Source: Innovation in Textiles | June 9, 2015

Shelby CarThe premier event for the North and South American composites industry arrived in Houston last week, where thousands of industry and market thought leaders gathered at JEC Group’s 4th annual JEC Americas Composites Show and Conferences.

Throughout the three-day show, participants witnessed the latest technological developments within a growing composites industry whose applications extend to the energy, automotive and aerospace sectors.

This year’s event had a particularly pronounced focus on composites manufacturing, attracting leaders in big series manufacturing. The show itself grew by 15% in space and number of exhibitors.

Dynamic interactions

“The composites industry continues to thrive in North and South America, driven by innovations in materials, processing and equipment. That growth is mirrored by the development of JEC Americas,” explained Frédérique Mutel, President and CEO, JEC Group.

“The dynamic interactions between exhibitors and attendees in Houston show how gathering the best and brightest minds can drive growth in the region and communicate the value of composites more broadly. We look forward to exploring avenues for further development through the continued evolution of JEC Americas.”

Event highlights

Among the highlights at this year’s JEC Americas was a 3D-printed Shelby Cobra featured at the show’s Innovation Corner. Developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Shelby was printed using 20% carbon fibre reinforced ABS material.

The show also featured thought-provoking keynote speeches by Ron Garan, a former NASA astronaut and Byron Pipes, the John Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Purdue University, exploring composites innovations in aerospace and manufacturing, as well as the industry’s potential to push the boundaries of further innovations.

To celebrate these innovations, JEC Group hosted the JEC Innovation Awards, where it honoured 10 companies whose innovations in composites demonstrate how new materials are transforming industries of all types.

Advances in composite materials

“With the significant growth in the number of companies participating, this year’s JEC Americas reflects the rapidly expanding global market for composites,” said Peter Zezima, North American Sales Director, JEC Group. “The diversity of the exhibitors, attendees and technologies further illustrates how the composites industry itself is diversifying, both commercially and geographically.”

North America currently accounts for 32% of the global composites market, with a market share of nearly US 24 billion. Two-thirds of JEC Americas exhibitors were North American-based, which underscores the remarkable evolution occurring throughout the continent. Between 2013 and 2018, North America is predicted to have a 23% share of the composites industry’s projected growth.

Tackling the pressing trends in the composites industry, including light-weighting, cost reduction, recycling and faster cycle time, the conferences at JEC Americas 2015 demonstrated how advances in composite materials, design and automated processing will accomplish unique business challenges in distinct industries.