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Aerospace Composites Market Overview
The global aerospace composites market is estimated to attain a size of $2,376.7 million in 2017 and is projected to reach $4,234.4 million by 2023, witnessing a CAGR of 10.1% during 2018–2023. The market is mainly driven by the expanding commercial aircraft fleet, rising demand for carbon fiber composites in aircraft manufacturing, and growing application of composites in military aviation.
GLOBAL AEROSPACE COMPOSITES MARKET, BY TYPE, METRIC TONS (2013–2023)
Composites are used in the making of various aircraft parts, including engine blades, interiors, brackets, and nacelles. Composite materials play a major role in reducing the weight of aircraft and improving their lift-to-weight ratio. They have excellent strength, good stiffness-to-density ratios, and superior physical properties, which make them ideal materials for the aerospace industry.
Based on type, the global aerospace composites market is categorized into carbon fiber, glass fiber, aramid fiber, and others (ceramic fiber and metal fiber). Of these, carbon fiber has been the largest category in the global market, with respective estimated volume and value contributions of more than 50.0% and 55.0% in 2017. The largest share of the category is attributable to its relatively superior heat-resistance, fire-resistance, high stiffness, and exceptional load carrying properties. Owing to these properties, carbon fibers see increasing demand from the military and commercial aerospace sectors, which in turn drives the market growth.
On the basis of resin type, the global aerospace composites market is categorized into thermoset, thermoplastic, and others (ceramic and metallic matrices). Among these, thermoset has been the dominant category in the global market in terms of share, with respective estimated volume and value contributions of more than 70.0% and 65.0% in 2017. The superior properties of thermoset resins such as improved mechanical strength, high corrosion-resistance, and low-weight, over other resin types, have contributed to its increasing applicability across varied aerospace applications. In addition, this resin imparts high stiffness and tensile strength to aircraft components, which further increases its demand.
Based on aircraft type, the global aerospace composites market is categorized into commercial aircraft, business and general aviation aircraft, military aircraft, civil helicopter, and others (spacecraft). The commercial aircraft category has been leading the global market, with respective estimated volume and value contributions of more than 60.0% and 55.0% in 2017. This can be attributed to the large-scale production of commercial aircraft worldwide, which in turn is generating the demand for aerospace composites and leading to the market growth.
On the basis of application, the global aerospace composites market is segmented into interior and exterior. During the forecast period, the consumption of aerospace composites is expected to witness higher growth for interior applications, with a CAGR of 9.8%. The increase in use of composite materials in interior parts of aircraft, such as seat frames, cabin components, lavatories, floor boards, wall and ceiling panels, and storage bins, is accelerating the use of composites in aircraft manufacturing.
Aerospace Composites Market Dynamics
The major trend identified in the global aerospace composites market is the adoption of efficient production processes.
Presently, a majority of composites are manufactured through the autoclave process, which uses pressurized vessels at high temperature to manufacture composite materials. Though the autoclave process is a widely adopted production process, it entails significant processing time, cost, and energy. This increases the overall cost of the composite material produced.
Out of Autoclave (OOA) is an alternative and more efficient composite manufacturing process, which involves the manufacturing of composites within a closed mold through pressurizing and heating, without using autoclaves. The OOA technology offers a number of advantages over the autoclave technology, such as reduced production cost and higher material strength. Thus, the shift to more efficient production process is the major trend witnessed in the aerospace composites market.
Expanding commercial aircraft fleet, rising demand for carbon fiber composites in aircraft manufacturing, and growing application of composites in military aviation are the major drivers identified in the aerospace composites market.
Globally, the aerospace industry is becoming highly price competitive, which is encouraging aircraft manufacturers to develop efficient aircraft having lower operational cost. Aircraft weight is a critical indicator of their operational performance. As a result, leading aircraft manufacturers such as The Boeing Company and Airbus Group SE are focusing on using lightweight and high performance structural materials, such as composites, for manufacturing aircraft components.
Among the different types of composites, carbon fiber is one material which is lightweight in nature and offers relatively higher strength. These properties are considered ideal for aircraft manufacturing as they improve the fuel economy of commercial aircraft and lower their operational cost. The fast-growing aviation market across the world is likely to encourage the development of new aircraft, which in turn is expected boost the demand for carbon fiber composites in aircraft manufacturing in the coming years, resulting in the aerospace composites market growth.
High price of composite materials is the major restraint observed in the global aerospace composites market.
The costs of composite materials used in the aerospace industry are higher compared to the traditional materials used in aircraft manufacturing. Also, the long process time required in manufacturing composites further adds to their cost and inhibits their use in aircraft production by manufacturers. However, composite materials being lightweight, stronger, and corrosion resistant solutions, offer long-term advantages such as reduction in maintenance cost of the aircraft.
Aerospace Composites Market Competitive Landscape
Some of the major players operating in the global aerospace composites market are Hexcel Corporation, Koninklijke Ten Cate bv, Teijin Limited, Toray Industries Inc., Royal DSM N.V., SGL Group – The Carbon Company, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Materion Aerospace Metal Composites, Renegade Materials Corporation, Quantum Composites, and Solvay S.A.