CompositesManufacturing The Official Magazine of the American Composites Manufacturers Association Winter 2023 Spotlight on Pultrusion 2023 State of the Industry Report Thermoplastic Wind Blades
CompositesManufacturing The Official Magazine of the American Composites Manufacturers Association About the Cover: Tower Tech has installed approximately 5,000 cooling towers like this one made from pultruded composites. The GFRP towers, which include seven custom pultruded profiles and four standard shapes, are certified for structural, wind and seismic loads. Photo Courtesy of Tower Tech Winter 2023 Features 6 9 21 Pulling Power............................................... 9 In anticipation of this spring’s North American Pultrusion Conference, four projects highlight the durability and versatility of pultruded products in automotive, construction, industrial and architecture market segments. By Susan Keen Flynn 2023 State of the Industry Report. ............ 15 The annual State of the Industry Report shows reason for optimism in the composites industry this year. Consultants share insight on carbon fiber and glass fiber, as well as aerospace, automotive and infrastructure/ construction. Wind Blades of a Different Stripe............... 21 Nicholas Valloir, business manager at Arkema, sits down for a Q&A to discuss the ZEBRA project, which is aimed at developing full-scale, fully recyclable thermoplastic wind turbine blades. By Mary Lou Jay Market Segment Infrastructure.............................................. 6 Cured-in-place Pipe Liners Departments & Columns From the ACMA Chair.............................. 2 Focus on Sustainability ............................. 3 Legislative & Regulatory.......................... 26 Inside ACMA............................................ 28 Ad Index.................................................... 28 Photo credit: ZEBRA consortium Photo Credit: Toyota Photo Credit: Dennis Hild-Walett
CompositesManufacturing 2 When I walked the exhibit hall at CAMX 2022 in Anaheim, Calif., and talked to industry professionals at networking events, I was pleasantly surprised at the overall optimistic outlook. A lot of manufacturers – particularly those involved in infrastructure, aerospace and industrial markets – are bullish about 2023. That’s good news for the composites industry. In this issue of Composites Manufacturing magazine, four consultants share their insight for 2023 and beyond in the annual State of the Industry Report on page 15. The outlook isn’t all rosy. There will certainly be challenges, and people remain concerned about the uncertain economy, disruptions in the supply chain and the ability to find, hire, train and retain skilled workers. That’s why it’s more important than ever to get involved with ACMA. Our association is taking the lead on several important topics. ACMA completed a comprehensive strategic plan, and two focus areas stand out in addition to the traditional emphasis on advocacy and industry growth – sustainability and workforce development. First, ACMA is picking up the flag and taking a strong leadership role for sustainability in our industry. We have always believed composites are the most sustainable option, but through ACMA leadership members will now have the tools to substantiate that and identify areas for improvement within their business. Rather than delve into the details here, I encourage you to read the first installment of a new column launching this month in the magazine – Focus on Sustainability (page 3). The column will cover external climate-driven factors affecting composite markets and industry programs developed in response. Leaders at ACMA are also strategizing about how to help members with workforce development. The COVID-19 pandemic was a tipping point for manufacturing in the U.S., with many elements coming back to American soil due to supply chain issues and other concerns. More than ever, we need qualified, skilled workers, and the association is pursuing avenues to help develop those workers. Stay tuned throughout the year for more on this topic. Like my peers at CAMX 2022, I am cautiously optimistic about this year. At times, it may seem like we’re slogging through mud puddles. But we will make it through, stronger than ever. Sincerely, Fred Sanford ACMA Chairman of the Board email@example.com From the ACMA Chair Composites Manufacturing Official Magazine of the American Composites Manufacturers Association Publisher Cindy Squires firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Managing Editor Susan Keen Flynn email@example.com Manager, Marketing Communications Ashley Tilas firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Design & Production Innovative Association Solutions, LLC email@example.com ias-online.net Advertising Sales Manager of Business Development John Catapano firstname.lastname@example.org All reprint requests should be directed to email@example.com Volume 39 | Number 1 | Winter 2023 American Composites Manufacturers Association 2000 N. 15th Street, Ste. 250 Arlington, VA 22201 Phone: 703-525-0511 Fax: 703-525-0743 firstname.lastname@example.org www.acmanet.org Composites Manufacturing (ISSN 1084-841X) is published bi-monthly by the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), ACMA Headquarters, 2000 N. 15th Street, Ste. 250, Arlington, VA 22201 USA. Subscription rates: Free for members and non-members in the U.S., Canada and Mexico; $55 for international non-members. A free online subscription is available at cmmagazineonline. org. Periodical postage paid at Arlington, VA and additional mail offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Composites Manufacturing, ACMA Headquarters, 2000 N. 15th Street, Ste. 250, Arlington, VA 22201. The magazine is mailed to ACMA members and is also available by subscription. Canada Agreement number: PM40063731 Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, ON N9A 6J5, Email: email@example.com. Copyright© 2023 by ACMA. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted without permission from the publisher. ACMA, a nonprofit organization representing the composites industry worldwide, publishes Composites Manufacturing, circulation 9,000, as a service to its members and other subscribers. Opinions or statements of authors and advertisers appearing in Composites Manufacturing are their own and don’t necessarily represent that of ACMA, its Board of Directors or its staff. Information is considered accurate at the time of publication, however accuracy is not warranted. Optimism in 2023? You Bet!
