The degree to which the transport sector propels the composites industry forward becomes evident as well in the number of trade fair visitors representing various corporate design and development departments: half (51%) hailed from the automotive sector, followed by aeronautics (28%), mechanical engineering, construction and wind energy.
Almost half of all Composites EuropeE visitors came from outside Germany (45%). "This shows that the trade fair has developed into an indispensable high-tech exchange, a place for the industry to trade mostly with its ideas of tomorrow", says Hans-Joachim Erbel, CEO of trade fair organiser Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH. Peter Egger from the Austrian plastics machinery manufacturer Engel also emphasises the trade fair’s significance for the sector: "We met all the OEMs that are important to us. The trade fair is the right event for us when it comes to positioning our company on the composites market."
The sector's future prospects are somewhat nuanced but generally positive. A representative survey of trade fair visitors confirmed that view. When asked about their sector’s medium-term economic development perspectives over the next four years, 64% of visitors said they expect moderate to strong growth. A majority of visitors surveyed consider China and North America key additional growth markets outside of Europe.
The trade association Composites Germany also seeks to enhance the sector’s international character. Starting in 2015, for example, the group will launch a new supplement to Composites Europe, a new international conference. An announcement to that effect was made in Düsseldorf by the four participating industry associations: AVK, Carbon Composites (CCeV), CFK Valley Stade (CFK-Valley) and the VDMA Forum Composite Technology. The Composites Germany Conference will replace the AVK Conference, which has served as Composites Europe's kick-off event for nine years. "Germany is the cross-sectoral leader among providers of composites materials for lightweight construction", says Dr. Michael Effing, the chairman of the board of Composites Germany, adding that the composites industry is a key sector bolstering Germany's status as an economic powerhouse. “Under no circumstances do we want to give up this status”, Effing says. Highlighted themes at the conference, which will be designed with an international audience in mind, will be innovation factors such as efficient processes, and de jure and de facto standardisation.
The next, tenth Composites Europe will take place in Stuttgart from 22 to 24 September 2015 - concurrently with the second Hybrid Expo.
Taking place annually, Composites Europe alternates locations between Stuttgart and Düsseldorf. Composites Europe is organised by trade fair organiser Reed Exhibitions in cooperation with the European industry association EuCIA, the German Federation for Reinforced Plastics AVK, the VDMA Forum Composite Technology and the international trade magazine Reinforced Plastic. This year’s event took place at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre as a parallel event to the leading international trade fair Aluminium, which set new records of its own.