The unexpected shifts in the global markets because of the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 virus have brought many major and minor tremors to industries of all sizes including the Prepreg Laminates Market.
It was estimated prior to this unanticipated outbreak that the Prepreg Laminates Market to reach US$ 130-million mark in 2025. However, the gradual slowing down of industries will undoubtedly impose limits on the previously estimated growth rate.
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Prepreg laminates are thin sheets produced using fibers impregnated with either thermoset or thermoplastic resins. These sheets are alternatives to conventional metal sheets as well as other composites sheets, such as continuous laminates, sandwich-constructed panels, pultruded panels, and other composite sheets. Prepreg laminate accounts for a diminutive share of the total composite panels & sheets market and finds applications in various industries including aerospace & defense, building & construction, transportation, and others.
Prepreg laminate is a niche market and is registering an increased usage in high-performance applications. The prepreg laminates market holds a minuscule share of the entire composite panels & sheets market but could not escape themselves from the pandemic. The pandemic impeded the growth trajectory of both thermosets as well as thermoplastic prepreg laminates in all the major end-use industries.
The short-term scenario seems challenging for the market participants due to fading demand and production halts. Stratview Research’s forecast model, based on the past industry trends (the Great Recession, SARS, Industrial Recession, etc.) and primary interview results with the major market participants and industry experts, indicates that the demand for prepreg laminates is likely to be plateaued in 2020 and then register sequential growth till 2025, ultimately driving the market to reach US$ 130-million mark in 2025.
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Based on the end-use industry type, the prepreg laminates market is segmented as aerospace & defense, building & construction, transportation, and others. The aerospace & defense industry is likely to maintain its leading position in the market during the forecast period. Increasing use of reinforced thermoplastic laminates (RTLs) in the next-generation aircraft, especially in assembly components, such as clips and cleats and brackets; an expected recovery in the production of the best-selling aircraft programs; market entries of new companies (COMAC and Irkut); and increasing commercial aircraft fleet size would act as the growth drivers of the segment’s market in the foreseen future.
Based on the resin type, the prepreg laminates market is segmented into thermoplastic prepreg laminates and thermoset prepreg laminates. Thermoplastic prepreg laminate is expected to maintain its lead in the market in years to come. Compared with thermoset prepreg composites, thermoplastics are less brittle and have a higher resistance to impact loading. Thermoplastic prepreg laminates are gaining market traction in c-class components, especially in assembly ones, in the latest aircraft programs including B787 and A350XWB. Despite witnessing a hefty decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the thermoplastic prepreg laminates market is expected to mark a healthy recovery from 2022 onwards.
Based on the fiber type, the market is segmented as glass fiber prepreg laminates and carbon fiber prepreg laminates. Both fiber types are anticipated to log huge declines in 2020; however, carbon fiber prepreg laminate is estimated to maintain its lead in the market in years to come. The fiber type is also anticipated to register speedier recovery than glass prepreg laminates post-pandemic. Carbon fiber prepreg is always considered the choice of material in the high-performance applications, owing to its superior strength and lighter in weight. In the aerospace & defense and transportation industries, which require high performance with weight optimization, carbon fiber prepregs are an excellent choice.
Despite being the worst-hit region by the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe is expected to maintain its dominant position in the market in the coming five years as well. The region’s market is estimated to heal up gradually with Airbus being the largest customer of prepreg laminates in the region. Germany, France, and the UK are the major markets in the region. The supply chain of the region’s market is extremely persuasive with the presence of several industry stakeholders in the region.
Asia-Pacific, a relatively small market, is likely to heal up with the fastest pace in the post-pandemic market scenario. The region's demand will be driven by a host of factors including an expected increase in the demand for commercial aircraft to support rising passenger traffic, the opening of assembly plants of Boeing and Airbus in China; upcoming indigenous commercial and regional aircraft (COMAC C919 and Mitsubishi SpaceJet); and increasing penetration of composites in the building & construction industry. China, Japan, and Australia are projected to be the growth engines of the region’s market.
Some of the major prepreg laminate manufacturers are Bond-Laminates GmbH, ISOVOLTA AG, Norplex Micarta, PolyOne Corporation, Solvay S.A., and Toray Advanced Composites. Most of the major players have been efficacious in achieving distinct positioning in the market. Also, the market noticed a good number of acquisitions over a period of time to either gain capabilities or strengthen their existing capabilities.