The global carbon fiber tape market is expected to grow at a significant rate with the increasing utilization in aircraft components owing to its superior properties such as’ high stiffness, abrasion, and strength. In addition, rising demand for the product in the manufacturing of aircraft structures including wing skins, wing spars, and access panels are likely to propel the market growth over the forecast period.
The product is manufactured using carbon fiber, which weighs approximately one-seventh of the steel for a given strength. Moreover, it exhibits superior characteristics including high tensile strength, high modulus to density ratio, and low linear thermal expansion. As a result, it is highly preferred in industrial applications.
On the basis of products, carbon fiber tape market can be segmented into dry and prepreg types. Prepreg type tapes are pre-impregnated with resins in order to enhance its mechanical and physical properties. However, these tapes are required to be stored at approximately minus 20-degree celsius in order to avoid from being cured at room temperature. As a result, dry products are preferred although they are expensive than its counterpart leading to the growth of the carbon fiber tape market.
The epoxy resin based tapes are likely to gain high market demand owing to its properties including high heat resistance, excellent electrical and mechanical properties. Moreover, it has improved adhesion and physical properties including high thickness which in turn is expected to propel growth over the projected period.
The advancement in raw material prices are occurring such as the development of high-yield and low-cost precursors for commercial manufacturing of carbon fiber tapes is expected to lower the product cost. Moreover, development in the high moldable fast cycle and uni-directionally prepregs are expected to further decrease the raw material cost thereby lowering the product price. These aforementioned factors are expected to fuel growth over the forecast period.
The major applications of carbon fiber tape market includes aerospace, automotive, civil engineering, sports goods, and vacuum bagging construction. At present, almost every aircraft is utilizing carbon reinforced materials including tapes in order to gain high strength and light weight which helps in operational activities. Rising investments in the aerospace and defense industry is expected to propel the industry growth.
The evolving production technologies in the manufacturing industry has the potential to mitigate the assembly and manufacturing cost, thus reducing overall product cost over the projected period. In addition, the production volumes are maintained with the technological innovations including automated composite laying processes, forming processes, high-pressure molding processes, rapid cure resin technology and fast cycle manufacturing techniques. These ensure the automaton of activities which are labor intensive and mitigates time.
North America is the major market owing to increasing demand from marine, pipe & tank, and aerospace industries. Increasing focus towards the usage of light-weight materials and low-interest rates on carbon fiber materials are expected to be a key driver for the growth in the region.
The aerospace industry is expected to be the largest end-use segment for the product in 2016 and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. The product demand in this application is expected to grow owing to rising need for stiff, strong, and lightweight materials. Numerous aircraft manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing have signed an agreement with airlines such as Spice jet and Ethiopian associated with the supply of aircraft. This is expected to fuel the aircraft manufacturing thereby propelling the demand for the product over the forecast period. As of now, major aircraft manufacturing companies are increasingly using these tapes. For an instance, Irkut Corporation has built it's aircraft wing box and wings completely based on these tapes owing to its exceptional strength, abrasion and stiffness properties.
The industry is competitive owing to the presence of several well-established market players with a strong foothold in the industry. The industry is characterized by the long-term contract of manufacturers with the application industries. The key players are Zoltek Corporation, Royal TenCate, SGL Group, Hexcel Corporation, Mitsubishi Rayon Carbon Fibers and Composites, Royal DSM, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, 3M and Teijin Limited.
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