Para-Aramid Fibers Market size is forecast to reach $6.6 billion by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 7.2% during 2021-2026. Para-Aramid is an aromatic polyamide distinguished by long, rigid polymer crystalline chains. The major drivers for this market are the increasing usage of para-aramid fiber in brake pads, clutches, transmission belts, gaskets, linings, and tires in automotive and the growing demand for protective clothing in defense and industrial sectors. Also, the increasing utilization of para-aramid fiber as an alternative to asbestos and steel in military and aerospace applications for ballistic grade body armor fabric is likely to fuel market growth over the forecast period. Furthermore, stringent government norms regarding the safety of employees at the workplace and large penalties for non-compliance with these standards is also anticipated to contribute to the para-aramid fiber industry growth during the forecast period.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the day-to-day practices of virtually all major companies around the world, bringing economies to a standstill. This has led to a decrease in the demand and production of aromatic polyamides such as aramid fibers in most of the applications, which is lowering the consumption of para-aramid fibers in 2020. The adoption of these fibers in personal protective equipment (PPE) apparel, on the other hand, has rapidly increased. The manufacturers are also focused first on fulfilling the PPE orders because during the pandemic they have become a critical component. For instance, DuPont is manufacturing PPE clothing based on its Nomex aramid, Kevlar & Tychem, and Tyvek. The demand for aromatic polyamides such as aramid fibers is very high as compared to other materials, owing to which the market is gradually gaining momentum again.
Para-aramid Fibers Market Segment Analysis – By Product Form
The filament yarn segment held the largest share in the para-aramid fibers market in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.8% during 2021-2026, owing to the various benefits that it offers when compared to other fiber forms. Filament yarn-based para-aramid fibers offer extensive characteristics such as excellent strength-to-weight properties, high dimensional stability, heat resistance, flame resistance, chemical resistant, and more. Owing to these extensive characteristics of filament yarn-based para-aramid fibers are largely employed in applications such as filtration, protective clothing, transmission belts, laundry tape, and more. Thus, these extensive characteristics are the major factor driving the demand for filament yarn-based para-aramid during the forecast period.
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Para-aramid Fibers Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry
The protection & security segment held the largest share in the para-aramid fiber market in 2020 and should grow at a CAGR of 8.2% during 2021-2016. A huge amount of para-aramid fiber is used in safety & protection applications such as military, private security, municipal law enforcement, and private contractors involved in government projects. Para-aramid fiber is also used in personal protective equipment (PPE) to help manufacturers provide premier cut protection from on-the-job hazards in the automotive, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, and electronics industries. These fibers are generally sued to make stab-proof, fire-proof, and cut-proof protective clothing such as coveralls, gloves, footwear, and helmets. Recent technological advancements in armors helped to reduce the extra weight for soldiers, and also further improvisation in personal protective clothing is driving the demand for soft and lightweight armor materials.
Para-aramid Fibers Market Drivers
Stringent Government Regulations Regarding the Safety of Employees at the Workplace
Various governments are implementing stringent regulations to govern the proper usage of protective apparel in worksites to ensure the safety of employees. For instance, according to the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations, it is mandatory for every person working in a food handling area to wear suitable, clean, and appropriate, protective clothing. Also, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) made it necessary for food industry workers to use protective clothing and equipment. Therefore, owning to these regulations the demand for protective clothing from the food industry is increasing. In addition, various government regulations and standards have made it mandatory for metal and mining industry workers to wear protective clothing, such as NFPA 70E, ANSI / ISEA 138, and so on. Hence, owing to these regulations the demand for protective clothing from the metal and mining industry is increasing. Various government regulations and standards have made it necessary for law enforcement and firefighters to wear protective clothing while performing their duties such as NFPA1971, EN 1486, EN 13911, and EN 659. Therefore, owning to these regulations and standards the demand for protective clothing is increasing, which is driving the para-aramid fibers market growth.
Flourishing Automotive and Aerospace Industry
The use of para-aramid fibers in tires provides advantages such as higher performance, higher protection, higher comfort, and lower fuel consumption, resulting in increased demand from the automotive industry. In addition, para-aramid fibers are also used in aerospace components, including wings, fuselage, landing gear doors, trailing edge plates, vertical and horizontal stabilizers, and flight control surfaces. They are used primarily in these components because of their superior performance characteristics such as impact resistance and low weight. And the automotive and aerospace industry is flourishing in various regions. For instance, according to Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA), the production of light commercial vehicles has increased from 1,348,932 in 2018 to 1,431,904 in 2019, an increase of 6.2% in Canada. In November 2020, Boeing projected that China’s airlines will buy $1.4 trillion worth of 8,600 new aircraft and $1.7 trillion worth of commercial aviation services over the next 20 years. By 2030, Boeing’s latest business outlook predicts demand for 2,520 new aircraft in the Middle East. And with the flourishing automotive and aerospace industry, the demand for para-aramid will also substantially increase, which will then drive the market growth.
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Para-aramid Fibers Market Challenges
Presence of Alternative Materials and High Production Cost of Para-Aramid Fibers
It is anticipated that the danger of substitutes will remain moderate over the forecast period. While aramid fibers are extremely famous for their robust applications in the industry, they also have some demerits. The propensity to absorb moisture, for instance, discourages their use in a wet environment. These products are also combined with epoxy systems to solve certain problems. Such additives further increase the overall cost of the product and unlatch the door for other substitute materials. For instance, carbon, glass, and polyethylene fibers can be used as alternatives to para-aramid fibers depending on the requirement in various application segments. Furthermore, product manufacturers are facing numerous challenges, elevated manufacturing costs, and low production efficiency, high initial investment, and inconsistent raw material supply are also expected to hamper market growth, thereby restraining the para-aramid fibers market growth during the forecast period.
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the para-aramid fibers market. Major players in the para-aramid fibers market are China National Bluestar (Group) Co. Ltd., DuPont de Nemours Inc., Huvis Corp., Hyosung Corp., Kermel, Kolon Industries Inc., Sro Aramid (Jiangsu) Co. Ltd., Teijin Ltd., Toray Industries Inc., and Yantai Tayho Advanced Materials Co.
In November 2020, Teijin Aramid announced the results of its sustainability-focused pilot program (2018). The pilot proves that this innovative approach can improve the environmental impact of Teijin Aramid’s production processes, without altering the material properties of the resulting ultra-high-strength para-aramid fibers under the brand name Twaron® yarn.
Europe dominates the para-aramid fibers market, owing to the increasingly stringent government regulations in the region governing the proper usage of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplaces.
Para-aramid fibers are used widely in friction and sealing products as an alternative to asbestos. Due to superior advantages such as extended life, non-glaze/smear on the surface of the lining, fade resistance, and non-aggressive wear on drums and discs, they are commonly used in friction plates, transmission belts, and pads. Over the projected period, this is expected to fuel demand.
Furthermore, Para-aramid fibers are used as strength providers in the design and manufacturing of fiber optic cables owing to their low weight, flexibility, dielectricity, and handling. Thus, the rise in demand for high bandwidth fiber optic cables for data services and communication is also expected to have a positive influence on the market.
Increasing onshore and offshore drilling activities, coupled with a thriving shale oil and gas industry is also anticipated to play a key role in driving the demand for aromatic polyamides such as para-aramid during the forecast period.
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