Composites Europe 2012 Reports Continued Growth

16 October 2012

Composites Europe 2012 demonstrated how successfully and efficiently the composites sector is working with this year's trade fair, held in Düsseldorf, Germany, for the first time, from 9 to 11 October, focused on the topics of automation and mass production.

The show saw 8,040 visitors (up from 7,080 in 2011) and 426 exhibitors (previously 351) resulting in new records for the 7th Composites Europe. From leading manufacturers and processors of composite materials to research organisations and all the way through to major networks such as Carbon Composites or, for the first time, CFK Valley Stade; the industry's key players were present in Düsseldorf and demonstrated that the composites industry is developing into a key industry.

According to the show organisers, Reed Exhibitions, in spite of the growth in global demand, the European composites market currently presents a varied picture. The development of the market for glass fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP) in Europe follows overall economic development rather closely. This is shown by the latest market report presented by the German industry association AVK - Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe in Düsseldorf during its International Conference on the eve of Composites Europe. The most pronounced growth in GFRP production in Europe in 2012 is to be found in Germany, the United Kingdom, as well as in some countries in Eastern Europe. "Compared to other important sales and application markets for composites, Germany is recording good growth figures this year," says AVK Managing Director, Dr. Elmar Witten.

Reed says the prospects for carbon-reinforced plastics are far better which, however, currently still only account for about 1-2% of the entire composites market. The global production volume of high-strength CFP parts will grow by 17 percent per year until 2020. At the same time, production costs will probably decrease by 30 %. These are the findings of the current study "Series production of high-strength fibre composite components - Prospects for German engineering", compiled by the VDMA Forum Composite Technology and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and presented at Composites Europe.

This year, the VDMA Forum Composite Technology has become the new institutional patron of Composites Europe which, since its premiere six years ago, has also been supported by the European industry association EUCIA and by AVK, "So as to demonstrate the strength of the German mechanical and plant engineering sector as a technology supplier, we have quite specifically chosen Composites Europe as our presentation platform. As the new partner of the trade fair, the VDMA Forum Composites is very satisfied. Visitor quality at Composites Europe was excellent," said Dr. Walter Begemann, Project Manager of the VDMA Forum Composite Technology.

One highlight in the trade fair's lecture programme was the VDMA Experts Forum: under the heading "Process stages towards mass production", the VDMA Forum Composite Technology Forum chaired presentations on the topic of "automation".

Altogether, the mechanical and plant engineering sector was represented with more than 150 exhibitors at this year's trade fair. In addition, the leading composites manufacturers and processors as well as a large number of research organisations presented examples of innovative applications from the automotive construction, aviation and building and construction sectors.

"Composites Europe has acquired a distinctive profile as an innovation show of one of the most important industries of the future", says Hans-Joachim Erbel, CEO with trade fair organiser Reed. EuCIA President, Volker Fritz, was also satisfied "Composites Europe is a big success story. Moving the trade fair to Düsseldorf really hit the mark."

The visitors of Composites Europe came from the manufacturing, processing and applications sectors. Among the users of composites, designers from the automotive sector were the largest group, followed by the aviation sector. When interviewed during the trade fair by a market research organisation on the economic prospects, a majority of trade fair visitors were optimistic about the industry's economic development prospects 66 percent of visitors interviewed expect the economic situation to recover in the medium term. The transport sector continues to be an important growth driver for the composites market. Especially for the large-scale introduction of electrically powered cars, composites continue to be indispensable.

The next Composites Europe will take place from 17 - 19 September 2013 in Stuttgart. At the same time, the new HYBRID Expo trade fair will celebrate its premiere at the Stuttgart Exhibition Centre. With this trade fair for hybrid materials, organiser Reed Exhibitions further expands its portfolio of materials and lightweight construction trade fairs.

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