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28th September 2015, Düsseldorf

Lightweight construction launches Composites Europe 2015 on growth trajectory

Lightweight construction represents one of the greatest opportunities and prospective growth areas for the fibre composites industry. Demand in Europe is on the rise, and the sector is looking to the future with optimism, especially in Germany, a hub of innovation with above-average increases in the production of lightweight materials.

The positive mood was reflected at the 10th Composites Europe edition, where the anniversary event set new records in terms of exhibitors, visitors and exhibition space, when it took place from 22-24 September.

Trade fair visitors are confirming the excellent economic prospects enjoyed by fibre-reinforced composites. © Composites Europe

Drawn to the Exhibition Centre in Stuttgart above all were lightweight construction experts from the automotive sector, aerospace, mechanical engineering, the sports and leisure industry, wind power, and the construction sector.

Composites market continues to grow

Glass-fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP) make up the composites industry's largest group of materials by far, with a share of over 95% of the total volume. GFRP production is on track to grow by 2.5% in 2015, reaching the highest level in eight years with an estimated 1.069 million tonnes. That's the finding of the current market report issued by the German reinforced-plastics industry association AVK, which was presented in Stuttgart.

Drawn to the Exhibition Centre in Stuttgart above all were lightweight construction experts. ©  Composites Europe

Thermoplastic materials such as GMT and LFT are posting above-average growth rates. In addition to developing new products, researchers are focussed on multi-material composites systems in structural components.

"The development of multi-material systems beyond individual materials groups remains one of the biggest challenges for the composites industry", said Dr Elmar Witten, the managing director of AVK.

Germany still top growth market

The highest growth rates are being posted by the composites industry in Germany: the largest market for fibre-reinforced plastics in Europe is set to grow by 6% in 2015, followed by the Eastern European countries (4%) and UK/Ireland (3%). The main purchasers continue to be the transport and construction sectors, followed by the electrical/electronics industry, and the sports and leisure industry.

Supplementing the exhibition area at Composites Europe was an extensive congress and lecture programme. © Composites Europe

Trade fair visitors are also confirming the excellent economic prospects enjoyed by fibre-reinforced composites: 72% of respondents expect their respective sectors to experience upward economic momentum in the next three to four years. Only 18% forecast their industry to stagnate.

Spotlight on lightweight construction

A representative survey of trade fair visitors has shown that lightweight construction represents one of the biggest challenge areas for the industries that use fibre-reinforced plastics. About half consider lightweight construction a priority when it comes to developing innovative components, followed by the reduction of materials costs, automation and shorter process cycles.

Supplementing the exhibition area at Composites Europe was an extensive congress and lecture programme that provided an outlook on the future of lightweight construction. Two new events premiered at Composites Europe: the 1st International Composites Congress and the bio!CAR Conference.

"Composites Europe is an indispensable market staple. The response has been excellent again this year. We consider Composites Europe our trade fair partner – now and in future," said Dr Elmar Witten, the management spokesman of Composites Germany.

www.composites-europe.com

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