www.acmanet.org 3 Leading the Way on Sustainability in Composites By John Schweitzer Welcome to the debut of a new Composites Manufacturing magazine column – Focus on Sustainability. As ACMA’s vice president of EH&S (environment, health and safety) and sustainability, I will use this column to keep readers informed about external climate-driven factors affecting composite markets and industry programs developed in response. In this winter issue, I’ll review the landscape and present an initial outline of ACMA’s sustainability goals and programs. Composites manufacturers report increased end-user interest in the climate impacts associated with the manufacture of composite products and expect that customers will soon want to see reductions in those impacts. National and state policymakers have adopted – or are considering – regulatory schemes requiring the collection and processing of many end-of-life polymer products into valued materials that reduce reliance on natural resources when making new products. Suppliers of steel and aluminum actively promote improvements in the sustainability of their products. Sustainability Objectives Recognizing that these emerging market forces may threaten the ability to grow important markets, ACMA’s leadership set a strategic goal in 2022 to develop an effective sustainability program and identified three key programmatic objectives: • Provide composites manufacturers with the tools and resources they need for responding to customer requests for information about the climate impacts associated with the manufacture of their products. These resources will include data on common raw materials and processes, industry-average lifecycle assessments and the consensus standard procedures for presenting lifecycle data in the standardized formats that will be needed in some markets. Focus on Sustainability Your Performance – Made by Roth Your partner for high quality machinery > High level automation > More process and material efficiency > Low maintenance, longevity and durability > Tailormade solutions e.g. for aerospace industry, automotive industry and future mobility industry Roth Composite Machinery GmbH Filament Winding & Prepreg Machinery • Bauhofstr. 2 • 35239 Steffenberg • Germany • Phone +49 (0)6464/9150-0 Roth USA • Joe Jansen • firstname.lastname@example.org www.roth-composite-machinery.com • email@example.com
CompositesManufacturing 4 • Reduce the climate impacts associated with the manufacture of composite products and raw materials. Making products using fiber and polymer can be more impactful to the climate than making them with steel or aluminum. For composites to become the sustainable material of choice, we need to reduce the emissions of climate warming gases associated with the production of raw materials and composites manufacturing operations. We also need to facilitate the recovery of scrap and end-of-life composites for recycling into valued materials used to make new products, reducing the industry’s use of virgin raw materials. • Educate end-users, policymakers and the public about the use-phase sustainability benefits of composites. Especially while we decarbonize our supply chain and manufacturing processes, it will be the reduction in environmental, economic and social impacts resulting from use of composite products that will increase selection of composites over other materials in sustainability-driven markets. Importantly, we need to convert the many narratives about composite benefits into fact-based analyses that will withstand challenge. Sustainability Programs Three ACMA programs are working to achieve our strategic sustainability objectives: the Climate Impact Project, the Sustainability Forum and the Composites Sustainability Council. ACMA’s Climate Impact Project (CIP), supported with significant funding by major industry raw material suppliers, will provide member companies with the information they need to answer customer questions about their climate impacts and to find opportunities to reduce those impacts. We already have the lifecycle inventory (LCI) data needed to prepare industry-average cradle-to-gate lifecycle analysis (LCA) for composite products made using unsaturated polyester resin and glass fiber and the compression molding, open molding, vacuum infusion, open mold casting and secondary bonding processes. LCI data for vinyl ester resins and pultrusion will be added in 2023. These LCI data can be used by companies as the basis for LCAs developed specifically for their products, but most composites manufacturers will find that their customers will be satisfied with the industry average LCAs being developed under the CIP. ACMA’s first industry average LCA will be for reinforcing bar, and we are exploring development of LCAs for utility poles, corrosion-resistant equipment and cladding for commercial buildings. The third part of the CIP is the development of product category rules (PCR) – consensus standards used to prepare the Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) that are increasingly needed for products used in infrastructure and construction. EPDs contain data from a product’s LCA presented in a standardized format and using agreed upon units and data that ease comparison of the environmental impacts of alternative materials and products. ACMA’s Sustainability Forum is a series of engagements with industry members to provide education on sustainability topics, promote networking among companies interested in sustainability and identify objectives for industry programs. ACMA is planning a virtual forum in late spring to address decarbonization of the composites industry’s supply chain. The Composites Sustainability Council operates within ACMA’s Composites Growth Initiative and undertakes management of projects, like development of the earlier LCI data and, more recently, the preparation of an online directory of companies that are recycling composites. Clearly, sustainability is an expansive topic. My next column will consider the use-phase sustainability benefits of composite products. There are many anecdotes about how one composite product or another should reduce the climate impacts associated with an end-use product, but we need quantification of those benefits if we expect to convince product designers and materials specifiers. None of our programs will work without the active participation of industry stakeholders. If you have an interest in the environmental sustainability of the composites industry, please reach out to me. John Schweitzer is vice president of EH&S and sustainability at ACMA. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on ACMA’s Climate Impact Project, visit acmanet.org/acmasclimate-impact-project/. Unlimited Applications Unmatched Performance Is it possible to increase strength and stiffness while reducing weight and cost? With Vectorply composite reinforcement fabrics it is! Our wide range of fiberglass, carbon and aramid fabrics, combined with industryleading technical services and support can take your product higher, farther, and faster with less weight and labor. Giving your product the competitive edge is our business. Learn more at vectorply.com. 1-800-577-4521 | www.vectorply.com
