Thermoplastic composites have several advantages unlike thermoset composites such as very fast part forming cycle time, high impact strength, strong FST properties, low moisture absorption, and so on. Global thermoplastic composites end product market is expected to reach at US$9.9 bln in 2020 at a CAGR of 6.5% over the period of 2015 to 2020, as per Markets and Markets. Thermoplastic composites market can be classified as continuous and discontinuous composite. The widely used thermoplastic composites are LFT, SFT, and GMT. Enhancement in product performance by innovation and lower overall cost for consumers is expected to further drive the market. The biggest challenge in the industry is relatively higher cost of materials compared to competing materials. Further market development is expected to depend upon material availability at reasonable prices. Thermoplastic composites have gained rapid acceptance as a viable alternative to die castings, metal assemblies, and traditional plastic materials in the markets, including industrial equipment, automotive, consumer goods, and so on. High impact strength, better surface quality, less product rejection, high rigidity at elevated and sub-zero temperature, creep resistance under severe environments and constant load have made thermoplastic market more lucrative than the thermoset and metals. A price-to-performance advantage has made thermoplastic composite more attractive in aerospace & defense, transportation, electrical & electronics industries.
Due to rapid industrialization and economic upturn in countries like India, Brazil, China, the demand for thermoplastic composites is increasing due to high demand from transportation, consumer goods, and electrical & electronics industry. The application of thermoplastic composites are growing at a significant rate in transportation, electrical & electronics, consumer goods and aerospace & defense industries in emerging nations due to rapid urbanization and growth in middle and upper middle class population. Asia-Pacific is expected to register the highest growth rate in the next five years due to the growing economies of China, India, and other countries which would result in increased demand for thermoplastic composites. Increase in demand from automobiles, aerospace and electric & electronics are the major drivers responsible for the growth of composites market throughout the globe. China is expected to drive Asia-Pacific’s thermoplastic composites market in the coming five years. China’s thermoplastic composites market has witnessed growth due to robustly growing manufacturing sector in the country. India offers huge scope and opportunities for the growth of thermoplastic composites due to rapid growth in middle class population and industrialization in the country. In 2014, the transportation applications dominated the overall thermoplastic composites market size.
The demand for thermoplastic composites from transportation and aerospace & defense industry is expected to increase in next five years, due to the increasing penetration of thermoplastic composites into commercial aircraft, such as the Gulfstream Aerospace G650, Airbus A320 commercial jet, and the Airbus A350 XWB. As fuel costs increase, the demand for lightweight composites is being driven primarily by an increasing emphasis upon fuel efficiency but cost performance, will be demanded by the aerospace industry to achieve sustainable development. The primary benefits that thermoplastic composites offer are reduced weight and greater assembly simplification as compared to the traditional materials for aircraft construction such as steel, aluminum, and titanium. As automakers in the U.S. work to meet Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards of 36.6 mpg by 2017 and 54.5 mpg by 2025, vehicle weight reduction has become a major strategy. The use of thermoplastic composites in automobiles can help the manufacturers to achieve the target with improved mileage. An increase in the use of thermoplastic composite materials in racing and high-performance vehicle components, such as chassis, hoods, wheels and roofs, is one of the driving factors for the increase in thermoplastic composites penetration in the transportation industry. Very fast part forming cycle time and high impact strength are boosting the penetration of thermoplastic in these applications.