By Steve Toloken, Plastics News China
Singapore -- For the plastics industry, two key trends worth watching in composites emerged from the JEC Asia show in Singapore: Asia's composites industry, including plastics, will outpace growth in North America and Europe, and globally, there's a big focus on using more thermoplastics in composites.
Asia's composites industry is projected to grow to 43 percent of global production by 2015, up from 38 percent in 2010, and account for more than 50 percent of demand.
Asia, however, still focuses on lower-value applications like pipes or storage tanks made with glass fibre, rather than higher-value, higher-tech applications with carbon fibre such as airplane body parts.
As a result, the industry there currently accounts for only about 31 percent of the global composites industry GDP of $97 billion, according to the Paris-based JEC Group, which claims to be the world's largest composites organization. It sponsored the JEC Asia show and conference, held 26 - 28 June.
Thermoplastics will be an increasingly important part of the composites sector, accounting for about 35 percent of industry volumes globally now, with growing interest by auto makers to meet lightweight and recyclability goals, said Frederic Reux, media director for JEC, in a presentation at the show.
"The automotive industry is really, really interested in thermoplastic (composites)," he said, although he noted that the composites makers should work on improving the efficiencies of manufacturing with thermoplastics. "There is a big, big challenge for us to penetrate the automotive industry."
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