The global aramid fiber market was valued at USD 2.96 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 6.31 billion by 2026, with an anticipated CAGR of 9.92% during the forecast period, 2019–2026.
The term 'aramid' is derived from 'aromatic polyamide'. Aromatic polyamides were first commercially applied as meta-aramid filaments in the 1960s with para-aramid fibers being created in the 1970s. Aramid fibers are synthetic fibers manufactured by spinning a solid fiber from a solution. These fibers, when used in clothing, offer remarkable properties such as high strength, lightweight, cut resistivity, and high energy absorption in the clothing material. The most common aramid fiber manufacturing methods include hand lay-up, vacuum bagging, vacuum infusion, injection molding, press molding, filament winding, and pultrusion.
Increasing demand for protective apparel from numerous applications across industrial and defense sectors is a key driver for market growth. Aramid fibers are used in the defense sector for ballistic-rated body armor fabric and ballistic composites, in bicycle tires, and as asbestos substitutes. Subsequently, rising government spending on aerospace, defense, and security sectors is expected to fuel market growth. A multitude of companies operating in the defense and aerospace sectors are adopting aramid fibers as key materials in the manufacturing of protective apparel. For instance, in June 2018, Heathcoat Fabrics launched a new 100% aramid fabric at Eurostar 2018 for the defense market.
The global aramid fiber market can be segmented by type and application.
Based on type, the market can be segmented into para-aramid, meta-aramid, and others. The para-aramid segment is expected to witness maximum growth during the forecast period, owing to the extensive use of these fibers in defense & security and automotive industries. Para-aramid fibers possess superior properties such as high tensile strength and high modulus behavior and thus, find application in ballistics protection, race cars, protective gloves, wire and cable, and hose reinforcement.
Based on application, the market can be segmented into security & protection, frictional materials, optical fiber, tire reinforcement, rubber reinforcement, aerospace, electrical insulation, and others. The security and protection application segment is expected to represent prolific market opportunities for aramid fibers during the forecast period. Some of the security and protection applications include bullet-proof vests, protective apparel such as gloves, motorcycle protective clothing, and hunting gaiters, chaps, and pants.
Geographically, the global aramid fiber market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.
Europe is expected to dominate the global aramid fiber market during the forecast period. Increasing demand for aramid fibers in Europe is predominantly determined by the Western European nations, including Germany, France, and the U.K. Stringent security norms within several sectors or industries, such as oil and gas, construction, aluminum, and steel are imparting momentum to the interest regarding protective apparels, which in turn is driving the demand for aramid fibers in the region. Another factor contributing to market growth in Europe is the adoption of frictional materials in luxury vehicles and other industrial parts. Concerns regarding worker wellbeing and safety and the associated reforms by government regulatory bodies are accelerating the demand for protective apparel, which ultimately drives the aramid fiber market. For instance, The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work EU-OSHA conducts activities and campaigns to raise awareness regarding health and occupational safety.
Asia-Pacific is pegged to be the fastest-growing market for aramid fibers, owing to the increasing demand for optical fibers and growing industrialization in emerging economies such as China and India. In the automotive industry, aramid fibers are widely used for thermal insulation and spacers, hot gas filtration, cushioning material, and as safety & protective clothing.
North America is projected to register a substantial growth rate in the aramid fiber market during the forecast period, owing to the increasing demand from the region’s automotive and construction industries and the region’s large defense budget.
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region are expected to witness limited growth during the forecast period due to poor industrial infrastructure, limited government investment, and low spending on defense and aerospace, especially in African countries. Nevertheless, in the near future, the region is expected to observe sound growth due to the rising adoption of aramid fibers in several end-use sectors such as automotive and electronics.
Latin America is expected to exhibit steady growth during the forecast period, owing to the increasing use of meta-aramid fibers in industrial filtration across oil & gas and petrochemical industries. Commercial transport aircraft present a lucrative application opportunity for aramid fibers as they reduce airframe weight, which in turn translates to better fuel economy and subsequently, lowers operating costs.
Some of the key players operating in the global aramid fiber market are
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