CompositesManufacturing 6 Early last fall, the E.ON Group, one of Europe’s largest operators of energy infrastructure and networks, discovered a leak in a pipeline under railroad tracks close to the Örebro station in Sweden. Traditional repair of the steel pipe would require digging and redirecting train service on the tracks, which is the main route between Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden’s two biggest cities. So E.ON Group opted for a less disruptive alternative – CarboSeal® cured-in-place-pipe liners. “Changing this section of pipe would have been very challenging, both in terms of time consuming and high costs,” says Clas Hammarlund in distribution and optimization with E.ON Örebro. “By using CarboSeal, we were able to fix it and renew this section without disturbing the train traffic. The work was much faster and far cheaper than the alternatives.” Made from TeXtreme® spread tow carbon fiber and a custom epoxy resin, CarboSeal liners are designed for district heating pipework. District heating, which is common throughout Europe, uses insulated underground piping networks to provide thermal energy to multiple buildings from a central energy plant. Maintaining heat distribution pipes that carry pressurized water at 110 C is paramount to delivering low carbon energy to communities. Over time, the steel pipes can deteriorate and leak, necessitating replacement or repair. CarboSeal offers an alternative to other rehabilitation methods, such as digging up and replacing pipes, steered drilling or directional drilling. Once cured, the liners have the same expansion properties of steel and can withstand pressure greater than 16 bars (one bar equals 100,000 pascals). “The old steel pipe can fully corrode away, and CarboSeal will be able to take all the loads expected to be borne by the host pipe,” says Andreas Martsman, CEO of PPR, the company that spent more than a decade developing, testing and fine-tuning CarboSeal liners. In 2019, PPR was purchased by Oxeon, which also manufactures TeXtreme materials. The CarboSeal liners were launched commercially in 2021. When E.ON Örebro detected leaks in a 60-meter-long pipeline section in 2022, executives recalled a meeting with PPR a year earlier when the company introduced its product to the market. The energy company considered steered drilling to replace the pipe, however that technique involves massive excavation pits and large support structures, in addition to interruptions in railroad service. Directional drilling was another option, but it requires significant space behind the equipment to drill into the ground at an angle and pull in replacement piping. “It is all doable, but at a much higher cost than CFRP liners,” says Martsman. “E.ON Örebro estimated it would’ve been at least three times the cost of CarboSeal.” Infrastructure A Cure for Aging Pipelines Photo Credit: Dennis Hild-Walett CarboSeal® liners were installed in a 60-meter-long section of district heating pipes under three railroad tracks in Örebro, Sweden, in four days. Photo Credit: Dennis Hild-Walett A crew feeds the CRFP liner through the pipeline.
www.acmanet.org 7 The Örebro pipe repair process involved several steps. First, excavators dug two small pits – one on each side of the railroad tracks – to reach the leaking pipeline. Next, a crew accessed the pipe through existing chambers and emptied the water. Then, the team cleaned the pipe with high-pressurized water and conducted a video inspection to ensure the pipe was fit for relining. “When we did the video inspection, we found a lot of poorly done welds at the top and bottom of the pipes, so we had to go in and machine them away,” says Martsman. Afterward, the liner, which arrived at the worksite folded in a box, was ready for installation. The pipe was cut on either side of the damaged section, then the 450-millimeter diameter liner was mounted to an end can and pulled through the pipe. At this point, the liner resembled a long, deflated balloon. The second end can was mounted, both end cans were braced, and the liner was pressurized to 0.2 bar. A combination of pressure and steam, slowly increasing in temperature, cured the liner for 8 ½ hours. Once the liner was cured, the crew removed the end cans and fit a rubber seal over the end of the liner to ensure that no water can slip between the liner and the host pipe. The entire installation, including both the flow and return pipe, took approximately four days. Ease of installation is one of the advantages of CarboSeal. Customers can visit PPR to learn the process, then company representatives assist the client with their first installation. While the company provides support on subsequent installations, customers are usually confident in self-installation after one project. Sustainability is another key benefit of CarboSeal liners. “You don’t dig up old pipes, throw them away and produce new pipes with polyurethane insulation and plastic covering,” says Martsman. “Compared to excavating, the carbon footprint is reduced by about 80%.” The design life of the cured-inplace-pipe liners is approximately 35 years. While PPR has tested its product’s ability to withstand harsh conditions, the company can’t fully predict longevity. “It’s hard to speed up long-term testing,” admits Martsman. “The only way we will really know is when we take the liners out of the ground in 40 years and say, ‘Wow, it still looks new.’ But everything is pointing in that direction.” E.ON Örebro anticipates using curedin-place-pipe liners for future renovations. “CarboSeal is a great solution for renewal of district heating pipes in difficult areas and where the conditions are right,” says Hammarlund. “We will have great use of this technique in these problematic areas as we keep upgrading our network.” Susan Keen Flynn is managing editor of Composites Manufacturing magazine. Email comments to email@example.com.
