The U.S. market for advanced protective gear and armor has reached $4.5 billion and $4.7 billion in 2013 and 2014, respectively. This market is expected to reach at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4% to nearly $5.9 billion in 2019.
The protective clothing, gear and armor markets are a fragmented industry. There are significant and specific segments of the protective clothing, gear and armor industry. Within each of these segments are a variety of players, including government organizations that create, develop and enforce regulations and standards, raw material suppliers, fiber and fabric manufacturers, mills and fabric producers, finished goods manufacturers, and suppliers and distributors. The supply chain may be complex and at times difficult to understand. Our focus is on the major material types and the designers of the products rather than on the distributors of the products. To emphasize the complexity, it may be that one large corporation, through many of its parts, can be involved in all the sectors of the supply chain. This study of the advanced protective gear and armor markets focuses on the following major sectors in the U.S. market: Heat- and flame-resistant clothing, including firefighters' turnout gear for structural, proximity and wildlands fire service, as well as industrial fire-resistant garments for use in electric and gas utilities or in industrial applications in which electric arc and flash fire are hazards.
Chemical protective garments and equipment, including chemical-resistant clothing, chemical or biological warfare and protective suits, and gloves used in industrial applications. Much of this same gear can be used for biological protection.
Respirators and ancillary components for fire and chemical/biological situations.
Body and vehicular armor, including bullet and fragmentation-resistant garments used in law enforcement and military applications.
Body armor, including bullet-resistant garments used in law enforcement and military applications. This includes the retrofitting of vehicles using the same types of materials and some of the newer engineered in-place vehicle armor.
Each of these areas of the personal protective clothing/equipment industry is discussed. Within each segment-chemical/biological, fire and projectiles/ explosives-the regulations, raw materials, technologies, market size and anticipated growth are covered. Manufacturers are evaluated and listed at the conclusion of each of the appropriate sections.
Although there are frequent mentions in military documents and in the popular press concerning nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) or chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) equipment, this is excluded from our discussion. There is no truly protective clothing for severe nuclear threats such as battlefield nuclear explosions or a Chernobyl-level nuclear accident. When gamma rays are present in force and quantity, the effective absorbers might be lead or the misnomer "depleted" uranium. Respirators and clothing do help, but the best solution is situational awareness. The NBC misnomer continues; details of implied NBC are not included in this report.
The geographic scope of this report is the U.S. market.
The author of the original (2011) report on which this report is based is Anna Welch Crull, a chemist and private consultant experienced in electrochemistry, polymers, membrane materials and advanced materials. Ms. Crull has worked with BCC Research for more than 30 years and has authored more than 112 technical/marketing reports, helped establish 10 technical newsletters, and assisted in numerous special consulting studies and conferences for more than 35 corporations and intelligence for U.S. government entities. She has worked for the U.S. Army Materials Command on rocket technology, propellants and explosives. Ms. Crull is a graduate of the School of Engineering, University of Mississippi, and holds a Master's Degree in Chemistry from the University of Missouri.
The analyst responsible for updating the report is Andrew McWilliams, a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel LLC. Mr. McWilliams is the author or co-author of numerous other BCC Research studies, including studies in related fields such as AVM023E Smart Materials and Their Applications: Technologies and Global Markets; AVM050B Smart and Interactive Textiles; AVM060C Specialty Fibers: Technologies and Global Markets; AVM085A Protective Sports Equipment: The North American Market; and NAN021F Global Markets for Nanocomposites, Nanoparticles, Nanoclays, and Nanotubes.
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