The global glass fiber market & specialty synthetic fibers market is projected to reach about US$14240.53 mln by 2020, with the large share accounted by North America and Europe together, as per Markets & Markets. The global glass fiber & specialty synthetic fiber market by value is projected to witness a CAGR of about 6.46% between 2015 and 2020. The high growth is estimated to be in the North America and Europe due to rising advancements in the end-industries such as protective clothing, reinforcement materials and ballistic protection in the region. Europe is projected to account for the second-highest growth during the same period. The increase in demand for lightweight and fuel efficient materials or advanced composite materials, rising need for safety and security, and growing demand from the transportation industry is projected to increase the need for specialty synthetic fibers gradually. Protective equipment, safety applications, ballistic protection, and automotive industry have the largest application of specialty synthetic fibers and glass fibers. The commercial, marine, medical, sporting goods, wind energy, pressure vessel, and reinforcement materials industries are the other significant applications for glass fiber and specialty synthetic fiber market. Aramids, UHME polyethylene and POA are the major types of specialty synthetic fibers.
Glass fiber is made from extremely fine fibers of glass. It is a lightweight, extremely strong, and robust material. Although strength properties are somewhat lower than carbon fiber and it is less stiff, the material is typically far less brittle, and the raw materials are much less expensive. Its bulk strength and weight properties are also very favorable when compared to metals, and it can be easily formed using molding processes. Carbon fibers are very thin strands of carbon; however, are super strong material that is extremely lightweight. Aramids are synthetic fibers made from polymer aromatic polyamide are mainly of two types, para aramid and meta aramid. North America is the major region in terms of production and consumption of aramids. The market for aramids is projected to register a significant growth in emerging economies of Asia-Pacific mainly due to growing industrialization and infrastructure development. Europe is one of the major regions in terms of consumption of aramids. After effect of the economic slowdown in 2008 on most of the industries in this region and the on-going recovery, the demand for advanced materials is projected to rise. The demand for aramid in the European region is mainly driven by the western European countries such as Germany, the U.K. and France. Stringent safety regulations within various industries such as oil & gas, construction are fuelling the demand for protective clothing which is driving the demand for aramids in the region. Friction materials required for high-end automotive and other industrial sectors are also contributing to the growing aramid market in the region.
North America is the major region in terms of production and consumption of aramids. Globally, this market is the leader with respect to demand as well as product innovation in terms of quality and application development. Major countries in North America are the U.S. (the most dominant market, accounting for a significant market share) and Canada. The North American aramid market is largely driven by the personal protection segment where the demand for advanced solutions which combine comfort and maneuverability with high protection is high. Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing market for UHMW PE globally. Growing economies are enhancing their budgets for defense and military spending giving rise to body and vehicle armor market in the region. The U.S. and European countries are projected to be the hub of UHMW Polyethylene consumption in the world and are projected to be the major consumers of specialty synthetic fibers by 2019. The major countries in the region, which are projected to drive the UHMW Polyethylene market, are Japan, China, India, and South Korea. The key company producing UHMW polyethylene in the region is Toyobo Co. Ltd (Japan).
The glass fiber & specialty synthetic fiber market is anticipated to register a high growth rate in the coming years. The market is innovation driven and investments are expected for new specialty synthetic fiber properties and completely new products. There are large numbers of different sized players in the market; however, it is dominated by few big companies.
Currently, the specialty synthetic fiber market is mainly concentrated in the North American and European regions while RoW, especially Latin America is expected to witness a high growth rate in future years. AGY Holding Corp. (U.S.), 3B Fiberglass (Belgium), Cytec Industries Inc. (U.S.) is the important active players in the glass fiber and specialty synthetic fiber market. These companies registered the highest strategy adoptions amongst other players in the global glass fiber market and specialty synthetic fibers market between 2012 and 2015.
As per ASD Reports, the specialty synthetic fibers and glass fiber market had a consumption of 4,652,100.2 mt in 2012, with the highest share held by glass fiber. The global market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% from 2013 to 2018. The highest revenue is forecasted to be for glass fiber, owing to the low pricing as compared to other specialty synthetic fibers, growing application markets, availability of raw material sand huge production scale especially in China. Carbon Fiber is expected to have the highest growth of 10.2% from 2013 to 2018. The para aramids and meta aramids are expected to share together 18.6% of the revenue by 2018, growing at the rates of 6.9% and 4.9%, respectively between 2013 and 2018.
DuPont (U.S.), Teijin Limited (Japan), Toho Tenax (Japan), Toray Industries Inc. (Japan), Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd (Japan), Royal DSM (The Netherlands), Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.), Owens Corning (U.S.), and Jushi Group (China) are the major active players in the specialty synthetic fibers and glass fiber market. These companies showed the highest strategy adoptions amongst other players in the global specialty synthetic fibers and glass fiber market.
