Glass mat thermoplastic consists of glass fiber and thermoplastic that are blended together to produce intermediary compound. These are further reinforced using long fibers with glass mat technology. The glass mat thermoplastic material has numerous advantages such as elasticity, impact resistance, resistance to corrosion, durability, and can prove as an alternative to metals such as aluminum and steel, which are comparatively heavier. Glass mat thermoplastic is witnessing increased acceptance owing to increase in use of lightweight materials in automotive, electrical and electronics, and aerospace industries, among others. Automotive industry is one of the major contributors to increase in demand of lightweight and durable materials.
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Glass mat thermoplastics provide high innovation potential with respect to material properties, production, processing and ecological demands. Complex parts can be produced in automotive and aerospace industries from glass mat thermoplastic by integrating functional elements, which results in reduction of assembly costs. Metals such aluminum and iron when replaced with glass mat thermoplastic reduce the overall weight of the structure. Due to its lightweight property and durability, the use of glass mat thermoplastic has increased significantly in the electrical and electronics industry.
The automotive industry is one of the largest end users of glass mat thermoplastics. In automotive industry, glass mat thermoplastic is widely used as underbody shields, front ends and seat structures. In addition to this, government guidelines for technical rules include DIN standard in countries such as Germany, recyclability, and ease of processing are some of the driving factors that boost the growth of glass mat thermoplastic market. The use of glass mat thermoplastic has increased rapidly in the consumer goods industry mainly due to its ease of recycling. Glass mat thermoplastics can be easily molded into complex geometries, without compromising on structural integrity. This property is especially beneficial in the aerospace Industry, which has emerged as a major end-use industry for glass mat thermoplastics in recent years.
Glass Mat Thermoplastic Market Outlook – Increasing Demand for Lightweight Materials to be the Major Market Driver
Asia Pacific and North America are the largest markets for glass mat thermoplastics, Asia Pacific poised to be the fastest growing market over the forecast period. This is mainly attributed to the anticipated growth of various end-use industries such as automotive and electronics, especially in emerging economies such as China and India. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF)—a trust established by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India—the automotive industry in India is expected to be valued at US$ 300 billion by 2026. In addition to this, rapidly increasing focus on lightweight thermoplastic composites in the automobile sector is expected to augment demand for glass mat thermoplastics. On the other hand, Europe also provides lucrative opportunities for glass mat thermoplastic manufacturers due to increasing demand for lightweight material in the thriving aerospace, automobile, electrical, and electronic industries in the region.
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High price is expected to be one of the restraining factors for the growth of glass mat thermoplastic market over the forecast period. This is mainly attributed by the complex process involved in production of glass mat thermoplastics. However, constant research and development to find an alternative manufacturing process for reduction in manufacturing cost is a key strategy adopted by major players. Some of the major companies operating in the global glass mat thermoplastic market include Cytec Solvay Group, BASF SE, Royal DSM, Quadrant Plastic Composites, and Hanwha Advanced Materials.