Glass fiber is one of the most common reinforcing elements used in commercial and industrial composites. Properties such as high strength, flexibility, durability, stability, lightweight, and resistance to heat, temperature, and moisture make glass fiber an essential raw material for GFRP composites that are used in variety of applications. Glass fiber accounts for about 90% of the reinforcements used in composite consumption, globally. Most of the GFRP composites are used in transportation and infrastructure & construction sectors. The demand for renewable energy, in the form of wind turbines, demand for lightweight fuel efficient aircrafts & cars, and the demand for GFRP pipe, tank, and other corrosion-resistant equipment are major drivers increasing the demand in the coming years.
The global GFRP composites market is dominated by Asia-Pacific and North America accounting for 67% of the overall market in 2013. Within North America, the U.S. will remain the largest consumer of GFRP Composites. Country wise, China is the topmost consumer of GFRP composites product globally and is also the largest supplier, projected to grow at a higher CAGR than the global average by 2019. China and India have enormous potential and are the fastest-growing markets for GFRP composites in the Asia-Pacific region as well as globally. The U.S. and European countries are leading in research and development of high performance glass fiber products to be used in transportation, aerospace & defense, and wind energy sectors. The construction sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will continue to be supported by government spending in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi. This will drive the GFRP composites market in these regions.
The raw materials demand for GFRP composites products will also grow simultaneously, owing to the increased usage of composites by the end-user segments. Thermoplastic resin in GFRP composites is replacing thermoset resin for glass fiber reinforcements. Thermoset resin accounts for more than 60% of the resins used in GFRP composites manufacture. Within thermoset resin, polyester and epoxy resins are finding greater acceptance on account of their superior properties and lower price.
The global glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites industry is a rapidly evolving market. The current scenario in the global GFRP composites market is dominated by number of key players that include Owens Corning (U.S.), Jushi Group (China), Taishan Fiberglass Inc. (China), Chongqing Polycomp International Corp. CPIC (China), Saint-Gobain Vetrotex (France), Nippon Sheet Glass (Japan), and so on. Most of these companies are leaders in the production of glass fiber along with other products.
The market players are concentrating on increasing their production capacities, with expectation of a surge in the GFRP composites demand from automotive, construction & infrastructure, aerospace & defense, and wind energy sectors, especially, from Asia-Pacific and South America and Middle East. The companies are focusing their investments to set up new facilities, mainly in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and increasing global presence through acquisition of the local regional players to address the growing demand in emerging markets.