The UK composites industry is ‘facing unprecedented challenges’ due to a dip in raw material availability, according to trade organization Composites UK. 

‘Due to a series of events, raw material availability is worsening across Europe and globally,’ it said in a press release. ‘Market demand remains high and this is driving material prices up at rates never previously seen. These feedstock cost increases are at a level that manufacturers cannot absorb and so finished product price rises are inevitable whilst the situation continues.’

According to the organization, all resin systems and speciality chemicals are affected, as well as imports of fiber reinforcements and catalysts.

Composites UK suggested that the raw material shortage is caused by a number of factors:

  • There is strong local demand in China and the effect of US sanctions on the Chinese industrial strategy has reduced availability of raw material from Asia – material is being used in China rather than exported.
  • The recent closure of the Suez Canal has added to the difficulties in importing bulk feedstock from Asia and the Middle East to Europe.
  • Record bad weather in the USA has caused the closure of multiple refinery and chemical processing plants with 100% loss of capacity for a number of products.
  • The oil price has doubled since December 2020.
  • Additional non-tariff costs related to the new customs arrangements with the EU are adding to the cost of imported raw material into the UK from Europe.

Composites UK notes that the steel and timber industries are also facing materials shortages.

This story uses material from Composites UK, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.