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Market research analysts at Technavio predict that the global automotive carbon composite driveshaft market will grow steadily during the next four years at a CAGR of around 12% by 2021. The rising need for efficient driveshafts in the aftermarket is one of the primary growth factors for this market. Most vehicles are fitted with steel driveshafts as stock fitment for noise and vibration dampening. The lifetime of these steel shafts is much lesser than that of carbon fiber shafts. Since the torsional stiffness of steel driveshafts is low, vehicles that require higher performance opt for more efficient driveshafts such as carbon composite ones. Moreover, carbon composites are also used along with the aluminum driveshafts to reduce the rotational mass of the vehicle with lesser noise and vibration due to its light weight. These composites are much more efficient than aluminum driveshafts and are used only in high-end cars. As most cars are presently fitted with steel driveshafts, the aftermarket sales of carbon fiber driveshafts have grown over the last five years.
The utilization of advanced production and manufacturing technologies for carbon fiber composites is one of the key trends that will contribute to the growth of the market in the future. Automotive carbon fiber driveshaft designers and manufacturers are adopting improved production technologies that will lower the manufacturing and assembling costs, while meeting the quality standards and specific configurations needed by the respective automotive applications. Such innovative manufacturing techniques make use of fast cycle manufacturing processes such as quicker automation processes, and layup automated techniques for labour-intensive activities. To complement these processes, engineers and designers are also using advanced composite software tools such as advanced design, analysis, and manufacturing simulation software tools using knowledge based analysis to assist in the automation of processes, which, in turn, enhances the speed of driveshaft manufacturing.