In 2016, sales in the Brazilian composites industry totalled US$810 million, 4% lower than in the previous year, reports the Latin American Composite Materials Association (ALMACO).
The consumption of raw materials fell 1.3%, to 159,000 tons. The industry recorded only 55% of plant occupancy, while the number of jobs fell by 4%, to 60,500.
According to Gilmar Lima, President of ALMACO, the industry was impacted by a slowdown in the wind power and construction sectors.
“Added to these factors are credit restrictions, the reduced number of product launches and the delay in the reaction of virtually all segments dedicated to composite moulding,” he says.
The manufacturing processes adopted by Brazilian composite moulders include manual technologies such as hand lay-up and spray-up, with a 52% market share, followed by automated systems such as RTM (12%), filament winding (9%), continuous lamination (7%), infusion (6%), pultrusion (5%) and BMC/SMC (5%).
The construction sector continued to lead materials consumption (36%), ahead of transportation (25%), corrosion/sanitation (17%), electricity (5%), wind power (4%) and nautical (4%). Setting aside the demand for epoxy-based materials, wind power leads with 95.6%.
ALMACO’s survey now includes information related to Latin America. According to this, the industry sector that consumes most composites in the region is sanitation/corrosion (32%), followed by construction (22%), transportation (18%), agribusiness (4%), nautical (5%) and textiles (4%). With a 50% share, manual processes ranked first, followed by continuous lamination (25%), filament winding (15%), RTM and infusion and SMC (5%).
According to ALMACO’s survey, the situation will not improve in 2017. Turnover for the Brazilian composites industry is expected to be around $775 million – a further drop of 4% – while the consumption of raw materials is anticipated to fall 2.5% to 155,000 tons.
“The main segments that drive the Brazilian composites market, such as transportation, agribusiness, road equipment, construction and wind power, are still undergoing a period of uncertainties,” reports Lima. “And even in segments that show a certain reaction, it is still quite slow.”
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