11 May, 2020 By Johny 2 Comments

The Composite material industry status report and future outlook for year 2020–Fiberglass

    Against the backdrop of unresolved trade disputes between China and the United States, the composites industry in the United States remains active and continues to grow, especially driven by the wind energy, aerospace and construction industries. Overall, the U.S. composite final product market is worth 26.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 and is expected to grow at an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% over the next five years, reaching 33.4 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. Glass fiber-based composite materials dominate the market, followed by carbon fiber-based composite materials. In the United States, glass fiber is the main reinforcement material, which increased by 1.7% in 2019, and its quantity reached 2.6 billion pounds and the value reached 2.2 billion US dollars. By 2025, US demand for glass fiber is expected to reach 3 billion pounds, with a compound annual growth rate of 2.4%. Owens Corning, Jushi, Nippon Electric Glass, CPIC and Johns Manville are the top suppliers of glass fiber in the United States. The glass fiber industry is quite integrated. According to the output value, the top three companies account for more than 50% of the total output.

     In the United States, the major consumers of fiberglass are the transportation industry (including the automotive industry), the construction industry, and the pipeline and storage tank sectors. Together they account for 69% of the total usage. Future trends indicate that these key areas will provide huge growth potential for the US composites industry. The increase in residential and commercial buildings, continued growth in oil and gas activities and water / waste water infrastructure, and the increasing demand for light vehicles will drive the development of this market.

     The transportation market, including buses, coaches, commercial vehicles and automobiles, is expected to become one of the largest markets in the United States in the next five to ten years. Key car manufacturers are investing in composite materials technology to reduce weight and achieve carbon reduction targets set by legislation.

      In the construction industry, common applications of GFRP include paneling, bathrooms and showers, doors and windows. In terms of value shipments, demand for construction fiberglass in 2019 increased by 1.5%. The growth stems from continued employment growth, low mortgage interest rates and a slowdown in housing price inflation.

     Continued relaxation of loan standards and increased funding from state and local construction measures are other major drivers of the US construction market.

      Due to the occurrence of climate change and natural disasters (such as earthquakes and hurricanes), the major challenges facing US infrastructure require intensive research work and increased use of advanced technologies and materials. Composite materials are increasingly used to repair and refurbish structures built with other materials. Due to the interference of Hurricane Barry in the Gulf of Mexico and the slow increase in oil demand, oil and natural gas activity declined, so the pipeline and tank market remained flat in 2019. FRP pipes and storage tanks are not only used in oil and gas applications, but also have great opportunities in chemical, industrial, water / waste water and sewage treatment applications. According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 40% of water pipelines are in a state of short service life and need to be corrected (maintenance of old pipelines and installation of new pipelines), which in turn will drive demand for FRP pipelines.

     In terms of supply and demand, the global glass fiber production capacity is 12.8 billion pounds in 2019 and is currently operating at a 91% utilization rate. Lucintel predicts that as glass fiber manufacturers increase their production capacity, the capacity utilization rate of glass fiber plants will drop slightly to about 90% by 2020.

     In order to meet the growing demand for glass fiber in various applications, the company is trying to grow directly and indirectly. In 2019, Jushi USA’s alkali-free fiber production line was put into operation, with an annual production capacity of 96,000 tons and a total investment of US $ 350 million, while Nippon Electric Glass acquired the remaining glass fiber business of PPG USA in 2017-18 for US $ 550 million .

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