High-performance Plastics Rise to Performance Requirements in the Transportation Industry

New composite manufacturing and fabrication techniques will further stoke adoption, says Frost & Sullivan

Aug 26, 2015, 09:15 ET from Frost & Sullivan

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- High-performance plastics are gaining traction in the automotive and aviation industries for their high-temperature stability and metal-replacement potential, respectively. Polyketones, polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), sulfone polymers, and polyetherimide (PEI) are the most popular chemistries due to their excellent flame retardant capabilities and stability in corrosive environments. These advantages enable their use in interior applications, applications involving high temperature, and other corrosive fluid contact applications across automotive, aviation, rail and marine segments.

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Recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan, European and North American High-Performance Plastics Market in the Transportation Industry (http://www.frost.com/nf26), finds that the high-performance plastics market in the transportation industry earned revenue of $761.2 million in 2014 and estimates this to reach $1.06 billion in 2021. Most of this growth is expected from the automotive and aviation segments, as the availability of cheaper alternatives will dampen sales in the railway and marine segments. The polyphthalamides segment is the biggest in terms of chemistry usage, whereas the PPS segment is the fastest growing chemistry. End users are adopting the latter for its superior high-temperature performance, chemical resistance and price points over peer products.

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"While the benefits of high-performance plastics are undisputed, their relatively high processing costs make them susceptible to competition from alternative materials," said Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials & Food Research Analyst Srinivas Venkatesan. "Fabrication costs are prohibitive for components made of high-performance plastic composites, restricting their use to very large aircrafts and luxury cars."

The reparability of plastic components is low unlike metals and metal-matrix composites. Damage to plastic components could require replacements rather than corrective measures, resulting in greater expenses for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Technological advances in composite parts manufacturing will alleviate the cost issue to some extent as new high-performance plastics can be a viable alternative to thermosets and metals. Thermoplastic composite parts are obtained by rapid heating and cooling, which makes their cycle time shorter than thermosets'; the latter require longer curing time at higher temperatures. Moreover, thermoplastics are fully recyclable and have very low volatile organic compound (VOC) release during production, making it a green solution.

Furthermore, the higher processing temperature and resin prices of thermoplastic polymers can be slashed by reinforcing the material which, apart from delivering improved properties, also reduces the overall cost of the component.

"Market participants stand to gain a much larger market share by educating customers on the lifecycle cost benefits of high-performance plastics," noted Venkatesan. "The savings accrued through fewer service and maintenance requirements will prolong the material's service life and ultimately, offer higher returns on investment."

European and North American High-Performance Plastics Market in the Transportation Industry is part of the Chemicals & Materials (http://www.chemicals.frost.com) Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan's related studies include: 2015 Top Technologies in Materials & Coatings; 2015 Top Technologies in Advanced Manufacturing and Automation; North American Automotive OEM Direct Glazing Adhesive Market—Outlook and Trends; and North American Hydrocarbon Solvents (HCS) Market—Outlook and Trends. All studies included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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European and North American High-Performance Plastics Market in the Transportation Industry
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SOURCE Frost & Sullivan



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