Driven by strong economic growth and urbanization across the emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region, the demand for advanced composites materials is expected to continue growing at a rapid rate as per India Infoline. In 2010, global composites production expanded by nearly 5% to reach 8 mln metric tons with the Asia Pacific region accounting for 38% of the total production volume, driven mainly by unprecedented market growth in China and India. According to the annual survey of the composites market conducted by JEC, Asian production is projected to make up 43% of the global composites manufacturing output by 2015.
“The composites market is flourishing worldwide and a lot of this growth will continue to be fueled by industrial developments in Asia,” says Frédérique Mutel, President and CEO of JEC Group. “Market demand for the use of advanced composites is increasing across a wide spectrum of applications, and we expect to see sustained growth for composites in the electrical and electronics, automotive, and aeronautics industry segments over the next five years.”
Based on JEC’s annual survey, the adoption of composites materials in automotive end-use currently stands at around 6% of a vehicle’s weight. This level of penetration is expected to increase, as advanced composites materials can help automakers to achieve significant weight reduction while cutting manufacturing cost. “Asia is driving the new growth paradigm for the global automotive industry, with China and India emerging as the two car markets that are showing the most potential,” Mutel explains. “JEC Asia 2011 will provide a varied display of new material developments such as long fiber reinforced composite structures that are revolutionizing automotive production. The key here is to also showcase how these composites innovations can be tailored to the Asian market.” The rapid pace of industrial developments in the Asia Pacific region is also driving up the demand for the use of process automation to improve manufacturing processes, especially for high value-added applications in aeronautics and wind energy.
In the wind energy segment, for instance, wind turbine manufacturers around the world are increasingly using robotics to potentially reduce the cost of blades by 40%, which would ultimately make wind energy more cost competitive in comparison with hydroelectric power. While only 30% of Asian manufacturing processes were automated in 2001, the market penetration for automated manufacturing solutions in the region has grown to 64% in 2010. “Automation is an important driver for technological progress in the composites industry, and JEC Asia 2011 will provide the platform for Asian visitors to be exposed to the latest means of integrating process automation into composites production,” Mutel adds. “Advanced automation technologies also enable Asian firms to differentiate themselves through adopting more sophisticated production methods.”