Prepregs are composite materials, wherein a reinforcement fiber is pre-impregnated with a thermoplastic or thermoset resin matrix in a certain ratio. Prepregs offer unique properties, as they are manufactured by curing under high temperatures and pressures. The resin matrix in prepregs is partially cured for easy handling and is stored at cool temperature to prevent complete polymerization. The fiber often takes the form of a weave, and the matrix is used to bond them together and to other components during manufacture.
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Based on fiber, the prepreg market has been segmented into carbon, aramid, and glass. The carbon fiber segment accounted for significant share of the global prepreg market in 2015 owing to the wide applications in different end-use industries. Glass fiber segment is expected to experience high growth rate, led by the increase in demand for automotive interior. Changes in consumer preferences and rise in disposable income are anticipated to boost the demand for prepregs during the forecast period.
In terms of region, the global prepreg market has been divided into Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. Asia Pacific accounted for key share of the prepreg market in 2015, followed by North America and Europe. The market for prepreg in Asia Pacific is estimated to expand due to the rise in demand for composites in various end-use sectors such as aerospace & defense, wind, sporting goods, automotive, and electronics. Automotive held prominent share of the prepreg market in 2015. The prepreg market is driven by the rising demand for interior designing. Increase in disposable income of consumers in North America and Europe is projected to boost the prepreg market in these regions. The U.S. and the U.K. are likely to constitute major share of the prepreg market in North America and Europe, respectively, due to the high disposable income of the people in these regions and new product launches. The prepreg market is anticipated to witness a shift from the U.S., and Western Europe, to the developing economies in Asia Pacific, led by high demand for composites in the automotive sector. The prepreg market in developing economies in Asia, namely China and India, is also likely to expand at a rapid pace due to the increase in income and changing lifestyle of consumers. Technological advancements and innovations of new products are also likely to boost the demand for prepregs during the forecast period.
Global demand for prepregs is anticipated to rise significantly in the near future. This offers high growth opportunities for the prepreg market. Rapid increase in demand in end-use applications, competitive manufacturing costs, and high economic growth rate are propelling the prepreg market in Asia Pacific. These factors are encouraging companies to adopt expansion and R&D strategies in the region. Market players are focusing on Asia Pacific to gain higher market share. Producers of prepregs have been compelled to adopt expansion and acquisition strategies to meet the global demand. Large numbers of producers are shifting their plants to countries such as China and India due to the factors such as high demand and low raw material and labor costs in these countries.
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Major players operating in the global prepreg market are Solvay, Hexcel Corporation, Royal Tencate N.V., Teijin Limited, Toray Industries, Inc., Gurit Holding Ag, SGL Group, Axiom Materials, Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd., and Park Electrochemical Corp.