Continuous Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics (CFTs) differs from short fiber reinforced thermoplastics such as LFRT and GMT in terms of fiber length. CFTs, growing over the past two decades, include a variety of products, including unidirectional prepregs, fabric based prepregs, narrow tapes, commingled fibers in roving and fabric forms, sheets, and rods. Historically, CFTs were used in niche applications in aerospace and defense market, growing in recent years in automotive, sporting, transportation, industrial and other applications. Demand has been driven by a variety of applications in aerospace, automotive and trucks. However, CFTs are even finding their way into furniture, fastener, medical, marine and other applications adding on to increase in use of thermoplastic composites by Airbus and Boeing and other commercial aircraft manufacturers.
CFT market is expected to reach an estimated US$216.7 mln by 2019, as per Lucintel. CFTs are used in a variety of markets such as aerospace, transportation, sporting goods, industrial goods, and ballistics which have been the market drivers in the recent years, helping to gain widespread acceptance in the marketplace across all regions. Aerospace segment is expected to depict highest growth due to increasing demand of composite materials from new aircraft programs. The growth of carbon fiber based CFT is expected to remain strong over the forecast period owing to the increasing demand from aerospace industry. TenCate, Cytec, Fiber Glass Industries, Polystrand, LANXESS and Celanese are among the major suppliers of CFT. Major resins used in CFTs are PP, PA, PEEK, PPS, PEI and PEKK. CFT suppliers are continuously adopting new strategies to gain market share in this industry. Innovation would further enhance the product performance and lower the overall cost for consumers which will drive the market. The biggest challenge in the industry is relatively higher cost of CFT materials compared to competing materials. Further, CFT requires sophisticated equipment to apply higher heat and pressure for processing. Inter-material competition also has a great threat; innovations in new technology, fiber or resin formulations have the potential to change the dynamics of the market.
Continuous Fiber Thermoplastics (CFT) materials are used in a spectrum of markets which have been the market drivers in the recent years, helping gain widespread acceptance in the marketplace across all regions. A paradigm shift is occurring in automotive and industrial companies, which are now embracing CFT as a potential replacement for traditional materials, especially in those applications where weight/performance and cost/performance is crucial. Among the main challenges of the market, reduction in gross margin and overall profitability may reduce R&D and further capital investment to increase CFT production that can pose as a big threat for further growth. Inter-material competition also possesses a great threat; innovations in new technology, fiber or resin formulation have the potential to change the dynamics of the market. The CFT materials can be formulated with glass, carbon of aramid fiber whereas polypropylene (PP), nylon, PPS, PEEK, PC, and PEI are the most commonly used resin systems, which increases the global demand.