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Composites Europe Takes Off

19 November 2007

The second Composites Europe show took place on 6 to 8 November, attracting 200 exhibitors from 20 countries to the New Messe Stuttgart exhibition centre.

With 4100 trade visitors Composites Europe is now established as an important international event in the composites industry. More than one third of this year’s visitors came from outside of Germany, and of the international visitors one in ten was from outside of Europe.

“The increase in the total number of visitors is great, but an even bigger success is the number of visitors coming from the application industries,” said Britta Wirtz, Director of Composites Europe, towards the end of the three-day show. The trade show grew specifically in the main end-use industries of reinforced plastics, such as automotive (with visitors from Daimler, Porsche, Mitsubishi and Skoda), aerospace (visitors from EADS, Boeing, DLR and Bombardier), as well as in the building and construction, and sports and leisure sectors. These results demonstrate that the show successfully reached its industrial target groups. Organiser Reed Exhibitions also reports success in attracting visitors from small and medium-sized companies which manufacture products for the marine, electronics, and wind energy sectors.

Of these visitors, around one third were interested in raw materials, one third in semi-finished and finished products, and one third in the technology and services on display in Stuttgart. A significant percentage of visitors (60%) comprised engineers involved in R&D and managing directors.

The economic outlook for the composites industry is good. Nearly 65% of the companies surveyed during Composites Europe expect growth in the industry overall, and 80% expect growth in their company`s business. These are the same results shown by the AVK`s statistics for 2007. The German Federation for Reinforced Plastics expects an average growth in production of 6% in the European composites industry. Growth is also reported for natural fibre materials.

The prelude to Composites Europe was the International AVK Conference, Europe`s largest technical conference on thermoset and thermoplastic composites, which attracted 500 international attendees. As part of this annual meeting AVK presented its Innovation Awards for 2007. With these, the association rewards outstanding developments in the categories of Industry, Environmental Protection, and University. The winner of the Industry category was BMW for the development of a self-supporting CRP motorbike tail, and Möller Tech GmbH for the AquaCell process, which allows the production of foamed plastic components on conventional injection moulding machines using water as an economical blowing agent. In the Environment category the winner was Caverion GmbH for an energy-efficient process for a thermal exhaust air cleaning unit. The University prize was presented to the University of Erlangen/Nürnberg for the In-Mould-Forming (IMF) for the integrated manufacture of hybrid structures by an abbreviated process.

For the very first time, Composites Europe and its partners EuCIA, AVK and Reinforced Plastics honoured two pioneers in the field of composites. Prof. Dr. Richard Eppler and Rudolf Lindner developed the first composite glider exactly 50 years ago and so laid the foundation for the application of reinforced plastics in the aircraft industry.

Good marks for Composites Europe were given by both exhibitors and visitors. More than 83% of visitors rated the show as “good” or “very good.” The biggest compliment came from was the exhibitors; at the end of the show 80% of the 2007 exhibition space had been rebooked for the next show.

“It is our aim to grow the exhibition space again significantly next year,” says Hans-Joachim Erbel, Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH. “Composites Europe is now established in the arena of European industry shows. Because of this growth, we have reserved halls 10/11 and 12 for Composites Europe 2008, which takes place on 23 to 25 September alongside ALUMINIUM 2008 in Essen, Germany.”

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