Polymer coated fabrics are flexible materials consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibers yarned or threaded together and coated with polymer resins. Coating a fabric with polymer resin increases the flexibility and durability of the fabric.
Rise in demand for polymer coated fabrics in transportation, clothing, and other industrial applications; increase in safety concerns; and implementation of stringent government regulations for the provision of safety to workers are expected to drive the global polymer coated fabrics market. Polymer coated fabrics can be used as moisture barriers. They offer a wide range of mechanical and physical properties. Demand for these fabrics is anticipated to increase during the forecast period as they are dirt and oil-repellent. Polymer coated fabrics improve the performance of materials and are weather & corrosion resistant. Solvents used for the production of polymer coated fabrics are costly and include hazardous pollutants. This acts as a major restraint for market growth. Volatility in prices of polymers used in the manufacture of polymer coated fabrics is also a major factor hampering the polymer coated fabrics market.
Based on product type, the global polymer coated fabrics market can be classified into polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polyacrylamide (PA), nylon, and polyurethane (PU). The PVC segment is anticipated to account for major share of the market, as the cost involved in manufacturing this material is relatively low. It also offers better properties vis-à-vis other types of coated fabrics. PU based polymer fabrics is considered a relatively expensive polymer. However, its strength allows it to be used effectively as a thin film, making the fabric lighter and thinner than PVC based polymer fabrics in the same application. It also consumes less material. PU based polymer fabrics offer limited flame retardant properties. These properties can be increased via polymer modification. PVC based polymer fabrics are inherently fire resistant, but for any polymer fabric in order to meet fire codes and standards, they require addition of various flame retardant additives.
In terms of application, the global polymer coated fabrics market can be segmented into transportation, protective clothing, furniture, roofing, and other industrial applications. The transportation segment is estimated to constitute prominent share of the global polymer coated fabrics market in the near future. It is projected to expand at a fast pace during the forecast period due to increase in demand from OEMs. Polymer coated fabrics are employed in a wide range of applications in the transportation industry. This includes interiors and exteriors of vehicles, air bags, seat belts, and covers.
In terms of geography, the global polymer coated fabrics market can be divided into North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific led the global polymer coated fabrics market in 2016. It is expected to be the dominant region during the forecast period, as demand for polymer coated fabrics in the region is driven by the growth in the transportation sector. Rise in sale of automobiles and increase in government regulations on safety measures in industrial applications for fire protection are anticipated to drive the polymer coated fabrics market in Asia Pacific. The market is driven by the increase in demand from China, India, and Japan. The polymer coated fabrics market in North America and Europe is estimated to expand at a steady pace during the forecast period.
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Key players operating in the global polymer coated fabrics market include Spradling International Inc., Takata Corporation, Cooley Group Holdings, Inc., and Trelleborg AB.