Composites Index contracts for third month

The Composites Index experienced its third month of contracting activity in September, registering 47.3.


Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon


composites fabricating index

Business activity contracts on new orders and backlogs. A quickening contraction in business activity sent the Composites Index lower in September. A broadening contraction in backlogs and new orders more than offset gains from supplier delivery activity.


The Composites Index experienced its third month of contracting activity in September, registering 47.3. Index readings above 50 indicate expanding activity, while values below 50 indicate contracting activity. The further away a reading is from 50 the greater the change in activity. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying data found that the gauge for supplier deliveries was the only expanding component within the Index. Both new orders and backlog activity readings fell sharply to levels last experienced in mid-2016. The remaining components of the Index all registered mildly contracting activity levels. 

composites fabricating index Production and supplier delivery activity send contradicting messages. Production activity has reported contracting activity in two of the last three months, while supplier deliveries reported its 30th month of continuously expanding activity. The conflicting messages being sent by these components suggest a reconciliation must eventually occur.


For a second month, the export reading registered higher than new orders; however, because September’s figures were both contractionary — with total new orders reading four points lower — the implication is that both domestic and foreign orders for manufactured composites goods contracted.

The spread between production and new orders activity narrowed in September after significantly widening in the prior month; overall this appears to have done little to support backlog activity, which fell to a multi-year low.  In two of the last three months, production activity has contracted while supplier deliveries have experienced stable expansion, a trend that seems destined to change.

More information about the Composites Fabricating Index can be found at http://www.gardnerintelligence.com/


  • Out-of-autoclave prepregs: Hype or revolution?

    Oven-cured, vacuum-bagged prepregs show promise in production primary structures.

  • The matrix

    The matrix binds the fiber reinforcement, gives the composite component its shape and determines its surface quality. A composite matrix may be a polymer, ceramic, metal or carbon. Here’s a guide to selection.

  • The fiber

    The structural properties of composite materials are derived primarily from the fiber reinforcement. Fiber types, their manufacture, their uses and the end-market applications in which they find most use are described.