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www.acmanet.org 9 Industry leaders, customers, OEMs and suppliers will gather at the North American Pultrusion Conference in Chicago in May to learn about the latest trends in pultrusion technology. In advance of the conference, Composites Manufacturing presents projects in four market segments highlighting the durability and versatility of pultruded products. Delivering Safety and Storage Market: Automotive Application: Seatbacks When Toyota sought greater functionality in the seats of its Tundra full-size pickup truck, the automotive manufacturer turned to pultruded composites. The 2022 Tundra is the first interior application using L&L Products’ Continuous Composite Systems™ (CCS) technology with Elastocoat®, BASF’s polyurethane resin system for pultrusion. CCS is a fiber-reinforced composite carrier with highly engineered sealants and adhesives in a two-dimensional profile. It was overmolded with BASF’s Ultramid® B3ZG7 CR, an impactmodified polyamide 6 (PA6), to create the 3D shape of the 60% seatback. Flex-N-Gate manufactured the seatback, as well as other components for the seating system. “The seatback had to be thin so Toyota could put storage behind it,” says Hank Richardson, product engineering manager for L&L Products in Romeo, Mich. “We could have made a molded seatback out of nylon that would probably have met the criteria, however it would have been twice as thick because of all the load-carrying requirements.” The seating system features four composite components – two seatbacks and two seat bottoms – compared to the previous all-steel assembly, which contained 60 stamped and welded parts. The seatback is a complicated mold assembly: All nine of its elements, which include the pultruded profile, steel threaded fasteners and seat anchors, are robotically inserted into the die, then overmolded with the PA6. The in-mold processing reduces scrap, which provides a huge savings for Toyota. “At the end of the cycle, we were able to achieve a nice, thin seat with storage space below and behind it,” says Richardson. “It met all the criteria, and it was 20% lighter than the metal seatback.” It also was 20% less expensive. “In automotive, you often talk about how much somebody would pay for a reduced weight per kilo. In this case, it was an overall cost savings as well,” says Richardson. Convincing Toyota to incorporate pultruded composites in its seatback wasn’t difficult, he says. The OEM had previously used molded seats with fiber and glass-mat reinforced polyamide compounds from BASF in the folding third-row seats on the 2021 Sienna minivan. However, the Tundra had different load requirements. “We were able to showcase what pultrusion could do – that it’s lighter weight and carries more load than aluminum,” says Richardson. “It wasn’t hard to lead Toyota down the path.” The project required close collaboration among suppliers to Pulling Power By Susan Keen Flynn Pultruded components are a draw for projects requiring strength, precision and uniformity. Made from pultruded composites, this cooling tower on a hotel rooftop in Daytona, Fla., is one of 5,000 installations worldwide from Tower Tech Inc. Photo Credit: Tower Tech
CompositesManufacturing 10 Photo Credit: Toyota achieve success, especially during the design and simulation phase. All the materials that go into the seatback – GFRP, steel and nylon – have different properties and reactions upon molding. “The challenges go beyond modeling the part to carry all the loads,” says Richardson. “How do you create the die design to produce a flat seatback that’s the same every time? There was a ton of work in simulating the mold flow to get to the end result.” While this was L&L Products’ first project with Toyota, the company has provided CCS components to other automotive manufacturers. For instance, it created a cross member for the Ford F-150® Lightning™ all-electric pickup truck. The cross member is the first body-in-white application for CCS featuring BASF’s Elastocoat resin. Richardson envisions multiple opportunities for pultruded composites in the automotive market – particularly on batteryelectric vehicles. “There are applications where you are trying either to protect the batteries and you need crash load transfer type parts or you are trying to protect the electric drive motors and high voltage systems,” he says. “I get excited when people ask me where the limit is for applications. I don’t think there is one.” Carrying a Heavy Load Market: Construction Application: Generator Access Platforms In 2020, at the height of supply chain issues and rising steel prices, a data center in California faced difficulties sourcing galvanized steel materials for a planned exterior generator access platform. With construction schedules looming, the company contracted Frost Engineering & Consulting to provide a pultruded composite alternative. “We were able to re-evaluate, re-detail, fabricate and install the platform prior to when the first shipment of steel was scheduled to arrive onsite,” says Jake Althouse, PE, structural project manager with Frost. The two-story, 7,000-square-foot GFRP platform provided other advantages aside from meeting construction deadlines. Unlike galvanized steel, GFRP is non-corrosive, non-conductive and lightweight. It’s easy to maintain and doesn’t require grounding or equipment to erect. Given the project’s resounding success, when the data center owner required a second access platform last year, it opted for pultruded FRP from the outset. “The first structure was just for maintenance