Global UD Tapes Market: Rise in application with high strength and light weight properties in automotive industries are propelling the growth of the market.

Published Date: 12/05/2021

The global UD tapes market size is projected to grow from USD 147 million in 2020 to USD 294 million by 2027, at a CAGR of 11.7 %. The global UD tapes market is growing due to the rise in the demand for high-performance materials. However, the UD tapes market is expected to decline in 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Vehicle weight reduction and increased fuel efficiency are the major factors driving the use of UD tapes in the aerospace & defence industry. The greater strength-to-weight capability of UD tapes allows for more efficient structural and aerodynamic designs. UD tapes offer high fatigue tolerance and improve the strength of structural components, thereby enabling the manufacturing of bigger passenger windows and lower cabin altitude than conventional jetliners.

The rise in air passenger traffic across the globe has contributed to an increase in aircraft production. The demand for new aircraft is expected to gradually shift from developed to emerging markets, such as APAC, South America, and Africa. In the commercial aerospace sector, North America is expected to witness the highest commercial aircraft deliveries, followed by Europe, APAC, South America, and the Middle East.

Carbon fiber-based UD tapes are mostly preferred in aircraft due to their high strength and stiffness. Unidirectional tapes can also be silt easily without losing its strength, which is not possible in the case of woven tapes and fabrics. The major resin types of UD tapes are fixed wing fuselage, drive shafts, wing spars, wing skins, cargo floor panels, fan blades, tail booms, rib stiffeners, conduit, brackets, and others. There has been a paradigm shift in aircraft design by Boeing and Airbus, with composites now being considered for primary structures of all wide-bodied aircraft. Owing to the increasing use of composites in aircraft manufacturing, the demand for UD tapes is rapidly increasing.

Globally, companies are trying to reduce the effect of global warming and explore the potential of UD tapes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the difficulty of recycling glass fiber is a stumbling block, especially in the construction and automotive sectors, where the pressure to recycle is high. UD tapes are emerging as a class of materials that possess superior properties. These materials have very high stiffness, lower weight, high abrasion, and wear resistance.

The use of these materials is increasing in medical, construction & infrastructure, and other industries. In the medical industry, the use of UD tapes is increasing in the manufacturing of prosthetic parts, such as wheelchair frame, artificial limbs, and exoskeleton construction for limbs. The use of UD tapes is also increasing rapidly in localized reinforcement, repairs, and seam taping of concrete parts in the construction industry. These tapes are also used for the manufacturing of tubular products through the filament winding process in the pipe & tank industry.

The high cost of UD tapes has posed as a hurdle to its expansion into structural resin types of various industries. The real potential of UD tapes has not yet been realized owing to the R&D costs, high manufacturing costs, and increased cycle times. Many new resin types of UD tapes have been discovered, but due to high-cost constraints, commercialization in these resin types is yet to begin. The high R&D, manufacturing, and processing costs are a major challenge for the key players to manufacture cost-effective products in the market.

Key players operating in the unidirectional tapes market include Performance Composites Inc., Composites Evolution Ltd., SGL Group, Evonik, SABIC, and BASF SE.

The North America UD tapes market is expected to witness strong growth in the next five years. The demand for lightweight, fuel-efficient aircraft is increasing, which will drive the demand for UD tapes in the aerospace & defence industry. The launch of new aircraft such as Boeing 777x and China’s indigenously build aircraft Comac C919 is also expected to drive the demand for UD tapes in the near future. UD tapes are also used in lightweight sandwich panels for ultra light aircraft. These factors will drive the demand for UD tapes.