With a total of 406 exhibitors from 28 countries and 8,342 visitors, this year’s Composites Europe fell just short of last year’s result (2016: 8,622), but it significantly increased its international reach.
More than 40% of visitors came from outside Germany. While most of them hailed from other European countries, some visitors journeyed to Stuttgart from Brazil, the US and Canada, and Japan, New Zealand and South Africa. All told, Composites Europe visitors represented 63 nations.
Dennis Baumann, the head of global sales at SGL Group, confirms this observation first-hand: “We meet customers from Germany, Europe and even the US, China and India here. There’s a lot of momentum, including in application areas such as construction and mechanical engineering.”
For Hans-Joachim Erbel, CEO of organiser Reed Exhibitions, this validates the decision to move Composites Europe to Stuttgart: “The proximity to the automotive industry and the aerospace sector as the drivers of the composites industry meant an additional boost for the trade fair.”
While Composites Europe has thus far alternated between Düsseldorf and Stuttgart, it will now be held in Stuttgart every year.
Exhibitors welcome this decision, as emphasised by Hexion’s corporate marketing communications director Michael Stahl: “The decision in favour of Stuttgart was absolutely correct. The trade fair was characterised by high-quality visitors, noticeably higher demand and excellent talks with customers like Mercedes and Airbus.”
Estibalitz Arregi, the composites unit manager of Spain’s Fagor Arrasate, seconds that notion: “Stuttgart is an exciting location for us to handle our business, most of which takes place abroad. That’s why we’re planning on returning next year and deepening our networking efforts.”
The benefits of fibre composites are most impactful in multi-material lightweight construction. That’s because it is now clear that the demands of modern lightweight construction can no longer be met by a single material; finding the best solutions instead requires hybrid lightweight construction. Serving as the interface between metal and fibre composite technologies at Composites Europe is the Lightweight Technologies Forum, which made its debut back in 2016.
“With this cross-material forum, we created a new format in order to bring together the composites industry and the application industries in integrated and hybrid lightweight construction,” says Olaf Freier, the event director of Composites Europe.
Innovations are more important than ever these days, especially in integrated lightweight automotive engineering. The current market study titled “Lightweight Construction as Innovation Driver” illustrates that point. Unveiled in Stuttgart, the paper lays out the status quo and explores the trends and future challenges of multi-material lightweight construction in the automotive sector. It concludes that politics and end customers are the biggest drivers of lightweight construction right now. However, the consistent implementation of lightweight construction solutions fails due to supplier- and manufacturer-imposed hurdles, according to the study, which was designed and implemented in cooperation with Automotive Management Consulting (AMC).
The next Composites Europe will take place in Stuttgart from 6 to 8 November 2018.