COMPOSITES EUROPE 2014 sets records - Automotive and construction sectors drive growth spurt
- 10,186 visitors (+ 25%)
- 419 exhibitors (+ 7%)
- Increase in international participation
- Transport and construction sectors stimulate growth
The European composites market is still growing in 2014 – by 2% in the largest segment, glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), which exceeds the expectations of some in the industry. That’s the result of the latest market report presented by the industry association AVK at the start of COMPOSITES EUROPE in Düsseldorf. According to the report, steady above-average growth in markets such as Germany, the UK, Ireland and the Eastern European states contributes to the sector’s positive outlook. Playing a key role in this area is strong demand from the main customers: the transport and construction sectors.
“The automotive industry in particular has been generating new momentum with positive spillover on composites manufacturers and suppliers. Thermoplastic materials benefit more than other areas from new applications and current European market dynamics”, says AVK Managing Director Dr. Elmar Witten.
This sustained upward trend was also reflected at this year’s COMPOSITES EUROPE in Düsseldorf, which set new records thanks to significantly higher numbers of visitors (+ 25%) and exhibitors (+ 7%).
Attending the event at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre from 7 to 9 October were 419 exhibitors (last Düsseldorf event in 2012: 392) from 27 nations and 10,186 visitors (2012: 8,131). Leading composites manufacturers and processors, equipment manufacturers and research institutes showcased their goods and services at the ninth COMPOSITES EUROPE. The focus of the trade fair, lecture programme and concurrent AVK Conference was on optimising processes that enable high-volume composites manufacturing processes.
Mechanical engineering benefits from booming composites sector
At the same time, COMPOSITES EUROPE demonstrated how the mechanical engineering sector benefits from the demand for composites. “The prospects for mechanical engineering in the area of composites are very good. At COMPOSITES EUROPE, one can see the critical role mechanical engineering plays in automation and what our industry can contribute”, says Dr. Walter Begemann from the VDMA Forum Composite Technology. “The trade fair and its exhibitors provide critical guidance to the sector”, adds Begemann.
“Above all, the exchange between industry and science is becoming more and more important”, says Michael Köhler, the event director of COMPOSITES EUROPE. The trade fair highlighted a range of original ideas at the new “Industry meets Science” special area. Developed in cooperation with RWTH Aachen’s IKV, the event is designed to present cutting-edge scientific developments. Additionally, the trade fair expanded its portfolio of offerings this year by adding a new special area dedicated to biocomposites and exhibition tours centred on wind energy.
Transport and construction sectors continue to stimulate growth for GRPs and CFRPs
“I’m certain the development at BMW opened the door for the boom in the composites sector”, says Erich Fries, the director of KraussMaffei’s composites unit, adding that the RTM process proved it’s possible to economically produce fibre-reinforced plastics even in large quantities.
This development will also benefit the CFRP market, whose growth rate will stabilise around 10% over the next few years, according to the latest market report issued by the industry cluster Carbon Composites (CCeV). This outcome is possible thanks to steadily increasing demand from sectors such as aeronautics, wind energy, and sports and leisure. Automotive engineering and construction are two more market segments assumed to harbour considerable growth potential.
The degree to which the transport sector propels the composites industry forward becomes evident as well in the number of trade fair visitors representing various corporate design and development departments: half (51%) hailed from the automotive sector, followed by aeronautics (28%), mechanical engineering, construction and wind energy.
Almost half of all COMPOSITES EUROPE visitors came from outside Germany (45%). “This shows that the trade fair has developed into an indispensable high-tech exchange, a place for the industry to trade mostly with its ideas of tomorrow”, says Hans-Joachim Erbel, CEO of trade fair organiser Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH. Peter Egger from the Austrian plastics machinery manufacturer ENGEL also emphasises the trade fair’s significance for the sector: “We met all the OEMs that are important to us. The trade fair is the right event for us when it comes to positioning our company on the composites market.”
