Glass fiber reinforced (GFRP) Composites is the largest segment in the composites industry, worth several billions. Glass fiber is made from extremely fine fibers of glass, and 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. The glass fibers are most extensively used as a raw material for composite materials. Glass fiber accounts for about 90% of the reinforcements used in composite consumption, globally. Most of the GFRP Composites are used in construction and transportation sectors. The demand for renewable energy in the form of wind turbines, demand for light-weight fuel efficient aircrafts & cars, and the demand for GFRP pipe, tank and other corrosion resistant equipment are major drivers increasing its demand in the coming years.
As per Electronics CA. Publications, the global market for Reinforced Plastics is forecast to reach 7.9 mln tons by the year 2017, bolstered by renewed demand from major end-use sectors and robust demand from European and Asia Pacific markets. Further, rapidly evolving renewable energy markets such as wind energy are emerging as the most promising growth areas for Reinforced Plastics. Reinforced plastics are proving to be an indispensable aspect of modern day life. With applications ranging from simple household appliances to complex industrial, aerospace and defense applications, reinforced plastics are the material of choice for various applications, owing to their superior performance characteristics and design technologies, over their traditional metal counterparts. Housing a wide range of metal suppliers (e.g. fiber and resin manufacturers, compound suppliers), fabricators, major OEMs and end-users, the global reinforced plastics industry embodies an extremely scattered and dispersed nature. The field of reinforced plastics is constantly being researched to generate innovative products in sports, recreation, and medical care sectors. Renewable energy markets such as wind energy are emerging as the most promising markets for reinforced plastics. Within the reinforced plastics market, glass, carbon and natural reinforcing fibers constantly compete with each other. Due to the high performance attributes, carbon fiber plastics (CFRP) are substituting glass reinforced plastic (GRP), despite carbon fibers being priced higher than glass fibers. At the same time natural fibers plastics such as wood plastic composites (WPC) are expanding into newer applications such as automobile interiors and consumer goods. WPCs enjoy a significant presence in the North American market, while the European WPC market is still in the initial stage of development. The glass-fiber reinforced plastics (GFRP) market is expected to gain the pre-recession production level in the near future. Although the CFRP market remained sluggish in the post-recession phase, the market is expected to gather pace in the near term and witness substantial expansion, with the European market constituting a major chunk of the global demand. CFRP production fell dramatically during the recession period 2008-09 due to the decline in the aviation industry that besieged major players including Boeing and Airbus. The sports and recreation end-use segment is forecast to exhibit steady growth in the near term, driven by demand from China. Demand from the industrial sector has outgrown that in the other major segments, and is forecast to continue to expand rapidly in the near term as the scope of application grows. Carbon composite companies are expected to register short-term growth due to an increase in demand from the applications related to wind turbines, aerospace and CNG tanks especially in advanced economies such as Germany. Rising consciousness about depleting fossil fuel resources and mounting environmental concerns are driving the demand for wind turbines, which in turn is significantly fueling reinforced plastics demand. The ongoing European renewable energy initiatives are expected to favor the wind turbines market, which signals a bright future for composites/reinforced plastics market. Strongest gains in the wind energy market are anticipated in Germany, Spain, Italy and Denmark. North America seems to be on an environment conservation drive, with the regulatory bodies insisting upon alternate energy sources such as wind power, mainly to combat hazardous emissions from conventional fossil fuels such as oil and coal. The composite industry has a reason to rejoice with market opportunities pouring in due to a burgeoning wind turbine market. Efforts are on cards to equip the wind turbines with innovative components featuring composite materials, which are mainly aimed at enhancing performance and efficiency. Europe dominates the global market in terms of sheer market size, as stated by the new market research report on Reinforced Plastics. France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the UK account for the maximum share of GFRP production volume in the region. The production volumes of GFRPs in Europe rose substantially in the recent term, resurging from the recessionary lows, as reflected in the increased uptake of feedstock including resins and glass fibers. In the Asian reinforced plastics market, China holds a pivotal place, and is powered by rapidly increasing demand from major sectors such as construction, automobiles, electrical, and electronics. The Asia-Pacific market is forecast to outpace other global markets at a steady growth rate of over 4% through 2017. Worldwide, reinforced plastics are gaining increasing patronage from the turbo-charged construction industry which constitutes a major chunk of the overall market. Designed to render long-lasting, load-bearing structural performance, reinforced plastics are proving to be the ideal choice in complex structures such as bridges, bridge components and structural framing systems. The transportation sector is one of the largest end-use markets for reinforced plastics. A potential alternative to steel in the manufacture of body panels and structural components, reinforced plastic is the material of choice for cars, truck cabs, buses and tractor-trailers among others. Within the industry, the growing market for electric powered vehicles is expected to drive the demand for CFRP components. Key players profiled in the report include AZDEL Inc., CPI Binani Inc., Continental Structural Plastics, Core Molding Technologies, CTL Aerospace Inc., Dow Corning Corporation, Fiber Concepts Inc., Fiberset Incorporated, Fibre Reinforced Plastics Ltd, Glasforms Inc., The Composites Group, Hadlock Plastic Corporation, Premix Incorporated, Haysite Reinforced Plastics, Hexcel Corporation, McClarin Plastics Inc., OCV Reinforcement, PolyMedex Discovery Group, and Washington Penn Plastic Co., Inc.
The global Glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 7.4% from 2014 to 2019 to reach a value of US$45.12 bln, as per MarketsandMarkets. The GFRP composites market by raw material type is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.1% during the review period. Due to increasing infrastructure & construction projects in the Asia-Pacific, especially in India and China, the emerging regions are expected to register maximum growth. Asia-Pacific and North America dominates the global GFRP Composites market, accounting for 67% of the overall market in 2013. The U.S. and European countries are leading in research and development of high performance glass fiber products for transportation, aerospace & defense, and wind energy sectors. Member countries of EU; Germany, France, Italy, U.K., and Spain are the key markets in the European GFRP composites market and constitute majority of the market size. Country wise, China is the largest consumer of GFRP Composites products, globally, and is also the largest supplier estimated to grow at a CAGR more than the global average till 2019. China and India have enormous potential and are the fastest growing markets for GFRP composites in the Asia-Pacific as well as globally. The transportation and construction & infrastructure segment occupy topmost positions in the GFRP Composites market with 53% share by volume in 2013; maximum growth is expected from wind energy and aerospace & defense segments in the near future. The light weight, strength, and corrosion resistant properties of glass fiber drive its growth in transportation, construction & infrastructure, electrical & electronics, consumer goods, marine, aerospace & defense, and wind energy segments. The factors responsible for the growing demand of glass fiber industry are the recovery of the global economy and improving prospects in various end-use markets. All these factors, along with the growing glass fiber industry, will continue to drive the demand for GFRP Composites. However, the industry will have to overcome challenges, such as the availability of raw materials, increasing prices of energy, and changing regulations, in order to meet the increasing demand from the growing GFRP Composites industry.