The Europe aramid fiber market is expected to witness a CAGR of approximately 5.1%, during the forecasted period. The major factor driving the aramid fiber market is the rising need for fuel efficiency, as well as the increasing expenditure on defense by Germany and France.
Aramid fibers are essential for meeting the increasing demands from the transportation industry. In the automotive industry, it is used in brake pads, gaskets, rubber reinforcements (hoses, belts), tires, etc. There is demand for having durable system and body parts that offer better performance and are lightweight. Being lightweight is essential for achieving reduction in fuel expenditure. In a typical automobile, the use of fibers is 50% by volume while adding just 10% of the weight. A vehicle weight reduction of 100 kg saves up to 12.5 g of CO2 emissions every kilometer. In other words, every kilogram in car weight reduction can save 20 kg greenhouse gas emissions throughout the lifetime of a car. Furthermore, volatile and gradually increasing gas prices lead to a higher demand for lightweight cars with higher fuel efficiency.
Lightweight cars require less energy to fulfil certain performance requirements. Therefore, either the performance (acceleration and top speed) and/or the fuel economy can be enhanced. Various studies revealed that on average, a 5% to 8% better fuel efficiency can be achieved by reducing the vehicle weight by 10%. In 2007, the mandatory regulations framed by European Union stipulated maximum 120gm/km of carbon dioxide emission by car manufacturers, which later in 2016 changed to 118.1 g CO2/km. Therefore, such factors are expected to drive the aramid fiber market in Europe during the forecast period.
Aramid fiber is being used in numerous applications due to its beneficial mechanical properties, such as, high strength, impact resistivity, abrasion thermal degradation resistance, etc. Para-aramid and meta-aramid fiber is used in protective clothing. These are used widely in ballistic protective applications, such as, bulletproof vests, protective apparel, such as gloves, motorcycle protective clothing, and hunting gaiters, chaps, and pants.
Aramids are also used for both components and structural applications, in all aircraft & spacecraft, ranging from hot air balloons, gliders, etc., to fighter planes, passenger airliners, and space shuttles. Use of aramid has been increasing in the aerospace & defense sector because of various benefits, such as weight reduction - savings up to 20% to 50% in comparison to conventional or traditional materials, mechanical properties can be tailored by 'lay-up' design, with tapering thicknesses of reinforcing cloth and cloth orientation, high impact resistance, high damage tolerance. With ever increasing environmental lobbying and the cost of fuel, commercial flying is under constant pressure to improve performance and weight reduction is a key solution in the equation. Furthermore, aircraft maintenance cost can be reduced by eliminating corrosion. Therefore, such factors are expected to boost the demand for aramid fibers from the aerospace and defense sector, owing to which it is likely to dominate the market during the forecast period.
Germany is expected to witness the highest demand for aramid fibers during the forecast period. In 2017, the European Union decided to increase its defense budget, with EUR 1.5 billion in funding for defense, EUR 0.5 billion in funding for military research, and EUR 1 billion for development and acquisition. Hence, this is expected to increase the demand for aramid fiber. Although the total automotive production declined by 1.7% in 2017, the demand for lightweight and electronic vehicles is expected to increase in the coming years, in turn driving the demand for aramid fiber.
November 2017: Teijin Aramid announced the launch of Twaron ComForte SB3, one of the lightest ballistic protection products for body armor. Twaron ComForte SB3 is very effective against high energy semi jacketed projectiles like .357 MAG JSP and .44 MAG SJHP with very good trauma attenuation and comfort
Major Players: DowDuPont, Kolon Industries, Teijin Aramid, HUVIS Corporation and Yantai Tayho Advanced Materials Co. Ltd, among others.
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