforward enclosures and lightly loaded structural panels typically involves the lay-up method. The aerospace and defense, building and infrastructure, wind energy, and marine end-use industries all have a significant need for it. There are three different sorts of lay-up techniques: hand lay-up, tape lay-up, and spray lay-up. The most popular method for creating composites is hand lay-up. Large components like those for wind turbines, concrete forms, and airplane radomes are all made using one of the most straightforward procedures.
Filament Winding Process
Filament winding is a mechanized open molding method that uses a revolving mandrel as a mold to create an inside surface and a laminate surface on the product's outside. By offering a high level of fiber loading, this technique creates laminates with a high strength-to-weight ratio. It is a very efficient and cost-effective way to make composites. Highly designed buildings are made using this automated method. Compressed air tanks, high-pressure CO2 tanks & bottles, water softener systems, rescue air tanks, sailboat masts, compressed natural gas tanks, light poles, and construction materials are just a few examples of hollow or round components that can be made using this process.
Injection Molding Process
The most popular reinforced thermoplastic composite material used in the quick, high-volume, closed molding process known as injection molding is nylon reinforced with chopped glass fiber. The process involves pouring molten material into a mold to create pieces. After being combined in a heated barrel, the material is delivered into a mold cavity. Low-cost tooling is available with this procedure, making it practical for manufacturing large or few quantities of parts. It is frequently used to create automobile bumpers, electrical equipment panels, medical device enclosures, and other items in the transportation and electrical & electronics industries.
Pultrusion is a low-cost, high-speed, automated, and adaptable procedure for creating cross-sectional shapes. It is used to create several intricate shapes. In this procedure, the resin is injected into reinforcement materials like fibers. The resin then goes through polymerization in a separate performing system that is dragged through a heated stationary dye. As the material goes through the dye, it cures the substance into its final shape, controls the resin content, and completes the impregnation of the fiber. It can be used for bridges, railings, fences, and door and window frames—anything that needs a solid foundation.
Compression Molding Process
Compression molding is a technique used to produce several complex composite parts in huge quantities. The products produced through this procedure might potentially survive for decades with little upkeep, and they require little investment. It features good part homogeneity and quick molding cycles. For high-volume operations, it creates a more uniform collection of products, which is crucial. Additionally, the production process for compression molding offers smooth finished surface regions and design flexibility.
For goods made of glass fiber reinforced composites and carbon fiber reinforced composites in end-use industries like transportation, building & infrastructure, and aerospace & military, this approach is generally applicable. For instance, the compression molding process is utilized in the transportation end-use industry for automotive elements such as door systems, load-bearing chassis, pillars, and structural interiors.
Resin Transfer Molding Process
RTM is a vacuum-assisted resin transfer method that compresses the surface using a flexible solid counter tool. Increased laminate compression, a high glass-to-resin ratio, and exceptional strength-to-weight properties are the results of this method. Large-surface-area, intricately shaped, and smoothly finished parts are primarily molded using this technique. This procedure is used to create structures for usage in the aerospace, building, and automotive industries.
Due to rising applications in the construction and automotive industries in developing nations, the RTM process has strong development prospects over the next five years. The ability to produce big, complicated three-dimensional components with excellent mechanical performance, precise dimensional tolerance, and high surface quality makes it the most promising technology in use.
Depending on the end-use industry applications and the necessary standards, composites can use a variety of fibers (glass, carbon, natural) and polymer matrices (thermoset and thermoplastic). Aerospace & defense, transportation, wind energy, maritime, pipe & tank, construction & infrastructure, and electrical & electronics are a few of the end-use industries that use composites. The end-user demand for composites is robust, and this is driving the market's rapid expansion.
Carbon fiber composites are widely used in the aerospace and defense industry for aircraft structures, radomes, flooring, seats, and cabins. Additionally, the aerospace and military sector accounted for a sizeable portion of the composites market in terms of value in 2020. Composites are divided into carbon, glass, natural, and other fiber categories based on the kind of fiber used, with glass fiber composites dominating the market in 2020. The primary cause of its oligopolistic structure is the fact that the market for the other fibers is much less than the markets for the other two.
