Aerospace plastic materials fall under the category of advanced composite materials often known for its efficient modulus of elasticity, heat/flame resistance, and other high-strength physical properties. These plastics are viable alternatives used in military, rotary, freighter planes, and general aviation planes as compared to other conventional materials including steel and aluminium and the inadequate benefits they offer for aviation performance. Some of the renowned key products of the aerospace plastics market include GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic), CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic), and ARP (Aramid Reinforced Plastic). These product types and its different features have enabled the use of aerospace plastics in military, commercial, rotary and other aircraft applications, and have also enhanced an easy adoption in aircraft design as another characteristic in the aviation industry. Aerospace plastics offer excellent strength to weight ratio, stability in the growth of the aviation industry, and rise in the adoption of aerospace plastics in airplane designs.
Demand for lighter and more efficient aircraft will ensure that there are considerable opportunities in aerospace for composite parts manufacturers over the next ten years. The world market for aerospace composites market will reach US$10.3 bln in 2014, as per ASD Reports. But further improvements will need to be made in the production process of high-value advanced composite materials for the market to grow to its full potential. The author comments, "The outlook for aerospace composites is positive given the service entry of next generation aircraft with substantial percentages of composite materials. As fuel costs spiral, the demand for lightweight composites is being driven primarily by this increasing emphasis upon fuel efficiency. Also, it's clear to see that cost performance, in particular low-cost composites, will be demanded by the aerospace industry in order to achieve sustainable development of the industry". High order backlog and an increasing production rate for various aircraft as well as high penetration are the main drivers for significant composite materials demand in the aerospace industry. The author expects a major rebound in the market, especially in APAC region which is observing high demand for aircraft. Composite materials market is anticipated to grow to 139 mln lbs, valued at US$5.9 bln in 2033.
As per TechNavio, the global aerospace composites market will grow at a CAGR of 11.85% over the period 2013-2018. One of the major growth drivers in the market is the increased adoption of composites in aircraft design. The use of composites in the Aerospace industry has been increasing because of the various benefits it offers to aircraft manufacturers. The primary benefits that composites offer are reduced weight and greater assembly simplification as compared to the traditional materials for aircraft construction such as steel, aluminium, and titanium. In countries such as India, Japan, and China the growth of the aerospace industry is expected to increase in the next few years. Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. is manufacturing its new regional jet, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, which the company is expected to launch by 2017. Similarly, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. is developing its two new commercial aircraft, the C919 and ARJ21, to launch by the end of 2015. Since composites are widely used in a number of applications during the aircraft manufacturing process, the growth of the Global Aerospace Composites market is inevitable. Further, the report states that one of the major challenges is the lack of product differentiation. Most vendors in the market find it difficult to differentiate their products from vendors providing similar composite products.
Over the past several decades the use of composite materials in the aerospace industry has undergone a remarkable transformation. Given the previously nascent level of technology, application of fibre reinforced composites was confined to non-critical parts only. The rapid advances in materials science and deeper understanding of their potential in aerospace applications have led to increased use of carbon fibre- and glass fibre-reinforced composites by a number of original equipment manufacturers. In the context of spiralling fuel costs, the demand for lightweight composites is being augmented by a relentless emphasis on fuel efficiency. Industry analysts reaffirm that the outlook for the global market for aerospace composites remains positive. The demand is expected to be significant, given that cost performance, especially low-cost composites, will be critical for the aerospace industry in order to achieve a sustainable financial position. It is expected that there will be considerable opportunities in the aerospace markets for composite parts, composite materials, and composite airframe structures. Much of this demand in the near to medium term is expected to be driven by the Asia Pacific region. According to research by Boeing, the Asia Pacific region is set to take delivery of nearly 13,000 new airplanes in the next 20 years. According to their projections this represents nearly as many aircraft as Europe and North America combined, as per CandMResearch.
The global aerospace industry has a strong long-term demand for products and services, driven by robust passenger and cargo demand. Lucintel predicts continued growth across all the sectors of civil aircraft. In terms of aircraft units, the majority of deliveries will be in the business jet and single-aisle mainline markets; however, in value terms, twin-aisle aircraft designed for use on longer-range routes dominate the market. The fastest growing segments will be the 200- to 350-seat twin-aisle sector, large regional jets, and very light business jets. The Boeing 787 uses composites for approximately 50% of its total structural weight. Both the Airbus A380 and the 787 contain more than 100,000 pounds of composites per aircraft. Composites consumption in the commercial aerospace industry will be driven by three programs: Boeing 787, A350 XWB, and A380. Although North America dominates the global aerospace market, APAC has a huge and growing demand for aircraft. China and India, the two large and emerging economies of this region, are growing rapidly. Decreasing defence budget in North America and Europe will be partially offset by increased defence spending in emerging markets. China manufactures its defence aircraft indigenously. Various aircraft are developed under license and various programs are copies of other countries' defence aircraft. Defence aircraft represent the major portion of India's defence procurement budget.