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Studies by AMBACO suggest that the Brazilian composites segment had a turnover of R$ 2.24 billion (US$ 1.25 billion) in 2009, an increase of 0.7% on the previous year.
“The economic crisis, especially in the first half, compromised the performance of our major customers, which is the case of the transportation industry. But the economy as a whole has recovered in recent months and pulled up our sales”, says Gilmar Lima, president of the Brazilian Composite Materials Association (ABMACO).
According to ABMACO, the demand for composite materials increased 28% in the second half compared to the first, totalling 102,000 tons.
Among the major consumer segments, civil construction was once again the leader – responsible for 46% of the total processed. The energy market was second with 31%. Automakers, especially those that manufacture buses, trucks and agricultural vehicles, fell to the third place, with a 12% share.
In terms of sales, the transportation sector came first with 33%, followed by energy (23%) and construction (18%). This is due to the higher value added from parts used in vehicles – such as bumpers and hoods – as well as wind blades, in contrast to water tanks, tiles and tubs.
As for manufacturing processes, manual technologies (hand lay-up and spray-up) consumed the most raw materials, making up 52% of the total, followed by infusion (27%), RTM (11%) and filament winding (3%).
Although the total volume consumed, 182,000 tons, indicates a decline of approximately 1% compared to last year’s result, Lima is positive regarding the performance of the sector. “To have revenue growth with lower consumption means that we are generating products with higher value-added and more technology. We shall remind that we came from a record growth rate in 2008, of 13.3%. And, unlike other segments, we did not go back to levels of two or three years ago”.
Next year, ABMACO expects the composites sector to earn 3% more than in 2009, totaling R$ 2.3 billion, whilst the number of jobs may reach 72,100.
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