SOURCE: Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan

March 28, 2011 07:29 ET

Increasing Use of Public Transportation and Emphasis on Fuel Efficiency Boost Use of Composites, Says Frost & Sullivan

LONDON--(Marketwire - March 28, 2011) - Attributes of light weight and performance are pushing the use of composites in public transportation. Due to safety issues and rising gasoline prices, public transportation including buses, trains and trams are being used extensively. This is having a positive ripple effect on the uptake of composites. While the resins used in public transportation have different properties, strength and resistance to heat and chemicals are the major factors underpinning their appeal.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.chemicals.frost.com), Strategic Analysis of the Composite Resins Market in Public Transportation, finds that European thermoset plastic composites for public transportation earned revenues of EUR 70.72 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach EUR 114.94 million in 2017. European thermoplastic composites are projected to grow from EUR 3.46 million to EUR 5.71 million over the same period. The following products are covered in this research: unsaturated polyester resins, Epoxy resins, phenolic resins, polyurethane resins, polyamide resins and polypropylene resins.

The general economic revival is set to be accompanied by the growth of the composite industry. Composites offer a weight reduction of around 30 to 40 per cent compared to materials such as steel. As a result, steel is rapidly being substituted by composites.

"The intensifying need to reduce the weight of vehicles owing to corporate average fuel economy and other Environment Protection Agency requirements will drive the demand for composites use in buses and rolling stock is poised to increase," states Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Shree Vidhyaa Karunanidhi. "Besides lightweight mobility, benefits such as low maintenance costs and improved corrosion resistance while showing no compromise on performance, at least at the non-structural level, will help boost the deployment of composites."

However, competition from alternative materials poses a threat to market expansion. Due to the lack of awareness about their benefits, composites face competition from conventional materials such as steel and aluminium. Moreover, OEMs are more familiar with steel and aluminium and their performance, rather than with composites.

Companies have to communicate to OEMs the benefits of composites such as low weight, reduced manufacturing time and lower maintenance costs. Market participants need to invest in R&D to ensure that composites are more easily separable and recyclable.

New regulations on fire safety, smoke and toxicity (FST) are exerting heavy pressure on the composite industry. Although they are light and mouldable, resins are inflammable and emit toxic gas and smoke. Fire-resistant additives help in overcoming this problem to some extent, although not entirely.

"The European standard for FST, namely EN45545, is used for the protection of railway vehicles against fire while the British standard BS 6853 is considered to be one of the most stringent standards," concludes Karunanidhi. "Further investments in R&D are required to ensure that the materials comply with these regulations."

If you are interested in more information on this study, please send an e-mail with your contact details to Chiara Carella, Corporate Communications, at chiara.carella@frost.com.

Strategic Analysis of the Composite Resins Market in Public Transportation is part of the Chemicals, Materials & Food Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets: European Markets for Naturally-Reinforced Plastic Composites, Wood Plastic Composites - Using Green Strategies to Boost Growth and European Structural Adhesives Market. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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Strategic Analysis of the Composite Resins Market in Public Transportation
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