Europe is an important location, among others, due to its very specific and efficient cooperation and joint technological developments between research and industry. From country to country, the industrial organization as well as the research landscape varies. In this highly sophisticated production technology environment, complex materials and often multi-material technologies are constantly developed and improved, which enables automated mass production and advanced lightweight technologies to stay in high wage countries. In this context, Germany figures as a leading supplier for lightweight applications, with enormous strength in the manufacturing and mechanical engineering sectors, many strong and successful SMEs and numerous OEMs in all end markets present on the market. Key segments are traditionally automotive, aerospace, and electronics, but there is also a focus on wind energy and building and construction.

Traditionally, the transport sector with aerospace and automotive represents more than a third of the market. The B&I sector represents almost the same proportion, with a value in Europe of 8 billion euros, and where approximately 900,000 tons of composite materials are used. Examples of how composites can be used in the building industry can be seen by the Dubai-based Company AFFAN, which is making a large variety of buildings, ranging from large entrance areas of skyscrapers to complete logistic centers, museums, and even private villas in composites, using resin infusion and prepreg technologies with carbon and glass fiber reinforcements. While in the Middle East and Asia, the restrictions and standards are not as tight as in Europe or in Germany, it is expected, that the market, specifically in these regions as well as in South America, will grow even faster than in Europe. The most advanced use for composites in infrastructure is actually the rotor blades for wind turbines and the composite pipelines and vessels.

This article appeared in the July–August 2018 issue of Reinforced Plastics. Log in to your free profile to access the article.

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