Due to the strong demand from numerous end-use industries around the world, the composites market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 7.5% between 2021 and 2026 in terms of value. By 2026, the market for composites, which was worth USD 76.2 billion in 2020, is expected to be worth USD 126.3 billion.
The wind energy, pipe and tank, transportation, aerospace & defense, and electrical & electronics industries all saw significant demand for composites in 2020, making APAC the largest market globally. Due to growing wind energy installations, particularly in China and India, the demand for composites from the wind energy segment in APAC is anticipated to continue robust during the forecast period.
The composites market comprises several global market players. This section includes a study of the growth strategies adopted by market players. The major strategies include new product developments, joint ventures, expansions, and acquisitions. The preferred strategies adopted by major players in the global composite market were new product developments, collaborations, partnerships, and mergers & acquisitions which accounted for a substantial share of all strategies adopted by companies during the period.
The competitive leadership mapping section gives information on the composite vendors that offer the finest composite solutions, describes the results and analysis, and ranks them based on composite vendors' performance across each assessment criterion. The evaluation criteria are based on 2 broad categories, namely, Product Maturity and Company Maturity on which composite companies are rated. Each category encompasses various parameters based on which composite companies are evaluated.
Parameters considered under Product Maturity include features and functionality, and functionality subtype.
Parameters considered under Company Maturity include geographic footprint, viability, and partner ecosystem.
Visionary leaders are the composite vendors leading in the market with their product launches, trending technologies, and implementation of growth strategies. The product features and functionalities offered by these composite vendors are trending in the market and cater globally. Composite vendors listed under Visionary leaders mainly focus on acquiring the top market position through strong financial abilities and their well-established brand equity.
Top Composite Companies - Visionary Leaders
Hexcel is a top manufacturer of carbon fiber reinforcements and resin systems, a pioneer in the development of sophisticated composites technology, and in the production of honeycomb for the commercial aircraft sector. Hexcel comprises solutions like carbon fiber, fabrics/ reinforcements, prepregs & resins, adhesives, honeycomb core, tooling, parts & structures, and RF Interference control. the products offered by Hexcel are HexTow Continuous Carbon Fiber, HexPly Prepregs, HexWeb Engineered Core, Composite Structures, etc.
Johns Manville is a manufacturer of high-quality insulation, commercial roofing, glass fibers, and nonwovens for commercial, industrial, and residential applications. It provides solutions for building products, aerospace, automotive and transportation, filtration, commercial interiors, waterproofing, and wind energy. Some of the products from Johns Manville are MultiStar, StarRov, Neomera thermoplastic composite sheets, etc.
Mitsubishi has wide range of products like chemicals, performance chemicals, composites, carbon/ carbon fibers & carbon composites, inorganic products, fibers & textiles, environment & living solutions, healthcare and analysis. Some of the solutions offered by Mitsubishi are Thermoplastic Carbon Fiber Prepreg - Kyron ULTRA, Carbon Fiber Paper (GDL), Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) molded products, C/C (carbon fiber reinforced carbon) composites, C/SiC, ceramic matrix composite (CMC), Plastic Film-Laminated Steel Sheets - HISHIMETAL, Duct Plastic Film Laminated Steel - AIRLINER, Polyolefin-based plastic film-laminated steel sheets - HISHIMETAL PO, Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) - ALPOLIC, etc.
Owens Corning manufactures and sells insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composites. The company provides solutions for commercial and residential buildings, composites, roofing, and insulation. The products by Owens are Chopped Stranded Mat, Continuous Filament Mat, Multi-end Roving, Single-end Roving, Nonwovens, Fabrics, Dry-Use Chopped Strand, Wet-Use Chopped Strand, Thermoplastics, Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (Dowel Bars) and Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (Rebars/Bars).
