Fiberglass is the main reinforcing material in the composite industry. In the US fiberglass market, it grew by 4% and reached 2.1 billions dollar at 2017. The market is expected to raise to 31 billion pounds by 2023, with a composite annual growth rate of 3.4%.
The four major areas of fiberglass applications are transport, construction, piping and tanks, accounting for 69% of the total applications. With the development of water and wastewater infrastructure, a growing number of construction facilities, and quick growth in automotive, oil and gas-related operations, it is expected to drive further development of the fiberglass market in 2023 and beyond.
In terms of supply and demand, global fiberglass production capacity reach 11.2 billion pounds, and the current utilization rate is 93%.
Lucintel forecasted that with the further increase of glass fiber suppliers ‘ capacity, the utilization of its production line will fall to about 91% in 2018.For example, Owens Corning has planned to add production to France and India in this year; Jushi and Johns Manville has planned to increase capacity in the United States; Taishan Fiberglass has invested in India; and Sisecam Group has built new factories in Turkey.
As more and more applications appear in different terminal markets, the glass fiber market has been promoted continually. Most Purchasing decisions are still heavily influenced by the price of GFRP components. To further promote the growth and competitive advantage of the fiberglass market, the industry needs to pay attention to the following points:
Lower prices: The industry needs to find ways to reduce the cost of composite components, because it competes with steel, aluminum, and even concrete. There are many innovative opportunities to reduce the cost of its raw materials, labor and energy. For example, in order to be competitive in the price-sensitive reinforced bars market valued 200 billion-dollar, a manufacturer of competitive FRP bars must come up with an innovative technology that uses fiberglass and sand to make FRP bar so that the cost can be reduced by nearly 40%.
Innovative manufacturing Technology: it is needed to develop transformative manufacturing technologies that shorten cycle times and reduce costs. Composites have many innovative opportunities because they provide flexibility in design, material selection, manufacturing and composition.
Stable supply chain: with the growing globalization of many industries such as automobiles, wind power, aerospace electronics and so on, it is needed to invest in the development of global materials, design, tooling and manufacturing supply chains for composite materials. For example, Ford, which manufactures vehicles around the world, hopes that one component supplier can meet its global production needs, is critical to achieving the global supply chain.
Better simulation technology: the market needs to invest in the development of better simulation software for composite parts manufacturing. In the steel industry, there are simulation software programs that can predict parts ‘ tolerances, warp, quality and reliability.
Investing in maintenance and recycling technologies: it is needed to address OEM repair and recovery challenges by developing cost-effective technologies and infrastructure.
To sum up, , the composite industry will have significant opportunities for innovation on the each node of the chain. As the industry becomes the mainstream supplier of many markets, the winners will own the market shares and the losers will be eliminated. Lucintel expects that many new and innovative suppliers will emerge and meet market demand.