London -- A new report by market researchers, Frost & Sullivan, predicts revenues from European composites for public transport will grow in the coming years.
The study, 'Strategic Analysis of the Composite Resins Market in Public Transportation', finds that European thermoset plastic composites for public transportation earned revenues of euro 70.72 million ($101.9 million) in 2010 and estimates that this will reach euro 114.94 million in 2017, Frost & Sullivan said.
Revenues for European thermoplastic composites are projected to grow from euro 3.46 million to euro 5.71 million over the same period.
As well as polyurethane resins, the research covers unsaturated polyester resins, epoxy resins, phenolic resins, polyamide resins and polypropylene resins.
"The intensifying need to reduce the weight of vehicles owing to corporate average fuel economy and other Environment Protection Agency requirements will drive the demand for composites use in buses and rolling stock is poised to increase," said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Shree Vidhyaa Karunanidhi.
Benefits such as composites' light weight, low maintenance costs and improved corrosion resistance are said to be behind the boost. However, there is pressure on the composites industry due to new regulations on fire safety, smoke and toxicity.
Although composites offer a weight reduction of around 30-40 percent compared to materials such as steel, manufacturers may not be aware of their benefits and are more familiar with the performance of steel and aluminium, the Frost & Sullivan report says, advising companies to communicate the advantages of composites to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). R&D investment is also seen as a key aspect to further increasing composite use.
"The European standard for FST, namely EN45545, is used for the protection of railway vehicles against fire while the British standard BS 6853 is considered to be one of the most stringent standards," said Karunanidhi.
"Further investments in R&D are required to ensure that the materials comply with these regulations."