SGL Carbon's specialty in graphite, carbon fibers, and composite materials and goods has greater demand from automotive, semiconductor technology, LED, solar and wind energy, and lithium-ion battery makers. Also, it offers solutions such as Graphite Solutions (GS), Composite Solutions (CS) for high-tech applications needing high strength and lightweight at the same time, and Process Technology (PT) which builds large-scale plants for industrial applications. Some of the products by SGL are SIGRACOMP Carbon Friction Materials, SIGRAPREG Pre-Impregnated Materials, SIGRASIC Carbon Fiber Reinforced Silicon Carbide, SIGRATEX Textile Materials, Thermoplastic Composite Materials, etc.
Solvay specializes in polymers, critical chemicals, and chemical materials for industries, including agrochemical, food, consumer goods, building & construction, healthcare, industrial applications, and electrical & electronics. Some of the products by Solvay are aerospace composites, automotive composites, and oil and gas composites.
Teijin Aramid provides solutions for numerous industries, including the automotive (tires, hoses, belts), aerospace, civil engineering, construction, recreational goods (such boats), protective clothing (bullet-, fire-, and cut-resistant clothing), optical fiber cables, friction, and sealing materials. Some of the products from Teijin are Twaron, Technora, Teijinconex, Endumax, etc.
Toray specializes in industrial products based on advances in organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and biochemistry. It provides solutions for IT-related products, carbon fiber composite materials, pharmaceuticals, and medical products, environment & engineering, including water treatment. The products offered by Toray are TORAYCA carbon fibers and prepreg systems - 2511, 3900, G-83CM, G-94, etc.
Dynamic Differentiators are having strong business strategies and are established in the market. However, these players lack in product portfolio as compared with the visionary leaders. Composite vendors listed under Dynamic Differentiators focus on a particular type of technology related to the product.
Top Composite Vendors - Dynamic Differentiators
Gurit is a leading supplier of composite materials, engineering services, tooling equipment, and select parts and systems. Gurit provides solutions like core materials, prepregs, pultruded structural profiles, formulated products such as adhesives, laminates, resins, and infusion systems and structural composite engineering services, tooling equipment, and core kitting services. Some of the products from Gurit are SPRINT materials, Corecell M, SPABOND 445, AMPREG 36, powerRibs, etc.
Huntsman provides solutions for consumer and industrial end markets including those for Cold Chain, Aerospace & Defense, Automation, Robotics & Engineering, Automotive & Transportation, Building & Construction, Electronics, Energy, Sports & Leisure, and Coatings. Some of the products by Huntsman are I-BOND, I-RELEASE, and I-RUBINATE.
Nippon Electric Glass
Nippon Electric Glass has solutions for applications such as display, automotive, ICT, medical care, lighting, energy, infrastructure, and home appliances. The product portfolio consists of various businesses such as display, electronic products, glass fiber, consumer glass, and thin film coatings. Some of the products from Nippon are E-glass Fibers, High Modulus Glass Fiber, and ARG Fiber.
Saint-Gobain provides high performances solutions for sustainable construction, health, sustainable mobility, and sustainable industry. Its product portfolio comprises ceramics, abrasives, performance polymers, fiberglass, formulation, automotive glass application design, and materials. Some of the products from Saint-Gobain are SHEERGARD M15-OS, SHEERGARD M26, etc.
Trex is the leading maker of wood-alternative decking products. The solutions offered by Trex comprise decking, railing, furniture, drainage, lighting, kitchen, fencing, spiral stairs, etc. Some of the products from Trex are Trex Transcend, Trex Select, Trex Enhance, etc.
Innovators are the composite vendors offering substantial product innovations as compared to their competitors. These composite vendors offer trending product portfolios, but they lack growth strategies for their overall business.
Top Composite Companies- Innovators
CHOMARAT has three business divisions such as Composite Reinforcements, Construction Reinforcements, and Coatings & Films-Textiles. The portfolio for composite reinforcements comprises adhesive solutions, ballistic fabrics, braids, carbon UD, core materials, flow media materials, needled multi-layers, non-crimp fabric, stitched multi-layers, tapes, thermos-reactive scrims, and woven fabrics. Some of the products by CHOMARAT are ARAMAT, C-WEAVE, DIAGONAP, ROVICORE, VOLUMAT, etc.
