The European Pultrusion Technology Assn. (EPTA) held its bi-annual World Pultrusion Conference, March 3-4, in Prague, Czech Republic. EPTA’s stated mission is to “support growth of the composite profiles industry by maximizing external communication efforts.”
EPTA president Luigi Giamundo, owner/CEO of Atp Srl Avanzate Tecnologie Plastiche (Barletta, Italy), welcomed 124 registrants from 24 countries — the largest EPTA delegation to date — to 23 presentations that covered market trends, machine and process innovations, new applications, sustainability and environment issues and raw material development.
Elmar Witten, managing director of conference organizer AVK – Federation of Reinforced Plastics e.V (Frankfurt, Germany), discussed pultrusion’s relative position in the broader composites marketplace. Of the 8.8 million MT of worldwide composites production volume, he reported, the European share was about 2.3 million MT, based on a survey conducted by JEC Composites (Paris, France) in 2014. Chopped fiber-reinforced thermoplastics accounted for 1.25 million MT and continuous fiber-reinforced thermoset — including pultruded products — made up about 1.04 million MT. Germany is the largest producer, followed by Scandinavia (Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark). One hundred companies in Europe produce ~98% of the composite products made in Europe, Witten added, primarily in glass fiber applications for automotive, construction and electrical/electronic sectors. Pultrusion production is growing slowly but steadily in that context, but at this time, the composites market is still dominated by processes that employ sheet molding and bulk molding compounds, followed by by hand layup and sprayup. Carbon fiber composites shows similar gradual growth in automotive and aerospace markets.