personnel to reach equipment. The 2022 project was designed to support small forklift traffic, which presented unique challenges for the design team,” says Althouse. The weight of the equipment, operator and payload totaled nearly two tons per lift. The decked area of the more recent one-story platform is approximately 8,000 square feet. The platform framing is made from pultruded GFRP, including the structural members (beams, columns, braces), handrails, stair assemblies and railings. To help support forklift traffic, a large portion of the deck is steel bar grating. The platform weighs 75 tons, with all the FRP components accounting for half the total weight and the steel grating the other half. One of the main design considerations was supporting the concentrated load – the force applied at any single point in the structure – generated by the equipment navigating the platform. In addition to supporting the gravity loading, Frost also reviewed the impact of lateral loads induced by the equipment in a situation in which the brakes were applied very rapidly. “We had to justify what we expected the concentrated load to be, then go through the rigorous process of showing that pultruded FRP could adequately support the concentrated loading at any point it might exist,” says Althouse. Another key design challenge – prying action – can elevate the tensile force between beams, columns and the bolts holding them together. “The current standard for pultruded products – the LRFD pre-standard published in 2010 – has a statement that prying forces need to be considered, but there is currently no guidance on how it should be addressed,” says Althouse. “We explored all available research in other materials, then used that information in conjunction with our understanding of FRP and other orthotropic materials to meld the two into a best practice.” Frost collaborated with a pultruder to design and experimentally validate a custom beam profile for the platform – a heavy-duty 18-inch-deep, 8-inch-wide I-shape – to support the project’s longest span of 26 feet. “Historically, these supplemental access structures don’t seem to get as much attention as the main facilities they support. A great deal of coordination has to happen between many different trades to ensure all of the project needs are met,” says Althouse. “Ultimately, these structures require careful consideration too.” The 2022 Toyota Tundra features L&L Products’ Continuous Composite Systems™ (CCS) technology in its seatbacks. The pultruded CCS profile, shown inset, contributes to a seatback that is 20% lighter than its metal predecessor. Inset Photo Credit: L&L Products
www.acmanet.org 11 Keeping It Cool Market: Industrial Application: Cooling Towers Mathu Solo, president of Tower Tech in Oklahoma City, calls the company an American success story. Founder Harold Curtis graduated from high school and began working as a field laborer in cooling tower service, repair and rebuilds. Cooling towers are a simple, but critical, piece of equipment that serve as a heat exchanger. Hot water comes into the tower from an industrial process, mixes with air to lower the temperature, then the cold water circulates back into the industrial process. “Our founder soon realized that all the problems with cooling towers, no matter who manufactured them, had the same main issue – the construction materials,” says Solo. In the late 1980s, most cooling towers were made from wood, which degraded over time. So, Curtis set out to design a better tower. In 1992, Tower Tech marketed the first GFRP cooling tower made via hand lay-up. “FRP was non-corrosive, but hand lay-up was very time-consuming and we couldn’t maintain strict tolerances, which are critical to create a complete wet-dry barrier,” says Solo. “To grow our business and increase production capacity, we had to be a lot more efficient.” The company considered several other manufacturing processes, including vacuum infusion and rotational molding, and moved to pultrusion in 1994 because of the strength and durability the process provides. In the early 2000s, Creative Composites Group (CCG) became its sole provider of pultruded profiles. Creative Pultrusions, a subsidiary of CCG’s holding company, purchased Tower Tech in 2017. All of the structural components of the cooling towers are made from GFRP, while the motor, fan supports and fasteners are stainless steel. Some components, such as top and corner caps, are molded. There are seven custom pultruded profiles, including a 12 x 12-foot box to house the fans and a bottom basin panel with a channel for water to run through. In addition, the cooling towers incorporate four standard shapes internally for mounting brackets, dividers and structural bracing. “Cooling towers typically operate outside, so they have to be certified for structural, wind and seismic loads,” says Solo. “It was critical to have the strongest components possible.” The components also need to be corrosion and UV resistant. The ply layout for the pultruded shapes consists of a 10-mil polyester surface veil, continuous filament mat, stitched fabrics and unidirectional fiber. Collaboration between Tower Tech and CCG is vital. “We are a cooling tower company, not a fiberglass company,” says Solo. “It’s been beneficial having a partner that is always ahead of what’s going on in the industry and looking at new technologies to improve their processes.” For instance, CCG and Tower Tech collaborated on storm-hardening technology, developing StrongStorm® modular cooling towers rated for 200 mph winds. With more than 5,000 installations