The sector’s future prospects are somewhat nuanced but generally positive. A representative survey of trade fair visitors confirmed that view. When asked about their sector’s medium-term economic development perspectives over the next four years, 64% of visitors said they expect moderate to strong growth. A majority of visitors surveyed consider China and North America key additional growth markets outside of Europe.
Premiere of the Composites Germany Conference 2015 in Stuttgart
The trade association Composites Germany also seeks to enhance the sector’s international character. Starting in 2015, for example, the group will launch a new supplement to COMPOSITES Europe, a new international conference. An announcement to that effect was made in Düsseldorf by the four participating industry associations: AVK, Carbon Composites (CCeV), CFK Valley Stade (CFK-Valley) and the VDMA Forum Composite Technology. The Composites Germany Conference will replace the AVK Conference, which has served as COMPOSITES EUROPE’s kick-off event for nine years. “Germany is the cross-sectoral leader among providers of composites materials for lightweight construction”, says Dr. Michael Effing, the chairman of the board of Composites Germany, adding that the composites industry is a key sector bolstering Germany’s status as an economic powerhouse. “Under no circumstances do we want to give up this status”, Effing says. Highlighted themes at the conference, which will be designed with an international audience in mind, will be innovation factors such as efficient processes, and de jure and de facto standardisation.
The next, tenth COMPOSITES EUROPE will take place in Stuttgart from 22 to 24 September 2015 – concurrently with the second HYBRID Expo.
About COMPOSITES EUROPE:
Taking place annually, COMPOSITES EUROPE alternates locations between Stuttgart and Düsseldorf. COMPOSITES EUROPE is organised by trade fair organiser Reed Exhibitions in cooperation with the European industry association EuCIA, the German Federation for Reinforced Plastics AVK, the VDMA Forum Composite Technology and the international trade magazine Reinforced Plastic. This year’s event took place at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre as a parallel event to the leading international trade fair ALUMINIUM, which set new records of its own.
The visitor, exhibitor and floor space figures of this trade fair are calculated and certified according to the uniform definitions published by FKM – German Society for Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics.
“The automotive industry in particular has been generating new momentum with positive spillover on composites manufacturers and suppliers. Thermoplastic materials benefit more than other areas from new applications and current European market dynamics.”
Dr. Elmar Witten, Managing Director, AVK – German Federation for Reinforced Plastics
“The prospects for mechanical engineering in the area of composites are very good. At COMPOSITES EUROPE, one can see the critical role mechanical engineering plays in automation and what our industry can contribute. The trade fair and its exhibitors provide critical guidance to the sector.”
Dr. Walter Begemann, Project Director, VDMA Forum Composite Technology
“We are satisfied and we think that COMPOSITES EUROPE confirms itself as a valid annual meeting. The show is a very good place to meet the whole branch from all over Europe. All in all a very positive judgment.”
Prof. Roberto Frassine, President EuCIA
“COMPOSITES EUROPE has developed very well and is becoming more and more important for us. The automotive industry is particularly well represented among visitors, including every notable Japanese manufacturer this year – the likes of Toyota, Honda and Nissan. The economic outlook for Evonik in the area of composites is excellent; we expect double-digit growth in our market segment.”
Dr. Stephan Sprenger, Senior Market Development Manager Composites and Lightweight Construction, Evonik Hanse GmbH
“This was ENGEL’s COMPOSITES EUROPE debut – and exhibiting here was a good decision. We met all the OEMs that are important to us. The trade fair is the right event for us when it comes to positioning our company on the composites market.”
Peter Egger, Director, Technology Centre for Lightweight Composites, ENGEL AUSTRIA GmbH
“COMPOSITES EUROPE is an important trade fair for KraussMaffei. It provides us with a clear picture of how the market functions. As in the past, for example, the majority of visitors came to our stand with concrete project ideas. I’m certain the development at BMW opened the door for the boom in the composites sector. The RTM process proved it’s possible to economically produce fibre-reinforced plastics even in large quantities. But these days demand isn’t just limited to thermoset matrix systems. Thermoplastic solutions are clearly on the way up, and they enable entirely new possibilities as far as cost optimisation, functionalisation and recyclability are concerned.”
