More than 60 percent of new high speed rail (HSR) line developments are expected to take place in Asia and Europe. The HSR lines have received continuous investments creating some exciting growth opportunities for HSR composites and plastics manufacturers.
According to Frost & Sullivan’s report, Global Opportunities for Plastics and Composites in High Speed Rail, the market earned revenues of $31.4 million in 2012 and estimates this will reach $35.7 million in 2018.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are likely to incorporate larger quantities of composites in new rolling stock as a result of benefits such as lower life-time cost, significant weight reduction potential and higher strength-to-weight ratio. However, the main concern of the HSR industry is the high operational costs, which is directly related to fuel-efficiency and weight.
“Amidst concerns over their high costs, the greater penetration of composites in new high speed rolling stocks is an encouraging development,” remarked Frost & Sullivan’s Chemicals and Materials Industry Analyst Sandeepan Mondal.
Composites not only enable HSR OEMs to overcome the challenges faced with high costs, but also promote passenger safety since they enable high impact resistance in HSR rolling stock structures, according to Mondal. “In addition, high design flexibility, which translates to complex part manufacturability at competitive throughput rates, is also motivating OEMs to look at composites as better alternatives to metal.”