The first joint AVK Conference/COMPOSITES EUROPE trade fair was held Sept. 20-22 in Essen, Germany. Official numbers are in: show organizers say the event drew 200 exhibitors and 3,700 people were in attendance during the three-day event. Sixty percent of the exhibitors and 58 percent of the visitors came from outside Germany, the latter primarily from the Benelux countries, Great Britain and France. Exhibitors that our European rep Sian Raynor and I spoke to felt that the visitors were different than those they have met at past European shows and, thus, offered many potential new customers. Looks like this new show, which will be held in Stuttgart in 2007, is here to stay.
Back in the U.S., the 2006 SPE Automotive Composites Conference in Detroit had its biggest, most international meeting ever, with 415 visitors. High gas prices and design opportunities are keeping all kinds of composite combinations in the news, as you'll read in our coverage of the event on p. 15. But the hottest news during that week was the announcement that Alan Mulally, the exec who led Boeing Commercial Airplanes through the tough post-9/11 slump, has replaced Bill Ford Jr. as president of Ford Motor Co. With all the talk about the American car companies needing to "reinvent"themselves, one wonders if composite materials will gain traction under Mulally's influence. He was at the helm when Boeing converted from mostly metal aircraft to the Boeing 777, which marked the first significant use of structural composites in a large commercial passenger plane. Then he led Boeing through the design of the new 787 Dreamliner. The 787's unprecedented 50+ percent composite construction is making possible the weight savings and fuel economy that have earned the 787 its equally unprecedented sales. This would be a winning combination at Ford as well.
CT is undergoing some welcome change of its own. I take great pleasure in announcing CT's new editor-in-chief Jeff Sloan, who will take on my editorial duties, freeing me to pursue several new and exciting projects as a full-time publisher. Previously, Jeff served as group publisher of the Plastics Group at Canon Communications, where he had the oversight of three industry publications - the industry leading Injection Molding Magazine, Modern Plastics Worldwide (the plastics market's longest-running publication) and Plastics Machinery & Auxiliaries. Jeff served as editor-in-chief of IMM from 2000 to 2003 and took over as editor of MPW when it was acquired by Canon. I've known Jeff since he broke into the plastics industry in 1990 as an editorial assistant and then became associate editor for Advanstar's now-defunct Plastics Machinery & Equipment magazine. At that time, Advanstar also published Advanced Composites magazine, which I served as publisher before starting High-Performance Composites in 1993, followed by CT in 1995. Jeff brings to CT an excellent understanding of both plastics and composites as well as a thorough knowledge of trade publishing.
This year, CT is one of the sponsors of the 36th annual SPE Innovation Awards, and Jeff will represent us on the Blue Ribbon Panel of judges during the second round of competition on Oct. 18, in Auburn, Mich.
I'll be traveling soon - along with our new editor-in-chief and the rest of the CT staff - to COMPOSITES & POLYCON 2006 and IBEX 2006. See you there!