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JEC World
Techtextil NA & TexProcess

5th November 2009, Stuttgart

Composites Europe shows further growth surge

Composites EuropeComposites Europe the European trade fair for the composites industry has once again registered noticeable gains at this year’s event which was held in Stuttgart from 27 to 29 October. With a 15% increase in exhibitor numbers and a 48% increase in trade visitors compared to the previous event, the show continues on its successful course unhampered. A total of 313 exhibitors from 25 countries and 6,120 trade visitors came to the fourth edition of the show.

“Composites Europe again proved a European impulse-giver for the composites industry“, said Hans-Joachim Erbel, Managing Director of the organisers Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH, at the close of the three-day fair.

“In a difficult economic environment, Composites Europe, which can also be considered an innovation barometer, sends important impulses to stimulate the industry. Many of the innovations presented are ready for serial production or about to be launched onto the market and will therefore find new customers in the near future “, says Volker Fritz, President of the European industry association EuCIA, a partner of the show. 

According to a survey taken by an independent market research institute at the show, more than 60% of the companies interviewed expect a pronounced increase in orders and another 27% expect the economic situation to remain at least stable. Fewer than 10% of companies assume that the sales situation in the composites sector will deteriorate further.   

Organisers say that intentions to invest match these high expectations. “One in three companies came to Stuttgart with concrete projects“, says Markus Jessberger, Event Director with Reed Exhibitions Deutschland. “Almost 20 percent of these came with investment projects worth more than € 200,000 and another 17% had projects with a value in excess of € 1m.” The focus of interest was on raw materials, production and reinforcement technologies, but also on hybrid materials, semi-finished and finished products, according to the organisers. 

Visitors to the show came from both the composites sector and the application industries. Among the latter, almost every second visitor came from the automotive sector (44%), followed by the aircraft and aerospace industry (35%), building and construction (19%), ship and boatbuilding (18%) and wind park construction (17%). “For us, Composites Europe provides access to a specialist audience we cannot reach in this composition at any comparable trade fair“, says Jürgen Grimm, Managing Director with Weiss Chemie & Technik GmbH. 

Dr. Elmar Witten, Managing Director of AVK – Federation of Reinforced Plastics, sees the composites industry facing three major challenges. “The image and level of recognition of materials, innovation in products and processes and proof of sustainability of reinforced plastics – these are the challenges every company must take up. Doing so will create good prospects for the future and growth opportunities in the composites market “, Witten said.     

International AVK Conference – biomaterials a focal topic

Now in its fourth year, the event started with the international AVK Conference numbering more than 350 participants. “The AVK Conference, despite the difficult situation in the composites industry, met with a positive echo“, was the satisfied comment from AVK Managing Director Dr. Elmar Witten. No fewer than 35 lectures in three sessions featured in the two-day programme. Biomaterials were one focal topic, with the nova-Institut (Hürth) staging its Biomaterials Congress as part of the AVK Conference for the first time. Green materials were also the theme at the Bio Materials Pavilion which, with the support of the nova-Institut, the European industry association EuCIA and NetComposites, displayed the latest materials developments in structural and multifunctional construction elements made from wood and cellulose fibre-reinforced composites. 

Presentation of the AVK Innovation Awards and Composites Pioneer Award

Once again, AVK presented its innovation award this year for outstanding developments in the area of reinforced plastics. Five winners altogether were awarded a prize in four categories. In the industrial category, Volkswagen AG and Dresden Technical University shared the first place with the BMW Group; in the environmental category, the happy winner is DSM B.V., and the University Award went to the Department of Plastics Processing of RWTH Aachen (IKV).  A special award was granted by AVK to cpm composite products mücke for the ‘SplashCar’ .   

For its pioneering role in the field of natural fibre-reinforced plastics the BioConcept Car project won the Composites Pioneer Award 2009. The project run by Four Motors GmbH from Reutlingen competes successfully in long-distance challenges with racing cars made from natural fibre-reinforced plastics.  

Composites Europe 2010 in Essen

As in previous years, Composites Europe 2010 will be held in parallel with the Aluminium World Fair and Congress from 14 to 16 September 2010 in Essen. At this stage, organisers say that  70% of the exhibition space in the Essen Exhibition Centre is already booked.  

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