DowAska meets the needs of industrial markets for carbon fiber and carbon fiber intermediates by offering fully integrated solutions that include the product (from precursor to carbon fiber to resin), engineering, technology, and knowledge. With a product portfolio that includes a wide range of solutions, DowAksa offers technology for the transportation, energy, defense, and infrastructure areas by bringing the advantages of carbon fiber to the industrial industry. Some of the products from DowAska are CarbonFiber, Non-crimp Fabric, and Woven Fabric.
Henkel is a global leader in various areas and product categories for its Laundry & Home Care and Beauty Care businesses. Henkel is active in the business-to-business sectors of adhesive technologies and beauty care. Henkel Adhesive Technologies is the market leader for adhesives. Some of the products by Henkel are LOCTITE EA 9696 AERO, LOCTITE EA 9394 AERO, LOCTITE EA 9895 WPP AERO, etc.
SAERTEX produces multiaxial fabrics and core materials used in the creation of composite materials. The applications of SAERTEX products are in the areas of wind, aerospace, automotive, sports, and shipbuilding industries. The company provides solutions for industries like shipbuilding, railways, oil & gas, and construction. Some of the SAERTEX products are SAERfix, Non-Crimp Fabrics, SAERTEX LEO COATED FABRIC, etc.
Taishan Fiberglass Inc. is one of the top fiberglass manufacturers. The product line has uses in the marine, electrical and electronic, wind, oil and chemical, building and construction, sports and recreation, infrastructure, and automotive industries. E-Glass, TCR (ECR) Glass, Alkali Resistant Glass Cem-FIL, HMG Glass, and S-1 HMTM series are among its products. Roving, Chopped Strand Mat, Yarn, Electronic Fabrics, Chopped Strands, Multiaxial Fabrics, Knitted Fabrics, Woven Roving, etc. are some of the top goods
Emerging composite companies in the quadrant are the composite vendors that offer niche product and service offerings. The growth strategies of these composite vendors are not strong as compared of leading players in the market. Emerging composite companies cater to the new entrants in the market in terms of product offerings and global presence and may need some time to get the leading position in the market.
Top Composite Companies- Emerging
BGF Industries is a producer of cutting-edge technological fiber materials. High-strength fabrics, fabrics for high-temperature filtration, thermal and acoustic insulation, multi-layer circuit boards, and high-temperature fabrics, manufactured components for industrial and automotive exhaust systems, coated roofing materials, smoke curtains, tile facing for ceilings, and other commercial goods are the applications. The products offered by BGF are aerospace composites, decorative composites, and marine & recreational composites.
Formosa Plastics has five business divisions as Olefins, Polyolefins, Vinyl, Specialty Polyvinyl Chloride, and Chlor-Alkali. Formosa Plastics provides a complete spectrum of polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene and polypropylene resins, caustic soda, and other petrochemicals that meet customers' expectations for consistency, performance, and quality. Some of the composite products offered by Formosa are PC/ABS Alloy and PP Composite Materials.
Green Dot Bioplastics
Green Dot Bioplastics is a manufacturer of packaging and single-use disposable applications like sheet & thermoforming, injection molded products, and blown & cast film and biobased sustainable compostable solutions. Green Dot also manufactures wood plastic composites, starch biocomposites, biodegradable composites, and compostable elastomers. Products of Green Dot are Terratek SC Starch Composites, Terratek WC Wood-Plastic Composite, and Terratek NFRP Natural Fiber Reinforced Plastic Composites.
Drivers for the Composites Market
Accelerating Demand from Various End-User Applications
The aerospace industry uses composites more and more because they reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency. Aerospace composite materials can also maintain a higher strength-to-weight ratio, which facilitates the development of more effective structural and aerodynamic designs. Governments in wealthy nations place a strong emphasis on replacing outdated aircraft with modern, high-performance aircraft. To achieve fuel efficiency and performance in line with the standards set by regulatory agencies, manufacturers are investigating composites. To meet governmental rules and improve fuel efficiency, automakers place a substantial emphasis on developing lightweight automobiles to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
To build a car body, composites are the best lightweight material to replace traditional heavy materials like steel and aluminum. Chassis, door panels, monocoque, interior and door panels, and other automotive body pieces are frequently made of composite materials. In comparison to other conventional materials like steel and aluminum, the composites offer a weight reduction of 25-70% when utilized to fabricate car bodies. The car body is made lighter and gets better mileage thanks to the usage of composites. Composites increase a car's strength-to-weight ratio, making it more rigid against collisions and offering the occupants a high level of safety.
