The benefits that composites bring for the sports and leisure sector are wide and varied. These materials score points with low weight, high resilience, bending stiffness, elasticity, almost free formability, resistance to corrosion and other weather conditions as well as the ability to absorb and pass on high amounts of energy.
At Composites Europe various exhibitors will be showcasing applications for composites as well as all the associated technologies and applications in the sports and leisure industries. Represented on site will be Tissa Glasweberei, which specialises in industrial textiles for winter sports, to name but one product, Karl Mayer with high-tech solutions for sports textiles, swimwear or shoes as well as Chem-Trend, a company that supports the production of clubs, golf balls, cycles and training equipment with its products. Furthermore, CMS Deutschland, HP Tec, Hufschmied Zerspanungssysteme, INEOS Styrolution Group GmbH, Innotect GmbH, MAKA Systems GmbH, Oxford Advanced Surfaces LTD and others will provide advice about their products and innovations in this area.
12% of FRP end up in the sports and leisure segmentSports and leisure are a stable market for fibre composites. According to the ‘Composites Market Report 2017’ some 15% or 167,700 tons of the annual GRP production of 1.118 m tons in Europe were consumed by this application industry last year. This percentage has remained at this same stable level for years now – an indication that the growth of this area corresponds to that of the market as a whole. Due to its strong user focus, however, it holds very great growth potential, say experts, provided producers succeed in creating innovations.
For CFP the Report for 2017 sees a global demand of just under 15,000 tons in the sports and leisure area – corresponding to some 12 percent of the total volume. By 2022 this value is expected by experts to rise to 21,000 tons. So only moderate but stable growth can be expected here. In terms of turnover the industry accounts for “only” 7 percent or US$ 1.36 billion while total sales generated with carbon composites amounted to US $ 19.31 billion.
Competition sports as a driver for developmentCFP, in particular, has been used in sports for decades now. Most of the time competition and/or professional sports have driven developments because these are all about getting those key milliseconds or millimetres for a head start. With the help of better materials the envelope is pushed further and further. And the necessary funds are also available thanks to powerful sponsors. At ever shorter intervals the initially unique ‘working tools’ of professionals are now also available to leisure athletes for mass sports in larger numbers.
The most important method for processing composites in the sports and leisure field is Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) – especially when large quantities are involved. Automation capacity, the use of various fibre and matrix materials as well as the adjustment of cycle times are just some of the benefits of RTM. Compared to other processes, however, the cycle times can only be minimised to a limited extent.