The global prepreg market was valued at USD 5 billion in 2015 and is anticipated to observe growth at a CAGR of nearly 10% over the forecast period. The demand for prepreg in aerospace and automobile industries has been growing significantly in recent years, and is attributed to product properties such as strength, lightness, and the ability to be molded into complex shapes.
The rising application scope in the wind energy sector is anticipated to boost the product demand during the forecast period. In addition, increasing regulations, particularly in the U.S, France, and the UK regarding carbon emissions and fuel efficiency are expected to augment the demand for use of prepreg in the wind energy and automotive sectors.
The growing application of the lightweight material in the sports equipment is expected to be a key driver for the growth of the market during the forecast period. However, the competition from cheaper alternatives such as aluminum is anticipated to restrain the industry growth. The prepreg products are expected to identify new opportunities in the field of marine and electronics, owing to its enhanced properties, in the next eight years. This can be attributed to the superior properties of the product, including high machinability, durability, and shorter curing time.
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In comparison with other application segments, the aerospace & defense segment accounted for the largest share of the industry revenues, at 35% share. The product is widely used in military jets, helicopters, and civil aircrafts for various interior components, such as cabin linings, seats, fins, and floor panels owing to its lightweight nature.
The product demand was recorded at over 60 kilo tons in the wind energy sector in 2015. This segment is anticipated to continue growing during the forecast period, mainly owing to the increasing focus of governments towards development of wind farms for the rapidly-growing energy needs.
Fiber type insights:
The carbon fibre segment dominated the market with a value of over USD 3 billion in 2015. Carbon fibre prepreg is widely used on account of its good fatigue performance, low temperature cure, and temperature resistance. In addition, carbon fibre gives high quality surface finish and low porosity.
The thermosetting resins have a broad range of applications in aerospace, automotive, electrical & electronics, industrial, oil & gas, and wind energy sectors. The growth of the automotive sector in the Asia Pacific region, combined with the increasing disposable incomes, is anticipated to augment the growth of product demand in the region during the forecast period.
The growth of thermoplastic resins can also be attributed to its superior properties such as dampness resistance, fire resistance, and chemical resistance. The rising demand for polymer composites is due to its ability to fashion complex shapes, especially in the automotive industry for interior trim components.
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Manufacturing process insights:
The hot-melt manufacturing accounted for nearly 70% of the prepreg market in 2015. This technique can be implemented to manufacture both unidirectional and fabric products, and hence is popular among manufacturers. In addition, the process is cost-effective, which is expected to fuel the growth of this segment during the forecast period.
The North America region, particularly the U.S., dominated the overall market in 2015. This dominance can be credited to the growth of the aerospace and wind energy generation segments in the region, with the product expected to witness a growth of over 8% in the wind energy segment during the forecast period.
The Middle East & Africa and emerging markets of Central & South America are expected to observe significant growth in the industry, primarily owing to rapid industrialization in these regions. The Asia-pacific region accounted for a large share of the overall industry, owing to the fast growth in wind farm establishments for the development of sustainable energy in recent years. China is expected to be the key driving market for the product during the forecast period.
The prepreg industry is highly competitive, with the presence of a large number of manufacturers across the globe. The Hexcel Corporation and Gurit are key players in prepreg market, followed by Toray Industries, Inc., SGL Group, Toho Tenax Co., Ltd., Royal Tencate N.V., Axiom Materials, Inc., Park Electrochemical Corp, Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd., and Rock West Composites.
Most players in this industry have adopted strategies such as new product developments and capacity expansions in order to acquire competitive edges over their competitors. On January 2016, Hexcel Corporation announced the introduction of its CFRP technology in the BMW 7-Series; BMW purchased HexPly M77 resin system from Hexcel Corporation.
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