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A new report by the Freedonia Group, Reinforced Plastics to 2009, suggests that the market for reinforced plastics in the US will reach $6.7 billion in 2009 based on continued improvements and greater competitiveness with metal.
Key issues of the report state that thermoset resins such as unsaturated polyester will remain dominant while thermoplastics such as polypropylene grow faster. Producer durable equipment and construction will offer the best market opportunities.
This study analyzes only the US reinforced plastics industry. It presents historical (1994, 1999 and 2004) demand data and forecasts to 2009 and 2014 by reinforcement (e.g., carbon fibres, aramid fibres, nanomaterials); by resin (e.g., thermosets, thermoplastics); and by market.
The study also considers market environment trends and indicators, details industry structure and market share, and profiles 42 leading industry competitors including AOC, Ashland Chemical, Reichhold, Interplastic, Cook Composites and Polymers, and Resolution Specialty Materials.
In detail, the report states that glass fibres, due to their low cost and good performance, will remain the leading reinforcement material. The fastest growing markets are expected to be in producer durable equipment and construction as a result of needs for more cost effective and higher performance materials with lower maintenance costs.
More rapid reinforced thermoplastic advances will result from their greater design flexibilities, high performance attributes and easier processing. Polypropylene will remain dominant due to its good mechanical properties, chemical inertness, stiffness, dimensional stability and high heat resistance. However, more rapid growth is expected for styrenics and polycarbonate.
Compared to overall industry levels, the thermoset resin segments are more highly concentrated.
The four largest producers of thermoset polyesters – AOC, Ashland, Reichhold (Dainippon Ink and Chemicals) and Interplastic – together accounted for threefourths of US annual production capacity of 2.3 billion pounds in 2004.
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