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Sold Out! That’s the word from the JEC group as it prepares for its composites industry trade show in Paris. Slated for March 12-14 at the Paris Expo (Porte de Versailles, Paris, France), the JEC Europe Show is the annual meeting place for the world’s top composite professionals. Show organizers say that, for the 2013 edition, they’ve filled every stand on its 50,000m2 (538,195 ft2) show floor — an area equal to eight soccer fields. More than 1,100 exhibitors will be on hand, 80 percent of them from outside France. Europe will account for 74 percent of the exhibitors, while 10 percent will come from the U.S. and 13 percent from Asia’s emerging markets.
JEC Europe exhibitors serve a wide range of end markets. Automotive and marine top the list, each served by 14 percent of the exhibitors; 13 percent serve the aerospace sector, 12 percent support building/construction; 11 percent, rail transit; and 10 percent, wind energy. About 31 percent of the exhibitors supply raw materials, 22 percent are equipment suppliers, and 39 percent offer processing or other services.
JEC organizers say the 2013 show will highlight 12 “key themes” during the three-day event: Design, Nondestructive Testing, Robotics, Aeronautics, Automotive, E-car, Wind Power, Carbon, Biocomposites, Thermoplastics, Multifunctional Materials and the Environment. “The sector, notably in Europe, has strongly advanced in the processing of composites. Especially in Europe, innovation is directed towards manufacturing, and in particular, mass production,” says JEC Group's president and CEO Frédérique Mutel, putting special emphasis on the key area of robotics: “Of all the patents granted for composites in Europe in 2011-2012, 52 percent involved robotics and automated manufacturing processes. It is probable that these technological advances will primarily interest major international contractors and decision-makers in countries with rapidly growing populations and economies.”
JEC expects a record crowd in the aisles. Organizers predict more than 32,000 attendees, based on what JEC says is a cumulative 86 percent hike in the number of visitors in the past decade. The attendance numbers mirror JEC’s survey findings on composites industry growth. The global composites market, according to JEC estimates, achieved a total value of €81.6 billion ($106.4 billion USD), delivering 9.2 million metric tonnes (20.28 billion lb) of product in 2012. Further, the composites industry is growing an average of 6 percent per year. “Composites are used more and more often to lighten structures, aircraft, and vehicles in general, thus improving energy efficiency,” says Mutel. “Innovation is present in each of the steps of the value chain.” Producers of raw materials (polymers, as well as carbon, glass and natural fibers) have heavily invested in the research and development of new formulations. “Downstream, at the part manufacturing level, the industry is also highly innovative.”
The European segment of the 2013 JEC Innovations Awards Competition will culminate in Paris with show-floor displays of products designed and built by award winners and runners up.
JEC’s “Country of Honor” this year is Turkey, in recognition of its composites presence in the automotive and pipe/tank manufacturing markets. According to JEC figures, Turkey’s composites manufacturers produce about 200,000 metric tonnes (440.9 million lb) of composite product per year, valued at €1 billion ($1.3 billion USD).
A short distance from the Paris Expo, the European arm of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE Europe) will present its 34th International Conference. The two-day event will feature two keynote addresses. The first, geared to SAMPE’s foundational aerospace market, will be given by co-presenters Nicholas Melillo and Andrew Mallow from The Boeing Co. (Chicago, Ill.) on the subject of “Rapid Prototyping as a Tool for Technology Insertion.” The other, on day two, will feature a focus on the up-and-coming automotive market. Dr. Armin Plath, Volkswagen AG (Wolsburg, Germany) will discuss his paper titled “From Small Scale to Volume Production — How to Make Carbon Fiber Mainstream.”
Overall, the conference has attracted, in addition to the keynote presentations, 55 technical papers. Aerospace papers are plentiful enough that the sector will have its own, dedicated plenary session on day one. Likewise, on day two, one session will focus only on automotive.
Early arrivers can take in the Welcome Reception on March 10, in the Hotel Mercure Atrium (finger food and drinks from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.). The event sessions are fully catered on both days, and on March 11, the annual conference dinner will commence at 7:30 p.m. On March 12, SAMPE Europe will provide complimentary shuttle bus service, four times each hour, to and from the Expo gate. Further, conference attendees will receive a free CD of the conference proceedings. Additional copies of the CD may be purchased for €70.00 (approx. $91.00 USD).