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The global market for textile glass fibers is projected to reach 4.5 million tons by the year 2018, driven by the demand trends in major end-use markets of construction, automotive, and industrial/commercial equipment, among others, according to a new report from Global Industry Analysts Inc. The global market for textile glass fibers primarily finds use in the reinforcement of plastics and composites, as well as in non-reinforced applications.
Over the years, the use of textile-grade glass fibers has gained momentum through the rapid strides made by glass fiber-reinforced plastics. Though market growth fell drastically during 2008 and 2009 due to the economic downturn, 2010 saw a marginal recovery led by improving macroeconomic indicators and subsequent improvement in spending power of end users. However, the market slowed down in 2012 as the global economic activity remained flat in view of the sluggish pace of recovery; uncertainty created by the Eurozone crisis; and the below-par demand from emerging economies, the impact of which was felt on key end-use markets such as construction.
Growth in the coming years is expected to result from the increased demand for non-corrosive, durable and lightweight components, and the relatively lower cost of textile glass fibers in comparison to substitutes. Rapid population growth, robust urbanization trend, implementation of new infrastructure projects, and focus on sustainability are expected to bolster demand for glass fiber reinforcement composite, particularly in emerging markets.
Another factor facilitating this growth is the rising popularity of textile glass fibers among equipment manufacturers, reportedly due to the superior performance offered by textile glass fibers when compared to conventional materials such as steel, aluminum and iron. However, the growth rate is expected to vary in different market segments, given its penetration level as well as performance vs. price criteria in that specific application. In particular, the wind energy, marine and aerospace industries are expected to have strong growth in the upcoming years.
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