I haven't seen this much activity and interest in the composites industry since the early '90s … and then, it was based almost solely upon aerospace, primarily in the military. We look back on it as a bubble we all knew had to burst, since neither sky-high military budgets nor the "lightweight at any cost" attitude could continue indefinitely.
This time is different. Less expensive processes, automation and improved materials have made composites viable for a much broader array of end uses, from spacecraft to fence posts. Higher fuel prices are a reality that will drive demand for lighter vehicles of all types. Composites also are in great demand for alternative energy sources, such as wind turbines, and will soon make a large impact on more traditional energy sources, particularly in the area of ultra-deepwater offshore oil drilling. At the same time, the high price of metals — based on global demand that will remain high for years to come — make composites all the more attractive.
With so much happening, we've taken steps to deliver a much more immediate and complete source of news to our readers. The High-Performance Composites staff is proud to announce our new newsletter, Compositesworld.com Weekly. As a bi-monthly publication, HPC's format does not lend itself to delivering up-to-the-minute news. HPC has always focused on in-depth reporting about the industry. But since our staff keeps abreast of all the current happenings, we've often wished we had a vehicle to deliver the latest news. Now we do! Compositesworld.com Weekly will present newsworthy stories from around the world in a summary format for a quick read, with a "click through" to additional information.
If you have not yet received the newsletter and would like to, go to please sign up. If you want to send an item to be considered for inclusion in the week's news — e-mail the item (photos welcome!) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you find the newsletter useful. We are interested in your comments and suggestions, as well. E-mail your comments to me, at email@example.com, or Jeff Everett, our IT/Web administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
With so much going on, we had a tough time finding room for all the news in this issue. As a result, our Subscription Form, normally found in the middle of the magazine, had to be left out. For those who want to you may subscribe or renew a subscription online.
As I write this, I'm packing for our annual trip to Asia for the RP Asia Show in Bangkok, Thailand and the China Composites Expo, taking place this year in Guangzhou, China. Expect reports on both in Compositesworld.com Weekly.
By the way, that's me in the photo near the end of my 530-mile walk through Colorado and Wyoming to my mother's home. It was a great experience, but I'm glad I'm flying to Asia. I'll probably still be limping a bit in Bangkok and Guangzhou.
P.S. Industry suppliers: Now is the time to update your FREE company listing for SOURCEBOOK 2006. As this issue goes to press we're sending a reminder postcard and an e-mail to all of you who have listed in the SOURCEBOOK in recent years. Look for "SOURCEBOOK 2006" in the subject line, then simply click on the provided link to go directly to your listing form. If you've never listed with us before, you may register here and simply follow the instructions. Don't miss this opportunity to list your company in what is now the only composites industry directory published both in print and online!