Wind blades that are lightweight are necessary for turbines with high energy production capacities since bulkier blades' weight restrictions reduce production. Manufacturers are concentrating on adopting lightweight materials in wind turbine design as a result. Thus, composites are viewed as highly durable and lightweight materials in the wind energy industry. Carbon fiber composites are used in the long blades to lessen weight. In contrast to other materials like metals, composites offer a special strength-to-weight ratio.
Carbon fibers have a high degree of stiffness, which lowers turbine loads, improves turbine performance, and has a high degree of heat tolerance. These fibers have a greater melting point and are incredibly light. Composites are thriving in the construction sector because of the rising need for high-strength, corrosion-resistant building materials for residential and civil applications. Due to its lower maintenance requirements compared to timber decking and railing goods, composite decking and railing products are mostly used in residential and commercial construction. Compared to conventional materials, they offer improved resistance to slippery and damp surfaces, scratches, fades, splinters, and rots.
Tax Incentives driving Demand for Composites
Another element that can contribute to the expansion of the composites sector is tax incentives. The US Production Tax Credit (PTC) has been prolonged for another year. Developers of wind turbines were under intense pressure to complete their projects by 2020 to receive full PTC. The majority of governments have promised, among other tax incentives, that people and enterprises can pay taxes at different rates by 25%.
For instance, the US government revealed plans to spend USD 250 billion on individual tax breaks. Additionally, India has declared that businesses with less than 100 employees may opt out of the government's EPF and tax filing requirements. Renewable energy groups in the United States and other nations have called for financial assistance and the extension of tax breaks. For most of the affected industries, many governments are also exploring tax incentives. This will most likely benefit the wind energy composites business.
Stimulus Packages by Government boosting Composite Market
The first country to experience COVID-19, China, has launched a USD 180 billion fiscal stimulus program for a variety of purposes, including the production of medical equipment, the payment of insurance benefits, and tax relief. To boost micro and small businesses, the government has announced USD 430 billion infusions of cash into the banking system. Another action done to boost commercial activity in the nation is a reduction in repo rates.
To combat the pandemic, the US announced USD 2.3 trillion in stimulus initiatives. Out of the USD 2.3 trillion, the government has set aside USD 510 billion for loans and guarantees to prevent corporate insolvency. Among other fiscal and monetary measures, it has also committed USD 350 billion to promote micro and small businesses. By the first week of April 2020, the UK, Germany, and Italy, respectively, announced fiscal stimulus packages totaling USD 48 billion, USD 170 billion, and USD 27 billion. Many of the COVID-19-affected nations have made similar fiscal announcements. These financial stimulus plans are anticipated to be crucial in boosting the composites industry as well as other sectors.
Restraints affecting the Composites Market
Large Producing and Operational Costs
In the fields of aerospace, transportation, and other markets including construction and electronics, composites have seen significant growth. However, their application is constrained by expensive manufacturing and material prices. To lower the cost of composite products, it is therefore vital to employ methods to precisely quantify costs in the early design stages. Composites production is a capital-intensive process that demands significant expenditure. Due to the lengthy curing process needed to create composites, molding composites takes a long time. In addition, basic ingredients like thermoplastic resins and carbon fibers are expensive. The automobile industry's market growth is mostly constrained by the significant investment required for composites manufacture.
Lack of Standardization in Production Technologies
The use of composites in a variety of applications, including sporting goods, marine, and consumer goods, is nevertheless constrained by manufacturing and non-recurring development expenses. The main problems of concern are design consistency, process standardization, and maintenance technology. Lack of material and methodology standardization forces manufacturers to choose conservative design strategies, which hinders the mass manufacturing and economic viability of cars and aeroplanes. The lack of standards forces producers to select conventional goods rather than composites for a variety of uses. Broader applications of composites are also constrained by the lack of human resources with composites-related training and experience.
