COMPOSITES 2013 promoA sunny week in Florida (a welcome contrast to the icy weather in the UK!) saw the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA)'s annual COMPOSITES trade show. 

The US industry was upbeat about prospects for this year and further ahead, and this feeling was backed up by the data. In the Opening Session, Chuck Kazmeirski of market research firm Lucintel said that the North American composites industry will grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of around 7% to 2018, and that in 2014 it will reach pre-recession (2008/2009) levels. (For further information see: US composites market on the up.

Alongside discussions about the economy and business prospects, a number of themes ran those the event, including the following three which I found most interesting:

  • the increasing use of life cycle assessments to determine the sustainability of composites compared with other materials;
  • the Federal Highway Adminstration (FHWA)'s Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) programme and what it means to composites; and
  • efficient manufacturing – whether aerospace, automotive, wind or construction, all industries are looking for more affordable, more efficient manufacturing processes and they are taking ideas from each other.  

And what about next year's show?

A lot of talk centred on the plans announced last year for the ACMA and SAMPE to combine their annual trade shows (see SAMPE and ACMA to launch joint trade show in 2014). We know that the combined event will be in the Fall of 2014 but the exact date and location are yet to be announced. (This will of course take it into direct competition with JEC's US event, launched in 2012; JEC Americas to launch in 2012.)

Most people I spoke to thought that this joint event would be bigger and better than the two separate shows. As one of the biggest composites markets in the world, the US deserves a healthy, vibrant annual event. Let's hope these two associations can work together to make this happen.

Amanda Jacob is the Editor of Reinforced Plastics magazine.