CompositesWorld Weekly to survey readers on fabrication trends

CWW wants to know: Why are composites industry suppliers and distributors morphing into fabricators? And what effect is that having on their customers?

When the staff of CompositesWorld Weekly’s sister print publication Composites Technology recently gathered for its annual look at composites industry stories on the horizon, a recent article written by CT senior editor Ginger Gardiner, titled “The structural grid: Prefabrication,” put into sharp relief what appears to be a growing trend. It told the developing story of distributors to the boatbuilding industry who are making a transition from cutting and kitting of core materials and reinforcement fabrics to construction of significant portions of internal boat structures (see CT February 2013, p. 30).

CT soon saw that materials suppliers and distributors — purveyors of not just core and fabric, but tooling, software and other items necessary to the production of finished composite parts in a number of end markets — are venturing into parts manufacturing, either directly or through subsidiaries. They are electing, at least to a degree, to compete with their customers.

The result was a commentary in the April issue of CT, which asked, “Why are suppliers morphing into fabricators?” At its end, CT asked: Where does that leave the suppliers’ customers — composite parts manufacturers?

CWW wants to know. Using the services of www.surveymonkey.com, we’re asking a select group of CWW readers to participate in an online survey to measure the composites industry’s pulse on this subject. Survey invitations will arrive Wednesday, April 9, with “CompositesWorld Survey: Why are suppliers morphing into fabricators?” in the subject line.

The names and company affiliations of those who respond to the survey will be kept in confidence. Survey results will be reported only statistically, as a way of gauging the trend’s impact and direction. We’ll summarize the survey findings in the June issue of Composites Technology and provide a link to the a full online report on the results in the June 3 edition of the CWW e-newsletter.

CWW readers (survey selectees or not) who would like to comment directly on this subject to may do so by e-mailing CT managing editor Mike Musselman (mike@compositesworld.com). Comments should be identified in the subject line with “Why are suppliers morphing into fabricators?”