Tow prepreg (also referred to as towpreg) is a form of prepreg made using continuous fibers such as carbon, glass, and others. It is generally used as a material for the filament winding process to produce composite structures. Moreover, these tow prepregs can be used in various industries, including automotive & transportation, aerospace & defense, oil & gas, industrial, and sports & recreational.
Tow prepreg offers numerous advantages over the wet winding process, making it highly useful for composite manufacturers. These are used in manufacturing pressure vessels, scuba tanks, oxygen cylinders, marine masts, leaf springs, and other components. Led by strong end-user demand, the tow prepreg industry is growing at a rapid pace. However, amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for Tow prepreg from the above-mentioned industries is expected to show a sharp decline in 2020 from 2019. The global tow prepreg market size is projected to grow from USD 250 million in 2021 to USD 440 million by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.0% during the forecast period.
Over the past few years, companies have strengthened their positions in the global tow prepreg market by adopting strategies, such as new product launch/ development, expansion, agreement, partnership, and acquisition. From 2016 to 2020, acquisition, collaboration, and expansion have been the key strategies adopted by the market players to maintain their growth in the global tow prepreg market. For instance, in August 2019, Teijin Limited completed the acquisition of all the shares of Renegade Materials Corporation (Renegade), a leading North American supplier of highly heat-resistant thermoset prepreg for the aerospace industry.
Similarly, in 2019, TCR Composites established tow prepreg production capabilities in the Republic of Korea. The tow prepreg business of these companies is severely affected due to the outbreak of COVID – 19 pandemic. The reduced demand for thse tow prepregs and disruption in the supply chain have compelled the tow prepreg manufacturing companies to operate at partial capacities, resulting in reduced demand for tow prepreg.
The major manufacturers profiled in this report include TCR Composites (US), SGL Carbon SE (Germany), ENEOS Holdings, Inc (Japan), Teijin Limited (Japan), Mitsubishi Chemical Carbon Fiber and Composites, Inc (US), Hexcel Corporation (US), Porcher Industries (France), Red Composites (England), Vitech Composites (France), Arisawa Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Japan), Toray Industries, Inc (Japan), and 3M (US). These companies adopted various organic and inorganic growth strategies. For instance, in 2018, Hexcel officially opened a new plant in France to meet the growing demand for advanced composites. Hexcel Roussillon is the companys first integrated plant for carbon fiber and PAN precursors.
ENEOS Holdings, Inc., formerly JXTG Holdings Inc, is a Japanese company mainly with three business segments—energy, oil and natural gas exploration and production, and metal. The energy segment is engaged in refining and selling petroleum, providing lubricants, basic chemicals, functional chemicals, gas, coals, electricity, new energy, other products, and the investment business.
The oil and natural gas development segment explore, develops, and produces oil and natural gas. The metal segment is engaged in the manufacture and sale of nonferrous metal products and processed electrical products, the development and mining of nonferrous metal resources, and the nonferrous metals recycling and industrial waste treatment business. The company is also engaged in asphalt pavement, civil engineering, construction, land transportation, real estate leasing, and financing.
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Teijin Limited combines three business domains of materials, healthcare, and IT. Its main fields of operation are high-performance fibers such as aramid, carbon fibers & composites, films, resins & plastics processing, polyester fibers, products converting, healthcare, and IT. The company has production facilities in Japan, Germany, and the US.
Mishima is Teijin Limiteds Japanese production site with several carbon fiber lines with an annual capacity of 6,400 tons and Tenax prepreg. Its precursor is also produced at this site, used at all Teijin carbon fiber production sites worldwide. The company has 172 subsidiaries in more than 20 countries worldwide.
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Hexcel Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets lightweight, structural materials, including carbon fibers, specialty reinforcements, prepregs, and other fiber-reinforced matrix materials, honeycomb, adhesives, engineered honeycomb, and structures. These materials are used for aerospace & defense, and industrial markets. It operates in composite materials and engineered products under three business units: commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial.
The composite materials segment comprises carbon fiber, specialty reinforcements, resins, prepregs, fiber-reinforced matrix materials, and honeycomb core product lines. Its products are used in a range of end applications, such as commercial and military aircraft, space launch vehicles and satellites, wind turbine blades, automotive, and recreational products.