worldwide, Tower Tech is the only company of its size to offer pultruded cooling towers, says Solo. That puts it in a good position in a market valued at $3.82 billion in 2021, according to a report by Fortune Business 800.621.8003 | www.compositesone.com | www.b2bcomposites.com People | Product | Process | Performance See us at the North American Pultrusion Conference in Chicago, IL, May 16-18. Ask manufacturers why they choose Composites One and you’ll get the same answer. It’s PERFORMANCE. Delivered by technical sales and service experts helping them learn the latest processes that can help their business grow. Reinforced each day by customer service reps and local support teams at more than 44 locations across North America. Provided by the deepest, broadest range of traditional and advanced composites products from more than 700 industry-leading suppliers. With the best people, the right products and the latest processes, you get performance. Only from Composites One. That’s the power of One – Composites One. “Every member of our team—from drivers to sales—is committed to making sure customers get the right products they need, when they need them.” Doug Miles, Warehouse/Driver, Lenexa, KS CMP-491 CM half page ad Winter 2023 FINAL.indd 1 1/18/23 3:19 PM
CompositesManufacturing 12 Insights. The report predicts the cooling tower market will grow to $5.29 billion by 2029. “We are without a doubt the most advanced product on the market, and we don’t sell on price,” says Solo. “We sell on the added value of our FRP design, and the payback in terms of operational savings. That’s where our success story starts.” Enabling Energy Efficiency Market: Architecture Application: Curtainwalls Vaisala, a Finnish company specializing in industrial measurement equipment, opened a 38,000-squarefoot North American headquarters in Louisville, Colo., in 2020. Designed by OZ Architecture, the cross-laminated, timber hybrid structure is designed for net-zero functionality. Curtainwalls featuring pultruded composite pressure plates help contribute to the company’s energy efficiency objectives. The two-story building includes more than 3,400 square feet of curtainwall enclosing a daylit atrium and reception area. The curtainwall uses a 2.5-inch-wide profile system that integrates Deceuninck’s Innergy AP® thermal pressure plates, which were customized by its customer Tubelite Inc. for Vaisala. Combined with warm edge spacers, the GFRP thermal pressure plates achieve a system U-Factor of 0.32 and 7,500K psi flexural modulus. (U-Factor refers to the energy efficiency of window systems, with lower U-Factors providing better insulation.) Deceuninck North America’s main line of business is PVC extrusion. A decade ago, the company began designing a window system with an eye on energy performance requirements. “With PVC window and door systems, metal reinforcements are commonly used inside certain system parts to add strength, and this metal naturally short circuits the thermal performance,” says Greg Koch, vice president of sales and marketing for Deceuninck North America in Monroe, Ohio. “We started looking at options to replace the metal reinforcement, and our team came up with a fiber-reinforced polymer material that is almost as strong as aluminum and has the thermal properties of glass.” The company markets its thermal reinforcements under the brand name Innergy – a combination of ‘in’ (inside products) and ‘energy.’ A few years ago, Deceuninck branched into other building envelope products, including thermal pressure plates for curtain walls and Z-girts, calling the product line Innergy AP – architectural products. Manufacturing thermal pressure plates was challenging at the outset. “This is a really dynamic material. Even though it’s made from polyurethane, it’s 80% glass fiber,” says Koch. “And processing glass is very abrasive.” Deceuninck designs proprietary pultrusion tools and processes to overcome the abrasion. Koch says composites are gaining traction in architecture, and Deceuninck has just begun to infiltrate the building envelope end of its business. “There are so many different pultruded shapes we are looking at and working to design. But you can’t just put in some glass fiber and polyurethane and pull it through the machine,” he says. “Various shapes are needed to achieve different levels of performance, so designing for that may call for additional materials, such as mats or veils.” While Deceuninck expands its reach in pultruded products, Koch encourages others in the industry to pursue innovations and share their stories, too. “We wanted to develop something different and come up with an option to aluminum, and it turned into something very cool,” says Koch. Susan Keen Flynn is managing editor of Composites Manufacturing magazine. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. ACMA, the European Pultrusion Technology Association and the World Pultrusion Conference are hosting the 2023 North American Pultrusion Conference May 16 – 18 in Chicago. Attendees will network and learn about advancements in design, materials, manufacturing, research, testing and more. For more information or to register, visit acma.today/pultrusion2023. Learn More at the North American Pultrusion Conference Built in 2020, Vaisala’s North American headquarters includes curtainwalls with pultruded composite pressure plates to boost energy efficiency.
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www.acmanet.org 15 2023 State of the Industry REPORT Companies that buckle up for a bumpy ride may cross the finish line in good positions.
