The Top 4 Industries for Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a type of plastic, except that it’s been reinforced with glass fibers. This reinforcement makes it one of the more popular materials in the manufacturing industry, as it’s immensely strong. It’s also easily molded due to its glass and plastic nature, so it can be made into just about anything. Its use can range from a simple basketball backboard to a complex below ground conduit system.

It’s been estimated that the global fiberglass market will reach $14.27 billion by 2019, and by 2022 this will increase to $18.75 billion. Its use will become much more prevalent in the manufacturing industries, especially in the following business sectors:

Furniture Manufacturing

Wood furniture remains popular for indoor use, but that’s not exactly the case when it’s for the outdoors. That’s because the wood won’t last long when it’s exposed for too long to the elements. The water and the snow will damage your wooden patio chairs and tables, and sunlight doesn’t make it look good either. It can also be attacked by burrowing termites.

It’s for that reason that plastic is popular for outdoor use. The problem with regular plastic, however, is that it’s flimsy. That’s not the case with fiberglass since its strength to weight ratio is greater than that of aluminum and steel. Fiberglass chairs won’t buckle under the strain of your weight like standard plastic would.

Fiberglass is also lightweight, so you can lift and move it to any spot on your patio. It’s resistant to moisture so the rain and snow won’t bother it. UV rays won’t affect it either. It also doesn’t need too much maintenance, as you can use a damp cloth to get rid of any dust or dirt.

Automotive Industry

More and more car and spare parts manufacturers are switching to the use of fiberglass for numerous automotive components. The chief reason for this is that it can match the strength of aluminum and steel while remaining comparatively much lighter.

The strength to weight ratio of fiberglass offers manufacturers a way to reduce the weight of their vehicles. A heavier car is much slower than a lighter car when they have the same engine. That’s why when trying to develop faster cars it’s not just about improving the engine efficiency. It’s also about reducing the load for that engine to carry.

The other benefit of reducing the curb weight of a vehicle is to help with fuel efficiency. As vehicles get heavier, they require more fuel to move, which is why SUVs are notorious gas guzzlers compared to lightweight subcompact cars. The use of fiberglass can then lead to lower VOC emissions.

Right now, fiberglass can be used for the interiors, bumper beams, and exterior panels of cars.

Luggage and Packaging Materials

Many heavy duty travel bags now have hard sides, and often these contain fiberglass resin. The strength of the fiberglass keeps the items inside from being smashed, yet these bags are lightweight so they’re easier (and cheaper) to transport. They’re also resistant to moisture, so the items inside won’t get wet when it rains.

Fiberglass resin can also be made into sheets and films, so it has become more common to use for vacuum packing and heat sealing. Again, it’s tougher than regular plastic, so it’s more resistant to tears.

Construction

Fiberglass has become ubiquitous in the construction industry, and again it’s due to its strength, light weight, and resistance to moisture and other chemicals. It’s popular to use for conduits, columns, and false ceilings. Shower stalls often contain fiberglass resin, and it’s also used for the outside of buildings because it’s waterproof.