Several types of thermoplastics are used in a variety of engineering applications since the past two decades. The thermoplastic or thermo-softening plastics are special property materials, which soften on heating and becomes hard when cooled down or at room temperature. These thermoplastic materials are mainly polymer resins reinforced with fibers of organic or inorganic composites. The fibers reinforced are generally granules or short fibers and long fibers.
The long fiber thermoplastics have been used for semi-structural purposes in various applications and are now experiencing rapid shift toward main structural applications. The long fiber thermoplastics offers a great combination of mechanical and thermal properties along with low cost of manufacturing. The long fiber thermoplastic finds wide array of applications. Reinforcement of long fibers to composites offers increased strength, which transforms into the ability to resist deformation or creep under loads and fatigue endurance with minimal compression. The long fiber induces several properties such as high strength, better toughness and durability, reduction in weight, dimension stability, heat resistance, and corrosion resistance resulting in increased product life.
The long fiber thermoplastics are composed of polymer matrix composites reinforced with discontinuous fibers above critical fiber length. The long fiber thermoplastics are mainly produced through injection molding or pultrusion process. The polymer granules along with reinforcing material are fed to a hopper machine, which then follows the process of heating, impregnation, pulling, skewing, and palletizing of long fiber products.
The long fiber thermoplastics market is mainly driven by adoption in automotive industry. Owing to decent mechanical properties and low density, long fiber thermoplastics have witnessed rapid growth. They are mainly used in bumpers, front and rear modules, instrument panels, door modules, and under body shielding applications. The other major application of the long fiber thermoplastics is in aerospace industry. As the aerospace industry specifically require high strength materials that are lighter in weight, the long fiber thermoplastics are highly preferred for interiors and some of the exterior parts of the airplane. Also, long fiber thermoplastics are adopted in various other applications in electronic industry, building construction, sports equipment, and others.
Blooming automotive manufacturing industry and related aftermarket is expected to fuel the growth of the global long fiber thermoplastics market. Also, rising environmental concerns compelling automotive manufacturers to reduce the weight in order to attain high fuel efficiency is estimated to be one of the major drivers for the global long fiber thermoplastics market. Moreover, numerous ongoing researches and innovation in the related field of thermoplastics is expected to be a prime factor behind the increasing adoption of long fiber thermoplastics in global market.
However, several players in the market are investing a significant capital toward the research and development of other types of plastics/polymers, which are advantageous than fiber thermoplastics. This move can hinder the growth of global long fiber thermoplastics market to a great extent.
The long fiber thermoplastics market is segmented into various categories on the basis of resin type, fiber type, and application. On the basis of resin type, the global long fiber thermoplastics market is segmented as Polypropylene (PP), Polybutylene (PB), Polyamide (PA), and Terephthalate. While on the basis of reinforced fiber, the global long fiber thermoplastics market is segmented as Glass Fiber, Carbon Fiber, and Others. On the basis of application, the market is segmented as Automotive, Aerospace, Electrical/Electronics, Constructions, Consumer Goods, Sporting Goods, and Others.
Among resin type, the polypropylene thermoplastics are expected to dominate the global long fiber thermoplastics market. While glass fiber reinforced thermoplastics are expected to be a major segment among fiber type. Among applications, the automotive industry is expected to be a significantly attractive segment in global long fiber reinforced thermoplastics market.
Growing automotive industry and large presence of automobile manufacturers in Europe are expected to be the prime factors for high market attractiveness for long fiber thermoplastics in the region. Also, the automotive and aerospace market in North America is expected to drive the growth in the region. Asia Pacific is estimated to grow at a high rate due to significant development in automotive, manufacturing, and construction industries.
The long fiber thermoplastics market consists of various large players, who offer a wide variety of polymer products in the global market. Examples of some of the market participants in global long fiber thermoplastic market are Celanese Corporation, Coperion GmbH, Mitsui Chemicals, Inc., PlastiComp, Inc., Dieffenbacher GmbH, SGL Group, Solvay S.A., SABIC, and Lanxess AG, among others.
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