According to a new report published in September 2021 by industry experts AMI Consulting, market penetration for Long Fibre Polypropylene (LFT PP) is rising. The new report quantifies the use of both granule LFT PP (LFT-G) and direct in-line compounding LFT PP (LFT-D) tracking its use around the world. The result is a comprehensive analysis of LFT PP by application, OEM, producer and geographical region. The key metric in the report is kg/vehicle which allows the disaggregation of volatile car production numbers from underlying usage trends.
LFT PP is used widely in automotive front-end carriers, instrument-panel carriers, door-panels, consoles, pedals, under-body shields and many other applications. A feature of many of these applications is that LFT PP replaces steel and thereby reduces weight or replaces more expensive engineering plastics.
AMI Consulting is forecasting strong growth of LFT PP through to 2025. Some applications are growing much faster than others and some OEMs are adopting LFT PP more rapidly than others.
One of the fastest growing adopters since the last edition of this report in 2017 has been Fiat-Chrysler, which now is part of Stellantis, since merging with PSA earlier this year. The company is at an early stage of bringing together its engineering and materials expertise.
One of the fastest growing applications is liftgates where designs range from extensive use of metal to virtually no metal at all. In the metal-free designs LFT PP is used to provide structural strength and is complemented with high performance PP to provide the paintable exterior skin. In the most demanding applications, the structural interior LFT PP elements are neither covered nor painted so good is the aesthetic finish. Plastic liftgates are particularly valuable to EVs as a new way of saving weight.
The shift towards electric and hybrid electric vehicles, while threatening some existing applications, is creating new opportunities for LFT PP as designers rethink some concepts and adopt new approaches. One example is Tesla’s so-called frunk – the trunk at the front – which creates new storage space at the front of the vehicle but needs to be designed with the conventional ability to absorb impact in the circumstances of a collision.
The report looks at the success of LFT PP relative to that of competing materials and looks too at the ways in which the largest producers including Celanese with its Celstran brand, GS Caltex, Kingfa, Lotte (Sambark), Mytex/Mitsubishi/JPP and SABIC are positioning LFT PP.
The report quantifies in detail LFT PP demand by OEM, by application, and by region as well as providing a detailed analysis of the industry’s supply structure.
In 2020 Asia accounted for 50% of global demand compared with 26% in Europe and 24% in the Americas.
The report is intended to support the strategic decisions that are required of participants to ensure they keep abreast of developments within this fast-changing industry. It aims to assist industry participants in anticipating change, formulating strategies, directing R&D investment, and proactively managing threats and opportunities.
AMI Consulting publishes a series of multi-client studies in the field of PP Compounds including a report called the ‘Global Market for PP Compounds’ in 2020 and one called ‘The European Market for PP Compounds’ in 2019. The last edition of its LFT report was published in 2017.
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