Erich Fries, Director, Business Unit Composites/Surfaces, KraussMaffei
“We’re moving toward a future-oriented, expanding market. COMPOSITES EUROPE is an absolute must-attend event for us in that environment.”
Roland Lutz, Owner, Gaugler & Lutz
“We made many relevant visitor contacts. This is the main reason for us to exhibit at COMPOSITES EUROPE. It’s the most important show of the branch in Germany.”
Martin Bailey, General Manager, JETCAM International s.a.r.l
“We use COMPOSITES EUROPE to get a feel for the market. Plus, we made many new contacts, including international ones from Japan and the US.”
Konrad Becker, Business Development Manager Composites, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
“The COMPOSITES EUROPE Show 2014 has been important to ASC in terms of exposure to the European market, particularly the German market which is an important and very large composites market. We’ve had a very good quality of visitors from actually all across the world. Not just Europe, we have had actually Chinese visitors, we have had Russian visitors, we’ve had some US visitors – that’s important for us because we have a parent company in the US. So exposure worldwide so the COMPOSITES EUROPE is not just a European one but it has a good coverage across the world.”
Paul Parsons, Managing Director, ASC Process Systems
“For us – meaning the Fraunhofer Institute or the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, respectively – COMPOSITES EUROPE presents a great opportunity to introduce our new R&D results. In particular, we have the option of addressing new groups of customers here and meeting new development partners. We consider the most important focal areas to be brand-new applications, new applications particularly for fibre-reinforced composites, and the targeted functionalisation and individualisation of products made from GRPs and CFRPs.”
Dr. rer. nat. Volker Zöllmer, Head of Department, Fraunhofer IFAM
“Our company Gunnar International loves participating in COMPOSITES EUROPE. We’ve been coming here for a few years already and really value COMPOSITES EUROPE as the only trade fair for fibre-reinforced composites in Germany. Good platform, many interesting visitors. We’ll be happy to return in future.”
Thomas Schwarz, Marketing Director, GUNNAR Advanced Cutting Solutions
“COMPOSITES EUROPE is an important trade fair for us. This was our third time exhibiting here. Visitor quality is very high. By and large, we’re satisfied and look forward to the trade fair in Stuttgart.”
Wilhelm Rupertsberger, Director, Plastics Competence Center, Fill
“A very successful trade fair for us, which brought all our customer contacts to us. We were able to make new contacts thanks to the trade fair’s excellent organisation. We look forward to taking part again when COMPOSITES EUROPE returns to Stuttgart in 2015.”
Dominik Dierkes, CEO & Managing Director, DD Compound
“In my opinion this Düsseldorf edition of COMPOSITES EUROPE confirms the validity of the exhibition. There were high-quality visitors from all across the world e.g. Japan, USA. In addition, the organisation of COMPOSITES EUROPE was very good and the staff very kind and helpful. To sum it up: We are happy – our opinion on the event is very positive!”
G. Rossi, G. Angeloni Srl
“To us, COMPOSITES EUROPE 2014 was a great show with an outstanding organisation and important clients for us onsite. We really appreciated the Italian customer care and the collaboration with AVK.”
A. Bedeschi, Riba Composites SRL
“Our feedback is positive! Besides great parking opportunities for exhibitors on the exhibition area, we really appreciated the friendly staff that was always ready with good advice and guidance on how we can get the most out of COMPOSITES EUROPE.”
R. Catenaro, Carbopress Composites SRL
“We are happy: The good organisation and the competent public suited to our expectations. From our side the first day was the best – but anyway we can be happy with a very good result.”
E. Dall´Argine, ELANTAS ITALIA SRL
“We are totally satisfied – not only with the number and quality of the visitors. We got a lot of amazing feedback for our production from the market which is about to lead towards us. This positive confirmation makes us smile.”