From 2010 to 2013, new product launch/development was observed as the major growth strategy adopted by the specialty synthetic fibers and glass fiber companies, accounting for a share of 28% overall. In November 2013, DSM Dyneema unveiled new Dyneema Force Multiplier Technology products that offer improved performance up to 25% higher ballistic protection while decreasing weight by up to 20%. Similarly in September, 2013 Teijin Aramid developed Twaron T765, new fabric for anti-ballistic spall liner to safeguard military vehicles such as tanks, trucks, and armored personnel carriers and passengers in DESI show, London, U.K. The industry players are looking for acquisitions to increase the reach, and also enhance their penetration in the market. In May 2013, Owens Corning signed a deal with Japan based Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K and Tanaka Kikinzoku International K. K. to buy Tanaka Kikinzoku (Suzhou) Co., Ltd (TKS), producer of glass fiber bushings and other parts. This transaction enhanced the company's product offering in the fast growing glass fiber market of China. Major companies offering specialty synthetic fibers and glass fiber are actively involved in launching new products in the market by investing in R&D. Irrespective of the company's size, all the market participants are actively investing in developing new products and delivering them to the market. The manufacturing companies are leveraging distribution networks of major companies by entering in to strategic supply and distribution agreements. In this way, companies are able to explore new markets and penetrate into the existing markets with highly efficient products.
As per Grand View Research, the global glass fibers and specialty synthetic fibers market is anticipated to witness significant growth on account of increasing demand of light weight and high strength composite materials. High strength to weight ratio of glass and specialty synthetic fibers is expected to fuel the market demand over the forecast period. Consumer friendly qualities of the material such as stain resistance, water proofing and stretching are also expected to drive the glass fibers and specialty fibers market over the forecast period. Excellent mechanical properties, durability and thermal stability than the conventional materials are expected to augment glass fibers and specialty synthetic fibres demand over the forecast period. Various industries such as transportation, marine, aerospace and automotive are also expected drive glass fibers and specialty synthetic fibers demand over the forecast period. Growing need of optical fiber cables and expansion of electronic industry is anticipated to shoot up demand of glass and specialty synthetic fibers. Numerous innovative applications of glass fibers and synthetic fibers such as adding metallic properties in cloth, usage in battery separators and in the process of filtration are also expected to augment the glass fibers and specialty fibers demand over next seven years. Increasing usage of these materials for ballistic equipments manufacturing is expected to augment the market demand as well.
High production cost on account of high raw material expenditures is expected to hinder the market growth over the forecast period. Highly energy intensive production processes are also expected to restrain the market growth over the forecast period. Low market penetration is also anticipated to hamper the glass fibers and specialty synthetic fibers market growth. Properties such as less resistance to heat, not skin friendly, highly combustible can expected to hinder the market growth. Non-biodegradable nature of these fibers is also expected to pose a challenge in front of market. Requirement of huge investment in R&D, raw material and production units is also expected to restrain the market growth over the forecast period.
Specialty fibers are segmented into meta aramids, para aramids and carbon fiber. Glass fiber accounts for maximum share in the global glass fiber and specialty fibers market. Carbon Fiber is expected to witness highest growth rate over the forecast period on account of its high strength to weight ratio. Significant carbon fiber demand from automotive and aerospace industries is expected to drive the global glass fibers and specialty synthetic fibers market over the forecast period.
Europe accounts for maximum share in the global glass fibers and specialty fibers market on account of presence of large end-use industries in the region. Growing automotive and aviation and defense industries in the region are expected to fuel the glass fibers and specialty fibers market growth over the forecast period. Stringent governmental regulations regarding automotive pollution control is expected to augment glass fibers and specialty fibers demand from automotive industry in the region. North America market is anticipated to witness significant growth over the forecast period on account of growing automotive, defense and aviation markets. Growing wind energy and automotive markets in Asia Pacific region are expected to drive glass fibers and specialty fibers market in the region. Middle East & Africa and Central and South America hold very low market share and are also expected to witness lower market growth over the forecast period.
Key trend observed with the manufacturers include increased focus on R&D activities to develop new grade of glass and specialty fibers along with development of low cost precursors. Technological innovations are expected to develop cost effective manufacturing technologies. These trends are expected to create new opportunities for market participants in existing as well as new applications over the forecast period.
Key market players operating in the global glass fiber and specialty synthetic fibers include DuPont, Teijin Limited, Jushi Group, Honeywell International Inc, Royal DSM, Toray Industries Inc. Toho Tenax and Owens Corning.