Carbon fiber manufacturers are adding production capacity to meet an increasing number of high performance applications. Reinforced plastics reports on activities at some leading producers.

Market forecasts for composites continue to predict significant potential for carbon material. The most recent study from Carbon Composites e.V. – The Global CFRP Market 2016 – assumes a growth rate of 11–12% in coming years across all industries. Leading carbon fiber manufacturers are finding different ways to develop their businesses and expand the role of carbon fiber composites in an increasing number of applications.

The approach of SGL Group is to bundle its fiber and materials operations and offer customers a one-stop shop, as well as supporting them to develop new material solutions based on automated production processes. ‘We believe that carbon fiber reinforced plastics–and composite materials in general – will not replace aluminum and steel, but will find their place as part of the material mix of the future,’ says Andreas Wüllner, Head of Business Unit Composites – Fibers & Materials at SGL Group. ‘In particular, they will be used where the advantages of the material have the biggest impact and where, at the same time, integration into existing production processes is as easy as possible. In this way, composites will become increasingly established materials in many industries. However, new developments do not happen overnight. In the automotive sector the innovative use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics, for example in the BMW 7 series, have been developed over a certain period of time and are showing the way forward. The right material as well as a suitable component concept are crucial factors for success. Therefore, it is of particular importance that the material specialist and the customer work together very closely during the planning and realization of projects.’

This article appeared in the Jan/Feb issue of Reinforced Plastics.

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