CompositesManufacturing 16 The Aerospace Market By Richard Aboulafia, Managing Director AeroDynamic Advisory Aerospace markets are mostly in very positive territory. That’s the good news. The bad news is that because of supply chain disruptions, industry output has become de-linked from market health. The deliveries recovery is much slower than hoped as a result. First, markets. Thanks to Russia’s war on Ukraine and ongoing tensions in the Western Pacific, global defense spending is at a high, exceeding $2 trillion worldwide for the first time in 2021. We see it growing at about 5% per year, although inflation complicates buying power. Combat aircraft markets are in particularly good shape, as major powers need to re-equip their militaries to deal with peer adversaries, rather than counter-insurgency operations and low intensity warfare. Single aisle commercial jets are the biggest civil segment, and demand is quite strong. These jets primarily serve domestic markets, which, outside of China, have come back to 2019 levels. Domestic routes are a commodity service, where airlines basically have minimal pricing power. Domestic service economics, therefore, depend on cost control. When fuel is $100/barrel, if one airline has an Airbus A320neo or a Boeing 737 MAX and its competitor does not, then the airline with the modern jet can both out-price and out-profit the competition. Thus, single aisles are also benefiting from relatively high fuel prices. Most other civil segments are quite strong, too. Business jet utilization has been very strong, and used jet availability very low. Backlogs are quite high. Indicators are above 2019 levels, and output is roughly there, too. The only aerospace market that can be termed weak is twin aisle jetliners. The COVID-19 pandemic hit international traffic first, most and longest. This created a terrible twin aisle overcapacity situation. The growing role of third-party finance made the problem worse for twin aisles, because lessors and other financiers simply prefer to finance single aisles, due primarily to their much larger client base. Meanwhile, the increasing capabilities of new single aisle jets – again, the A320neo and 737 MAX – make them appealing replacements for twin aisles on medium haul international routes, particularly across the Atlantic. Unfortunately, these twin aisle jetliners are the most composite-intensive civil aircraft, so the composites industry is particularly dependent on military aircraft output. Here, the F-35 continues its slow production ramp and should hit a level of 156 jets per year in the next few years. It will be followed At first glance, the outlook for 2023 may appear bleak. Many economists envision a downturn in global gross domestic product accompanied by recessions in the United States and Europe. The Federal Reserve predicts a larger hike in interest rates this year than initially planned. In addition, the war between Russia and Ukraine, as well as China abandoning its zero-COVID policies, create uncertainties in the market. However, it’s not all doom-andgloom for the composites industry. Composites Manufacturing magazine asked consultants to share their outlook for composite materials and end-use products this year and beyond. It’s a mixed bag, but there’s reason for optimism. 0 100 200 300 400 500 Top Fiv A rospac Programs Cumulative Deliveries Value in $billions 2012-2021 v. 2022-2031 Airbus A320neo ($276.3) 2012-2021 Airbus A350 XWB ($67.4) Lockheed Martin F-35 ($72.5) Boeing 737 Next Generation/MAX ($194.1) Boeing 787 ($139.9) Airbus A320neo ($422.2) Boeing 737 Next Generation/MAX ($231.7) Lockheed Martin F-35 ($160.7) Boeing 787 ($131.4) Airbus A350 XWB ($120.8) 2022-2031 Source: AeroDynamic Advisory Figure 1: Top Five Aerospace Programs Cumulative Deliveries Value in $billions, 2012-2021 v. 2022-2031
www.acmanet.org 17 2023 State of the Industry by Northrop’s B-21 Raider stealth bomber, just about to enter production, and the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance combat aircraft program, which should enter production by the end of the decade. But again, with all of these civil and military programs, for all markets, production output goals are not being met. The problem is worst in the jet engine production system, where castings and forgings represent a significant bottleneck. Many of these are titanium, and the disruption of Russian titanium supplies due to the war – voluntary on the part of Western companies, as Russia hasn’t moved to block exports – has worsened pre-existing supply problems. Much of the problem comes down to labor. A tight labor market, coupled with the fact that we’ve just been through the first economic recovery to see commercial aviation relatively late compared with other sectors – and therefore late to hire people – has resulted in major delays. Civil and military aero markets remain strong, and production delays have enforced a kind of discipline on jet manufacturers. Thus, there’s a very good chance that this sector of the economy benefits from a cooling down in other sectors, lowering producer costs and freeing up labor. This implies a relatively benign 18 to 24 months ahead, with respectable growth and lower inflation. The Glass Fiber Market By Dr. Sanjay Mazumdar, CEO Lucintel Last year was a tale of two halves in the North American composites industry. The industry showed robust growth at the outset of 2022, with January demand up by 5% and February demand up by 10% from a year earlier. Slight improvements in distribution helped to keep performance high, though raw materials and transportation of finished goods remained the biggest challenges in reaching full market demand in the beginning of the year. Marine, construction and infrastructure all performed quite well, and no industry performed particularly poorly in the beginning of 2022. Conversely, in the second half of the year, the composites market was flat to nearly 7% down in most months compared to a year earlier due to a softening in recreational vehicles, buses, trucks, housing-related products, marine and other sectors. Another factor for decreasing demand in the second half of the year was rising interest rates by the Federal Reserve, which increased interest rates four times in 2022 in an effort to control inflation. So, the significant gains in the first half of the year were washed away in the second half. Overall, the global glass fiber market grew about 2% in 2022, with demand increasing to 12 billion pounds compared to 11.8 billion pounds in 2021. Most of the major sectors, including construction, electrical and electronics, and automotive grew in 2022. Global glass fiber capacity reached 13 billion pounds in 2022 from 11.6 billion pounds in 2017, and demand for glass fiber increased from 10.6 billion pounds in 2017 to 12 billion pounds in 2022. The glass fiber plant capacity utilization rate