Opportunities for the Composite Market
Rising Demand for Eco-friendly Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles have been taken into consideration by automakers as a viable alternative to fuel-powered vehicles for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To comply with the weight restrictions of electric vehicles, composite materials are thought to be the greatest alternative to conventional materials like steel and aluminum. Carbon fibers are used in the construction of electric car bodies by businesses including 2050 Motors (US), Detroit Electric (US), Qiantu Motors (China), and others. The bodywork has less weight, is faster, and has better fuel efficiency because of the usage of carbon fiber.
In nations like South Korea and Japan, whose national governments have granted subsidies for these vehicles and contributed money for creating the required infrastructure, electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular. The manufacturers of fuel cell cars, including Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda, have already begun work on plans to create both electric and hydrogen-powered automobiles. The market for composites in Indian electric vehicles is projected to be further boosted by the expanding laws in nations like India toward environmentally friendly vehicles.
Advanced Use of Natural Composites
Government rules requiring the use of environmentally friendly products, consumer preferences, consumer awareness of environmental protection, the possibility of price reduction with economies of scale, characteristics like a lightweight compared to glass fiber-reinforced plastics, and recyclability are all contributing to an increase in the demand for natural fiber composite products. Developed nations like Germany, the US, and Japan place a strong emphasis on expanding the usage of environmentally friendly products in place of those made of petroleum. Natural fiber composites are likely to be used more frequently in automotive, building and construction, electrical & electronics, and other industries because of these laws.
Rising OEM Conscience about Stringent Regulatory Bodies
To reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles, governments all over the world have set tough regulations for OEMs. The OEMs may be subject to fine payments if they fail to comply with these standards. Because of this, OEMs are putting a lot of effort into developing lightweight automobiles with improved battery economy. The best alternative to traditional heavyweight materials like steel and aluminum to produce light, fuel-efficient, and robust impact-resistant cars has been deemed by manufacturers to be composite materials.
Composites – By Applications
Composites are employed in a variety of end-use sectors, including sporting goods, pipes, and tanks, electrical and electronics, automotive and transportation, pipes and tanks, and marine. This need is explained by several composites' characteristics, including their molded surface polish, low weight, strong mechanical strength, and insulation from heat and electricity. Since composite materials are lightweight and have high tensile strength, their application in aircraft has risen. Composites have a high load capacity and great impact and bump resistance.
Due to their dimensional stability, high strength, decreased weight, impact resistance, low flammability, low maintenance requirements, and design flexibility, they are also perfect for the construction industry. Composites are useful for a variety of end-use sectors due to their mechanical strength and thermal stability. Industrial, healthcare, and athletic products are some of the other end-use industries for composites, where they have a wide range of uses. Composite materials outperform rival materials like aluminum and steel in the consumer products market in terms of performance, weight, and aesthetics.
Aerospace & Defence
Composites are widely used in the aerospace and defense industries. With 50% of the materials being composites, commercial aircraft like the Boeing 787 and Airbus 350 significantly rely on carbon fiber composites for their airframe construction. Composites assist reduce aircraft weight by 20%, which increases fuel efficiency. Composites are affordable, consolidating for parts, dimensionally stable, and resistant to corrosion and fatigue damage. Larger passenger windows and lower cabin altitudes are made possible by sophisticated carbon fiber composite architecture, which also provides greater fatigue capability than typical jetliners. Carbon fiber is a material that has gained attention in the aerospace and defense sector due to increased environmental concerns and the need for lightweight, high-strength materials that can improve fuel efficiency.
The development of large-scale wind turbines frequently makes use of fiber-reinforced composites. About 70–75 percent of the weight of the fiber reinforcement used in the wind blades is infused with epoxy or unsaturated polymer resins. Additionally, fiberglass has high tensile strength, allowing producers to create blades with larger blades and greater energy production. Due to its corrosion resistance qualities, fiberglass has enabled wind turbines to operate in the harshest settings, fostering the growth of the wind energy industry. Carbon fibers are being used by manufacturers because they give blades more rigidity, reduced density, and lighter weight. For producing wind blades and other components for wind turbines, several businesses are investing in composites.
