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PCM (Phase Change Material) based clothing will generate new revenue pockets
The protective clothing market is directly influenced by the growth in the end-use industries such as construction & manufacturing, oil & gas, and health care among several others. Slowdown and decrease in employment in these industries directly affect the dynamics of the protective clothing usage. Owing to the increasing demand for energy, chemicals and other finished products from both mature and emerging economies show promising growth in the coming years. Increased government regulations also contribute to the market growth such as mandatory use of FR clothing in the oil & gas industry. These regulations coupled with increasing awareness of protective clothing benefits show a promising growth for the next five years.
Thermal protective clothing is estimated to lead the global protective clothing market with the largest market revenue by application in 2012. The trend is expected to remain the same in future due to increased demand of thermal protective clothing from multiple industries. This will lead to the segment growing at a rate of 6.6% from 2013 to 2018. The protection offered by thermal protective clothing depends on the kind of protection required. In the case of protection from extreme cold, protection depends on the degree of insulation, whereas in case of flash fire and arc flash, it depends on the flame resistance properties of the protective clothing.
In case of high temperature applications, the issue with thermal protective clothing is the buildup of heat inside which leads to fatigue if worn for long durations. New materials such as advanced phase change materials (PCM) can help to overcome this problem. Phase change materials have the ability to change their phase with respect to a certain temperature range and in the process absorb, accumulate, and release large amounts of energy in the form of latent heat. The usage of these materials can lead to less heat buildup inside the clothing, simultaneously making it more comfortable to wear even for longer durations. Hence, PCM-based clothing is a lucrative segment to invest as they will be the most adopted clothing in future. Another focus area will be multi-functionality, wherein single clothing can be worn for protection against various hazards.
Along with these innovations in clothing technology, another revenue generating area for the protective clothing industry is the growing economies such as Asia-Pacific and Latin America. These regions will have the highest growth rates in the next five years. U.S., being a mature market, will be difficult for any new player to enter but countries such as China, India, and Brazil among several others can be targeted easily. This can be a huge opportunity for the protective clothing manufacturers around the globe.
Protective Clothing Market by Application (Thermal, Chemical, Mechanical, Biological/Radiation, Visibility), End-Use Industry (Oil & Gas, Construction, Health Care, Mining, Military, Firefighting) & Material - Global Trends & Forecast to 2018
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