From Composites Europe 2018
Glass and carbon fibre reinforced plastics are in demand when lightweight and forward-looking solutions are called for. This trend towards lightweight construction is currently one of the strongest drivers for the composites industry. Just as strong are the impulses generated by the composites sector itself: the major technological advances in the manufacturing and processing chain enables this sector of industry to increasingly automate and shorten manufacturing processes. Both developments dominated this year’s edition of 13nd edition of Composites Europe 2018. Event organiser Reed Exhibitions registered 365 exhibitors from 30 nations, 8,148 visitors from 71 countries.
Growth of the European composites industry goes on
At present, the market for glass fibre reinforced plastics (GRP) is growing by 2% against the previous year to a volume of 1.141 million t. This is the result found by the annual market report of the industry association AVK – Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe, which was presented at the beginning of the trade show in Stuttgart. This means the composites industry is following overall economic developments.
"The outlook for the composites industry as a whole is good, the potential is enormous," says Dr. Elmar Witten, General Manager of AVK. The automotive sector, which is the most important market for selling fibre reinforced plastics in Europe today, is currently undergoing a fundamental change. In addition to higher requirements made on exhaust gas and emission values new drive concepts such as e-mobility are contributing to a restructuring of the sector and opening up new perspectives.
The lightweight construction theme plays a central role here, as Werner Lohscheider from the German Ministry of Economics and Energy stressed on the occasion of the opening of the "Lightweight Technologies Forum": "To us lightweight construction is a key technology we use to modernise and strengthen Germany as an industrial location – in a sustainable manner. After all, this is a broad and strong basis for adding value and creating jobs, also for today’s and tomorrow’s markets."
In the new "Process live" exhibition companies from mechanical and plant engineering industries presented coordinated processing and manufacturing processes. An example of this was the live demonstration by cutting specialist Gunnar (Switzerland), composite automation expert Airborne (Netherlands) and gripping system supplier Schmalz (Germany), who jointly presented the entire production and processing chain with reliable processes from the roll material to the finished layer structure of a fibre composite component in a combined production cell. The interlocking hardware components are completely interconnected on the software side. "Cooperation between processors is becoming ever closer. These cooperations within the process chain are accelerating the growth of the composites industry. We want to make this clear with our new 'Process live' format," says Olaf Freier, Event Director of Composites Europe.
Composites Europe and Foam Expo Europe join forces
From 2019 Foam Expo Europe, the trade fair and conference for the supply chain for industrial foam production, and Composites Europe, the European Trade Fair and Forum for Composites, Technology and Applications, will take place concurrently in Stuttgart. This was announced by the two organisers – Smarter Shows and Reed Exhibitions.
Together, the two fairs combine technologies and applications of composite materials with the complete foam production supply chain. The concurrent trade fair dates at the Stuttgart location are expected to offer synergies above all for the joint application industries such as automotive, aviation, the construction sector and the sports and leisure industry. Visitors will find a wide range of lightweight construction materials and processing technologies.
Starting in 2019, Foam Expo Europe will be held in parallel with Composites for the first time. Foam Expo Europe, which celebrated its premiere this year, presents the entire foam supply chain and is the marketplace for manufacturers and buyers of industrial foams, foam products and services. The exhibition will focus on moulded, rigid and flexible foam solutions, including raw materials, chemicals, equipment and machinery.
Together, the two trade fairs will link the technologies and applications of composite materials with the entire foam production supply chain. The concurrent dates in Stuttgart offer great synergy potential, especially for joint application industries such as automotive, aviation, construction and the sports and leisure industries.
Composites Europe & Foam Expo Europe 2019