Global consumption of Long Fiber Thermoplastics is projected to exceed 326,000 tons by 2018, driven by burgeoning automotive applications as per Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Driven by advantages such as creep resistance, low warpage, and impact strength, Long Fiber Thermoplastics (LFTs) are finding increased use as metal substitutes in a number of structural and semi-structural applications. Demand for LFT worldwide grows in tandem with the developments in the automotive industry, as about 78% of LFT materials go into manufacturing structural parts of automobiles. The trend towards sleek, small, lightweight vehicles is playing an instrumental role in increasing opportunities for LFT across the automotive sector because the stiffness offered by the composite material is ideal for structural parts of shorter lengths. End-of-Life legislations, particularly in Europe, which make recycling of materials compulsory, is also driving growth in the market. Long Glass Fiber Reinforced Polypropylene (LGFRP) is growing in popularity among auto makers, owing to the latter’s mono-material construction that enables recyclability. The lightweight, recyclability, and low cost advantage enjoyed by LFTs will continue to offer long term growth opportunities. LFT consumption in non-automotive applications is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% over the analysis period. Europe represents the largest market worldwide. Asia-Pacific is forecast to emerge as the fastest growing market led by strong growth in China and India. Polypropylene is the dominant resin type for long fiber thermoplastics. In terms of end-use, the automotive sector continues to be the largest LFT consuming industry. LFTs are used for manufacturing door modules, front-end modules, instrument panels, and underbody shields, among others. Non-automotive applications for LFT include industrial, and general goods, among others.
Lucintel has forecast strong growth in Long Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics, with the market anticipated to reach US$1088 mln in 2017. The use of long fiber reinforced thermoplastics (LFT) materials, which initially was driven by consumption growth in Europe, is becoming more prevalent in all regions of the world. Although LFT is more expensive than competitive materials, its use is growing in applications where weight savings, fuel savings, and other high-performance benefits are critical. The LFT market is expected to witness a solid CAGR of 7.9% over the next five years. The research indicates that weight reduction and fuel economy are the major growth drivers for using LFT in automotive applications in addition to the material’s performance characteristics. LFT materials are likely to see double-digit growth rates with growing opportunities in the transportation and other non-automotive industries. Direct Long Fiber Thermoplastic (D-LFT) materials are expected to continue dominating in the underbody panel application in the European automotive market. D-LFT materials also are anticipated to capture the automotive underbody system market in North America. Automotive is the most rapidly growing market segment for LFT material and will still be a predominant market segment for LFT materials over the next five years. Growth is expected in modular applications, such as front end modules, door modules, and underbody systems. Industrial goods are the second-largest market for LFT material and are expected to experience robust growth while remaining a lucrative sector over the forecast period. Asia, which offers particularly large growth potential, is expected to surpass North America in consumption by 2020. In Europe and North America, both pellet and inline processing techniques are extensively used. In Asia, D-LFT processing is currently the technology of choice.