Composites Europe 2019 mirrors current situation in the industry

Composites Europe 2019 mirrors current situation in the industry
Credit: composites-europe.com

Composites Europe 2019 has summed up the event outcomes while we are looking into basalt fiber based solutions that were showcased at the trade fair.

According to Reed Exhibitions, the event organizer, some composite industry sectors are currently in crisis and that, of course, had an impact on the trade fair.

The leading trade fair in the German-speaking countries for fibre-reinforced plastics – sold mainly to customers in the automotive, aerospace, and plant and mechanical engineering industries – suffered from lower demand from both exhibitors and visitors this year.

In total, Reed Exhibitions registered 310 exhibitors (prior year: 354) and 7,581 visitors (prior year: 8,148) from 64 countries, a decrease of seven per cent.

Positive and negative signals that fiber-reinforced polymer industry sends

Two industries – both key buyers of glass-fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP) – created most of the trade fair’s challenges: the automotive industry and the plant & mechanical engineering sector. The automotive industry suffers from declining sales and fears trade barriers while the plant & mechanical engineering sector is experiencing hard time due to the economy.

Positive signals, meanwhile, are coming from aerospace and increasing demand in the booming construction sector.

Trade fairs are seismographs of their industries – this is true as well for COMPOSITES EUROPE, which in an economically heterogeneous environment showed its importance for bringing new ideas and innovations to market,

says Michael Freter, managing director of Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH.

European glass fiber reinforced polymer market stagnates

The same conclusion is reflected in the market report presented in Stuttgart by AVK – Federation of Reinforced Plastics e.V. After years of growth, it found, the market for glass-fibre reinforced plastics in Europe has stagnated in 2019. Total production volume in 2019 is on track to remain flat compared to the prior year, at 1.141 million metric tonnes.

Construction/infrastructure and the transport sector still are the two main application areas for GFRP. However, the current sales crisis in the automotive sector allows us to consider construction as a most promising sector in the near future.

The exhibitors that showcased basalt fiber and basalt composites

Basaltex (Belgium) came to Stuttgart with BASALTEX BAS1101 prepreg that was designed as fire barrier in composites for public transport, aviation, maritime, automotive as well as construction.

It is a 100% ecological and environmental friendly basalt prepreg that is self-extinguishing with low heat and smoke release. It is certified and approved according to the fire test procedure by:

  • International Maritime Organisation (IMO FTP Code)
  • EN 45545-2 (for rail transport)
  • FAR 25.853 (for air transport)

Furthermore, Basaltex offered woven and non-crimp basalt fiber fabrics as reinforcement for composites.

Credit: composites-europe.com

Tissa Glasweberei AG (Switzerland) has been producing technical fabrics to meet customer-specific requirements for over fifty years. Unidirectional, bidirectional and non-crimp fabrics (NFC) without ondulation, multi-layer fabrics, open mesh and multifunctional hybrid fabrics in weights of 50 – 2,500 grams per square metre.

Tissa uses the following materials:

  • Glass: E, ECR, AR, S and other types
  • Carbon
  • Basalt
  • Aramid
  • High-performance fibres, PES, PA, PP, Dyneema, Zylon etc.
  • Grilon MS

Dehondt Composites (France), a spin-off of Groupe Dehondt, global leader in flax fiber production. It was founded in 2016 to bring industrial progress in the field of eco-composites solutions. The company offers: bio-sourced and hybrid impregnated products, organo sheets and sandwich panels.

The manufacturer develops and produces custom-made products based on different fiber types: natural fibres, glass, carbon, basalt, etc. Pilot and pre-series manufacturing is possible as well.

Isomatex (Belgium) exhibited proprietary basalt fiber and materials. The producer is well-known for unique fiber reinforcement FILAVA™ used for high performance applications. Thanks to a genuine and innovative treatment of igneous material, FILAVA™ guarantees original mechanical, thermal and chemical properties.

Isomatex is expanding their product line and offers non-woven fabrics for very high temperatures (up to 950°C) or any kind of woven fabrics having very interesting mechanical properties.

The Yaroslavl Plant of Composite Materials represented Russia at the trade show. It supplies FRP composite rebar, composite grids and bending FRP composite elements made of glass fiber reinforced plastics, basalt fiber reinforced plastics, glass roving and basalt roving.

Germany-located companies at Composites Europe 2019

LiCoMo GmbH (Döbeln,Germany) demonstrated the possibilities of its production facility. The company produces:

  • profiles, pipes and shafts made of textile semi-finished products based on basalt, aramid, glass, carbon fibers using the following processes: low pressure, injection, filament winding and prepreg autoclave.
  • High pressure vessels and cylinders produced using automated filament winding process. This ensures a high degree of repeatability with respect to fiber orientation, process accuracy and reliability. The materials used include carbon fiber, glass, aramid and basalt fiber, dry semi-finished products and prepregs, various matrix polymers and liners made of polymer or metal.
  • Sheets made of carbon, glass fibers and sandwich structures from textile semi-finished products based on carbon, glass, basalt and aramid fibers. The processes of cold and hot pressure or injection and infusion are most often used.
Credit: composites-europe.com

Fibtex GmbH showcased technical fibers and non-woven materials made of glass and basalt fibers for application in the sections of isolation, fire protection, temperature stability and noise reduction and also smart solutions from recycled materials

SILTEX FuIH GmbH & Co. KG Flecht-u. Isoliertechnologie (Bavaria) has been positioned in the market with its braids (sleeves, tapes and cords) since 1956. SILTEX is working with innovative materials such as carbon, aramid, glass, polyamid, basalt, flax (more than 80 fibres on stock) and over 300 braiding machines enabling them to develop novel products and ensure excellent technical achievements, innovation and reliability.

Weiss Chemie + Technik GmbH & Co. KG (Hessen) featured adhesives and sandwich panels made of several materials including basalt fiber. The manufacturer supplies products throughout Europe as well as to China, Russia and the US.

Schwarzwälder textile factory Heinrich Kautzmann GmbH develops and produces high-quality fibers for different industries and applications. Continuous fibers, short cut fibers, randomly-oriented fibers, roving and wovens are used as fillers for different materials. The factory processes all fibre materials from natural fibers to synthetic fibers through to high-tech fibers. It also offers reinforcing fiber fillers made of basalt.

The ThermoPre eV industrial research cluster is part of Chemnitz Alliance Textile Lightweight Construction (ATL). The thermoPre® portfolio includes various textile reinforcement structures, partly and fully consolidated fibre-reinforced prepregs, robust multiple layer composites, new technologies, innovative machines, sample components, expertise in the field of calculating and design work, but also compact, interdisciplinary expertise along the complete value-added chain.

Textile reinforcement structures with single-dimensional (rovings) or multi-dimensional designs (textile fabrics) are used to produce the new thermoPre® prepegs. Hybrid structures with an integrated thermoplastic matrix can be processed too. All the reinforced fibre types like glass, carbon, aramid and basalt fibres and all the thermoplastic mass and high-performance plastics can be used. Applications in all industrial fields are conceivable for the new thermoPre® material: automobile industry, wind turbines, interior panelling parts for railway vehicles etc.

PulNet — is a network for lightweight pultruded structures that currently unites 18 partners from industry and science who are working together on innovative developments and the establishment of the pultrusion process. The network includes DBF Deutsche Basalt Faser GmbH (Sangerhausen), a manufacturer of basalt fiber, and basalt fiber-based products and composites.

The next 15th COMPOSITES EUROPE trade show will be held in Stuttgart, November 10-12, 2020.

The organizers have already started preparations for the anniversary event.

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