Composites Europe notes process chain cooperations are accelerating composites industry growth

Composites Europe this year highlighted the coordinated processing and production processes being developed in the marketplace.

Werner Loscheider is the is head of Unit IVB4 at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy and New Materials (Berlin, Germany). He encourages attendees to Composites Europe’s Lightweight Technology Forum to debate with him the possibilities of how his ministry can support the industry, acknowledging that automotive, aviation, wind industry, boatbuilding and construction can no longer do without glass and carbon fiber reinforced plastics (GRP and CFRP).

AVK - Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e.V. (Federation of Reinforced Plastics), published its annual market report on glass-fiber-reinforced plastics (GRP), noting growth for the sixth year in a row, this time by 2% in 2018 over the previous year to 1.141 million tonnes. Germany will remain the largest manufacturer of GRP composites at 229 kilotons in 2018, although growth will lag behind the overall European trend. On the material side, the thermoplastic materials are again growing at an above-average rate.

As in previous years, the GFK Market Report 2018 analyzes the countries in Europe whose production volumes can be validly recorded and Turkey, which is reported separately. All glass fiber reinforced plastics with a thermosetting matrix are included, as are glass mat reinforced thermoplastics (GMT) and long fiber reinforced thermoplastics (LFT). The European production volume for short fiber reinforced thermoplastics is only available in total and is shown separately.

 

Processing and manufacturing processes are moving into the focus of the fair

Composites Europe’s new "Process Live" format this year highlighted the coordinated processing and production processes being developed in the marketplace. Machine and plant engineers presented their ideas in common exhibition areas. There were also cross-border collaborations, such as the cutting specialist Gunnar (Altstätten, Switzerland), the composites automation expert Airborne (The Hague, Netherlands) and the gripping system provider Schmalz (Glatten, Germany). Together they represented the entire value chain from roll material to the finished fiber-reinforced composite component in a combined production cell.

"Collaboration among processors is becoming increasingly close, and these collaborations within the process chain are driving the growth of the composites industry, and we want to make that clear with the new Process Live format," explains Composites Europe event director Olaf Freier.

The research focus of the industry was also on display via the use of GRP and CFRP in multi-material systems. Numerous presentations at the Lightweight Technologies Forum showed how composites in the material mix with other materials play to their strengths in hybrid structural components.


This post is courtesy of the CompositesWorld and Springer lightweight.design magazine media partnership. For more information about Springer and lightweight.design, go to https://www.springerprofessional.de/en/link/12141380