Show preview: JEC Europe

Show preview: JEC Europe
JEC Europe – Europe's largest composites exhibition – will open its doors in Paris, Porte de Versailles, on 27-29 March 2012.

The JEC Composites Show is the only trade show that unites the global composite industry: an indication of the industry's commitment to an international platform where users can find a full spectrum of processes, new materials, and composite solutions.

The Show presents a diversifi ed and well-balanced offering from more than 1,120 exhibiting brand names, with 75% from abroad and 25% from France.

The steady growth of the composite market is grounded in the innovation of its players and customers. In a decade, the sector has managed to structure itself around regional, national and international clusters, strategic alliances and research centres.

The innovation processes at work in the composite market will constitute the main topic at JEC Europe 2012 conferences and trade show. According to JEC Group President and CEO Frédérique Mutel: "The worth of the global composite market went from €38 billion in 2000 to €72 billion in 2011. We are expecting growth worldwide.

"At an average 6%-per-year increase, the market will be worth €91 billion by 2015. Thanks to a large number of remarkable cooperative associations, the composite industry has been able to innovate and increase its capacities in markets where composites are already well established, like marine or construction. For other sectors, specialised clusters have accelerated the penetration of composites, for example with the use of composites in aircraft structures rising from 35% to 50%. In the automotive sector, transnational value chains are leading to profound changes in areas like structural parts or under-the-hood parts, such as carbon body frames, or nanotubes in the energy storage systems of electric cars. The list is long."

This year's country of honour is the United Kingdom, promoting one of Europe's most innovative composite industries. Composites UK, Composites Skills Alliance, UKTI and The National Composites Centre (NCC) are working together to coordinate a greater UK presence at the 2012 JEC exhibition. The aim of this is to raise the profile of the UK composites industry and demonstrate to the international market that the UK is 'open for business'.

Composites UK is co-ordinating a large UK pavilion showcasing expertise from UK organisations over 200m2 of floorspace. We are currently looking to extend this to enable more companies to participate and meet the overwhelming response. In addition to the pavilion, over 30 other UK companies are taking individual stands at the show. UKTI TAP grants are available to support exhibiting SME companies and encourage growth in export opportunities. The forum sessions, innovation showcase area and technical sales sessions will further demonstrate UK capability.

The UK ambassador has been invited to present the JEC Innovation Awards and to be guest of honour at the evening reception on Tuesday 27th March.

Companies sharing the pavilion will include: Composites UK; National Composites Centre; Composites Skills Alliance; British Composites Society; Farecla; Surface Generation; SGS Carbide (UK) Ltd; BW Cutters; Aptec; Amber Composites; Andpak; Green Marine; Norco NCCEF.

Automation will be a focus of the exhibition. It is a broad field that includes things like equipment, software, and the integration of manufacturing steps. The most significant advances over the past decade have occurred mainly in North America and – especially – Europe, which has the highest automation rate: 83% compared to 70% in Asia, to take one example. JEC provides a lot of scope for these processes. All the global manufacturers of equipment, robots and carbon fibre-placement heads come to the JEC trade show, and are one of the chief attractions for aerospace and automotive professionals.

JEC Europe 2012 will also host the I.C.S. (International Composites Summit). The I.C.S. program gives a preview of all the new trends in composite applications. By providing a forum for a hundred or so of the international composite industry's key players, I.C.S. fosters dialogue between the academic, industrial and final-user sectors. The forums and conferences are based on case studies and lectures by internationally-renowned specialists in research, design, development and production, specifically mass production. The content is economic, technical and technological. This exchange of experience and strategic information serves to better prepare our industry for tomorrow's challenges.

Another highlight of the event will be the JEC Innovation Awards. This programme awards prizes to the best composite solutions in several user sectors such as aerospace, environment, automotive, building & construction, civil engineering, transportation, wind energy, materials, etc.

By paying tribute to innovative products and processes covering all aspects of the global composite industry, the past fourteen presentations of the JEC Innovation Awards have established the event's role as detector and promoter of innovation. This top innovation programme (created in 1998) aims to identify, promote and reward the most innovative composite solutions in the world, as well as encouraging companies and their partners in their pursuit of composite innovations, and facilitating their public exposure, thereby contributing to the development of the composite industry.

Paul Fanning

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