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The Future of Thermoplastic Composites in Europe

  • Monday, 17th January 2005
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

A new, publicly-available study into the future of thermoplastic composites in Europe has just been published by the Coronet consortium – a European Commission funded network of 18 research and industrial partners spanning 9 European countries.

The aim of the study was to benchmark Europe’s current thermoplastic composites activities, forecast changes in thermoplastic composites activities and identify gaps in European research infrastructure against future requirements. There are 3 complimentary reports produced as an output of the work of this project, namely Competitive Benchmarking, Foresight Activity, and Identification of Future Research Needs.

In first of the 3 reports, Competitive Benchmarking, data was obtained on a total of 225 recent, current and future research projects, results and infrastructure in Europe, North America and the Rest of World, which was then analysed and summarised in tabular form by research area (materials, processing etc.) and by region. Key research and key infrastructures were then highlighted in each of the research areas and each of the regions, allowing a direct side-by-side comparison of the relative activity in each region. To ensure that the research database was well accessed and well-used, it was designed and created to allow online uploading, editing, searching and categorising of the data, integrated as a major new element within the Coronet network’s web site and can be found online at .

The 40-page report detailing the activities and findings of the Competitive Benchmarking can be found on both the Coronet and NetComposites web sites at the links below.

The second report, Foresight, provides a study into the possible futures for thermoplastic composites, Europe’s activities within it, and the infrastructures that are needed to support that research. This report suggests that the main issues affecting the future competitiveness of the thermoplastic composites industry are seen to be cost-effective manufacturing, environmental issues, performance and standards, awareness and education and business issues. Europe was found to have a very strong technology base at the research and supply level with creative, dynamic and innovative research teams. However, there is still an overall lack of materials knowledge (especially in viscoelastic, creep and temperature performance), leading to weak materials databases and hence modelling capability. The research on recyclability compared to metallic materials also needs to be strengthened. The 40-page report detailing the activities and findings of the Foresight Activity can be found on both the Coronet and NetComposites web sites at the links below. Foresight.pdf

The third and final report, Identification of Research Needs, maps current and planned research activities against the current and future requirements to give a picture of gaps in Europe’s current research portfolio and research infrastructure. In many cases, Europe’s current research and infrastructures match the future requirements. However, a number of gaps have been identified, both in Europe’s research portfolio and in its existing research infrastructure.

The report detailing the activities and findings of the Research Needs activity can be found on both the Coronet and NetComposites web sites at the links below. ResearchNeeds.pdf

This series of reports was written in 2004 by NetComposites as part of their role in the Coronet network, and have recently been made publicly available.

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