Continuous Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics (CFTs) have a history of about 25 years and it differs from short fiber reinforced thermoplastics such as LFRT and GMT in terms of fiber length. CFTs 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. But in recent years, the market has exploded in automotive, sporting, transportation, industrial and other applications. Demand has been driven by a variety of aerospace, automotive and truck applications. 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. The Continuous Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics (CFT) market has experienced significant growth during last 5 years and is expected to reach US$188.7 mln in 2014 with a global growth rate of 12% for the next five years. The critical success factor for CFTs material producers will increasingly be not only about developing new products at low cost; in addition, Lucintel believes the most successful companies will be those that can develop application-specific, customer-focused solutions and have the ability to help their customers achieve long-term business objectives, such as increasing performance or lowering costs. The CFTs materials are at the growth stage on life cycle curve. Cost efficiency; time-to-market; and pricing are major factors in gaining customer confidence and increase market share. The biggest hurdles at manufacturers end are immature manufacturing base as compared to thermoset composites, high capital cost and weak material knowledge at end user level due to lack of material data base. That shows a high potentials and eager for innovation in CFTs market. To gain competitive advantage in this segment materials suppliers have to focus on growth opportunities through: new / improved applications; competence in process development and a customer oriented and innovation driven growth strategy.
The continuous fiber thermoplastic (CFT) market is expected to reach US$191.8 mln by 2017, with a CAGR of 8.6% over the next five years. Continuous Fiber Thermoplastics (CFT) materials are used in a spectrum of markets such as transportation, sporting goods, industrial goods, aerospace and ballistic, which have been the market drivers in the recent years, helping gain widespread acceptance in the marketplace across all regions, as per Research and Markets. 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. The main drivers for the automotive applications are cost reduction, weight reduction, and recyclability. These are environment friendly and increase the recovery of vehicles and their components.