BOSTON — October 2, 2013 — JEC, the world-renowned resource for composites industry services,
support and expertise, is forecasting strong growth for the Americas composites industry through
2018 as the result of macro trends that are generating demand for advanced composites across
multiple sectors. Projected growth of the overall market for composites, which totaled USD $37
billion for America in 2012, will continue to exceed expectations going forward. This expansion is
being driven by investments in new and refreshed infrastructure, sustainability initiatives
including wind energy generation, energy conservation in the automotive and aerospace industries
and rapid urbanization.
“The growth of the Americas composites industry over the next five years will be quite robust
based on current and projected demand from several key industry sectors,” said Mrs. Frédérique
Mutel, JEC Group President and CEO. “Our research indicates that the industry has rebounded from
the economic downturn and is showing strong growth potential in many application areas – from wind
turbine blades, aerospace components and building and construction materials to carbon fiber for
automotive parts. Continued technological innovation and development of new applications will help
to ensure the continuation of this healthy growth.”
Sustainability Drives Use of Lightweight Composites
The increasing demand for products that minimize environmental impact is helping spur greater
use of composites. The following areas demonstrate particularly high growth potential in the
• Biocomposites: Global manufacturers in many sectors
including automotive and building & construction are generating a growing market pull for
composite materials that can be used to create lighter, stronger products with reduced costs and
energy consumption. These materials are finding increased use in such applications as automotive
door panels and seating. For the building & construction market, these applications include
load bearing walls, roof systems, flooring, windows, doors and replacements for steel beams in
buildings and bridges.
• Automotive: High-performance composite materials have
been used in the automotive industry since the 1930s. In 2012, the market for automotive composite
products such as interior headliners, fenders, pickup boxes, and door modules exceeded USD $2
billion. This is easily explained by the unique solutions they provide: fuel efficiency
through reduced overall vehicle weight, improved safety and crash-worthiness and stronger parts.
Increased use of carbon fiber by automotive OEMs and designers is expected to help drive continued
composite industry growth over the next decade.
• Aeronautics: In the aircraft industry, composite
materials have been widely adopted because they help overcome obstacles encountered by competitive
materials. For example, they provide structural strength comparable to metallic parts, but at a
lighter weight. As fuel costs remain high, the industry will continue to search for new
opportunities to reduce part weight. While composites have long been used in military aircraft and
helicopters, they are now penetrating the commercial airliner segment on a large scale as well,
stimulating the bulk of gains in high performance composite demand.
• Wind Energy: The increasing size of blades used for wind
turbines is driving demand for new materials that offer a better strength-to-weight ratio and
improved stiffness and tensile strength. Mixtures of fiberglass and carbon fiber show promise for
these applications. Composites can also play a role in lower lifecycle costs for wind farms,
another key driver for growth. The overall Americas market for advanced composites in the wind
energy sector is set to more than triple to USD $25.8 billion by 2020.
Urban Development and Infrastructure Investment Drive Composites Growth
Population growth, urbanization and a growing middle class are all driving new
growth for composites in infrastructure applications in the Americas. Indeed, infrastructure is one
of the top three growth industries for composites, which offer design flexibility, corrosion
resistance, durability, easy installation, weatherproofing and weight reduction. Key applications
include carbon fiber-reinforced plastic panels, rebars, door and window profiles, as well as
carbon-fiber-filled cement, which helps reduce overall weight for buildings, roads and bridges
while maintaining high strength. Infrastructure will drive strong continued growth opportunities
for composites due to innovations in materials technology that aim to reduce overall cost of end
products by 30 percent, and evolving legislation that promotes their adoption and use.
Posted October 2, 2013
Source: JEC Group