Automotive & Transportation
Most composite materials have a strength-to-weight ratio that is higher than that of steel and aluminum. Composites are important to the transportation sector because of their excellent weight-to-strength ratio. Reduced weight, improved efficiency, and better utilization of lighter and more fuel-efficient materials are the main goals of the automobile and rail industries. FRP composites are used in body panels and floor panels for contemporary light rail and passenger rail. As a result of their ability to reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency, carbon fiber composites are being more widely used in automotive technology.
Carbon fiber-reinforced composites are used in several automotive components, including the fenders, wheel housing vents, sport design external mirror outer shells, air intakes on the rear quarter panels, and some of the rear. Certain vehicle components, including inner doors, engine cradles, and seatbacks, can be made more affordably with carbon fiber composites than with standard metals. The price of the fiber material, which is mostly determined by the price of the precursor, is what determines the cost of manufacturing a product. Equipment, tooling, and labor are examples of non-material costs that contribute only somewhat.
Construction & Infrastructure
Because of its high stiffness, high tensile strength, low weight, and excellent chemical resistance, glass fiber composites are used in a few structural engineering end-use sectors to strengthen structures constructed of concrete, steel, timber, masonry, and cast iron. To improve shear strength and flexure in reinforced concrete structures, composites are often utilized in retrofitting to raise the load capacity of aging structures like bridges. Composites offer great load capacity with low material weight in the fields of architecture, infrastructure, and construction, removing the need for expensive heavy equipment and speeding up installation. Additionally, they are utilized in ducting and ventilation, subsurface end-use industries, and roof and wall cladding.
Pipes & Tanks
Composites are being used more and more in pipelines, tanks, pressure vessels, and cylinders because of how lightweight they are. To make the tank 15-20% lighter than steel cylinders, composite materials must be used. Composite tanks are used in CNG-powered vehicles to help reduce overall vehicle weight and increase fuel efficiency. Pressure tanks, where rigidity and weight considerations are crucial, utilize composite materials. The significant demand for FRP pipes in the oil and gas, wastewater sewage, pulp and paper, power plants, desalination, chemical, and marine and offshore industries is a result of their superior mechanical qualities, such as anti-corrosion, low conductivity, and longer lifecycles.
Due to their special qualities, glass fiber composites are frequently employed in the marine industry. The key advantages of employing glass fiber composites in boat building are its great strength and durability, ability to be molded to nearly any boat shape or size, low maintenance requirements, and resistance to corrosion and waterlogging. Due to the lighter weight of composite materials, roll stability is not compromised while adding extra equipment above the waterline. New yachts and catamarans have hulls, keels, decks, transverse frames, and rigging made of advanced composites like carbon, epoxy, and polyurethane foams.
Electrical & Electronics
The design requirements for structural (electrical) and electronic composites are different because of the huge differences in their characteristics. High strength and high modulus are prioritized in structural composites. Depending on the end-use industry, electronic composites prioritize high thermal conductivity, low thermal expansion, low dielectric constant, and other properties. High electrical conductivity fillers, like silver particles, are pricey and used in electronic composites. Substrates (a chip carrier), printed circuit boards, computer terminal housings, electrical contacts, connectors, and encapsulation are examples of composite electronics end uses. Voltage detectors, earthing, and insulation poles are just a few examples of non-live and live-functioning electric tool products that use GFRP tubes.
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Saint-Gobain creates, produces, and sells products and services for the industrial and construction industries. These solutions are used in numerous industrial applications as well as in buildings, transportation, infrastructure, and other aspects of our daily lives and living spaces. They address the issues of resource preservation, rapid urbanization, and decarbonization of the construction and industrial sectors while delivering comfort, performance, and sustainability. Through a continual innovation process, it develops integrated solutions that offer sustainability and performance for the renovation of public and private buildings, light construction, and the decarbonization of the building and manufacturing industries.