Frost & Sullivan: Innovations in Lightweight Composites Gather Momentum, Paving Way for use in Emerging Applications Low-cost fabrication technologies with decreased cycle times will be crucial for wide-scale technology acceptance
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Developments in lightweight composites are rapidly gathering pace as a collaborative effort from stakeholders across the value chain opens up immense market opportunities. Still, further material and manufacturing advancements – including exploiting the high strength-to-weight ratio and excellent durability properties of lightweight composites – will be necessary to offset the many challenges posed by lightweight structures.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.technicalinsights.frost.com), Innovations in Lightweight Composites, finds that the trend towards large lightweight structures in several industries, including wind, aerospace, construction and mass transit, bodes well for the lightweight composites market. Driven by stringent legislations and customer concerns on reducing fuel consumption, the transportation industry, in particular, placed emphasis on weight reduction.
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"Benefits such as lightweight construction, energy conservation as well as flexibility in design and fabrication have fueled the demand for high-performance construction materials such as lightweight composites across sectors," said Technical Insights Research Analyst Arpita Mukherjee. "In the next five years, opportunities for lightweight composites are expected to emerge in construction, wind power, oil and gas, and medical and consumer goods as these industries begin replacing heavy weight metals and traditional construction materials with lightweight composite materials."
Currently however, keeping an optimum balance between cost and weight is the biggest challenge curbing the penetration of lightweight composites in new markets. The high raw material and fabrication costs involved in manufacturing composites have made lightweight composites economically feasible for use only in a few segments. Potential applications that use lightweight composites in bulk, such as large aircraft manufacturing, have also been affected.
Moreover, affordable processes for the high-volume production of advanced composite parts are unavailable at present. Long manufacturing cycle times are another deterrent. Therefore, the development of low-cost fabrication technologies will be crucial to decrease cycle times and enable medium-to-high throughout production.
"Nevertheless, improvements in manufacturing technology alone are not enough to overcome the cost hurdle," cautioned Mukherjee. "An integrated effort in design, material, process, tooling, quality assurance, manufacturing, and even program management will be essential for composites to become a viable alternative to metals."
Innovations in Lightweight Composites, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides a holistic analysis of the various component technologies in accordance with their technical capabilities, market needs, and industry requirements. The study also discusses key advances in lightweight composite technologies with the goal of finding recent trends and emerging opportunities for both technology providers and end users. Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research services.
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Innovations in Lightweight Composites
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SOURCE Frost & Sullivan