increased from 90% in 2021 to approximately 92% in 2022. In the future, demand for glass fiber will remain robust, with increasing demand in wind energy, electrical and electronics, automotive, marine and construction. However, there is the possibility of a mild recession in the beginning of 2023 as the Federal Reserve seeks to keep interest rates high this year to control inflation. The main variables are how long inflation will continue and how it will impact investment and consumer behavior. One of the major challenges that has plagued the composites industry during the past two years is increasing raw materials prices. There are many factors impacting the record-high price increases in fibers and resins, such as post-pandemic consumer demand, increased fuel prices, ongoing supply chain issues, geopolitical events and the war in Ukraine. Lucintel’s quarterly pricing study suggests that prices for most of the major resins – such as unsaturated polyester resin and 0 3 6 9 12 15 Source: Lucintel Figure 2: Global Glass Fiber Demand and Capacity from 2017 to 2022 Shipment in Billion Pounds 10.6 11.6 13 12 2017 2022 Demand Capacity
CompositesManufacturing 18 epoxy – and major fibers – such as glass fiber and carbon fiber – went up between 20 and 80% in 2021. In terms of competing materials, steel and rebar prices increased 30% to 35% in 2021, and aluminum prices increased 60% in 2021. The good news is that in the second half of 2022, raw material prices started stabilizing or even softened as a result of softening of demands. The Automotive Market By Marc Benevento, President Industrial Market Insight Last year brought an uneven recovery of global light vehicle production, with a 6% year-over-year gain in production that provided suppliers of automotive composites some breathing room while leaving plenty of headspace for future growth. Demand for automotive composites returned commensurately with production, and the need to reduce weight to improve fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines (ICE) and range of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) provides promise for new applications that will drive above-market growth in the future. The global market for light vehicle composite materials grew to 4 billion pounds in 2022. Although this was nearly a 7% increase from 2021, it remains 10% below the level reached in 2018 due to the significant decline in global vehicle production during the COVID-19 pandemic and semiconductor supply chain disruptions that have delayed market recovery. Global geopolitical issues, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Brexit and work stoppages in China due to the country’s zero-COVID policy, further complicated matters and led to a very uneven volume recovery in major global production centers. In 2022, light vehicle production growth, and therefore automotive composites growth, was strongest in North America, which saw a 12% increase in vehicle production. China’s production grew 6%, which, due to the number of vehicles produced there, contributed nearly equally to incremental volume growth. Production volume in Europe declined slightly and rose only slightly in Asia outside of China, resulting in 6% growth of global vehicle production, which was slightly outpaced by growth in automotive composites. On the bright side, the uneven recovery in 2022 leaves headspace for growth in 2023, when 5% growth of light vehicle composites is expected, driven by 4% vehicle production growth. This growth is expected to be more evenly distributed across global manufacturing centers in the coming year, with mid-single digit growth forecast for North America, Europe and most of Asia. Despite this growth, it will likely take an additional year or two for global automotive composite demand to return to the level of 2018. This can be seen in the growth index, where a value of 100 is equal to 2017 global market volume of composites and vehicles produced. Although the industry is on the precipice of a shift to electric vehicles, it is very much in a transitional state, with ICE powertrains dominating the mix. In 2021, battery electric vehicles represented less than 10% of vehicles sold globally, with 85% of all BEV sales occurring in China and Europe. Fewer than 5% of vehicles sold in the United States in 2021 were BEVs. Hybrid electric vehicles continue to see significant growth in North America since they improve fuel economy while alleviating the range anxiety consumers associate with BEVs. Automotive composites will continue to grow based on the value offered in terms of cost, weight and performance versus other materials. The need to reduce vehicle weight has never been greater, both to improve the efficiency of ICE vehicles as well as to maximize the range of BEVs. For parts such as battery trays, composites offer the potential to reduce part count and lower weight versus metals, while offering superior corrosion resistance and fire suppression at a competitive cost. Of course, as BEVs gain market share, parts like GFRP intake manifolds and valve covers will begin to disappear. Last year brought some much needed recovery to global light vehicle production, which will continue through 2023, driving volume growth of automotive composites in the short-term. In the longer-term, the changing mix of vehicle drive technology will bring both opportunities and challenges for suppliers of automotive composite materials. The Carbon Fiber Market By Dr. Sanjay Mazumdar, CEO Lucintel After two years of sluggish performance in 2020 and 2021, the carbon fiber industry rebounded last year. In 2022, the global carbon fiber industry grew approximately 9% in terms of volume to reach 191 million pounds ($3.6 billion). The dollar value of carbon fiber shipments increased about 27% in 2022 as the price of carbon fiber rose approximately 20% in 2022 compared to 2021. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a declining 60 80 100 120 2017 2018 2019 2022 2021 2020 2023 2024 2025 Index 2017 = 100 Automotive Composites Index Automotive Production Index Source: Industrial Market Insight Figure 3: Light Vehicle Production & Automotive Composites Index
www.acmanet.org 19 trend in carbon fiber prices, but that trend got disrupted due to geopolitical issues and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has increased the price of natural oil and gas, as well as various raw materials. Lucintel forecasts that demand within the global carbon fiber industry will increase by about 7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in terms of volume from 2023 to 2028 for several reasons, including the growth of carbon fiber applications in wind turbine blades, a resurgence in aircraft deliveries, light vehicle production and demand for sporting goods, recreational vehicles and electrical and electronic products. One country to keep an eye on is China, which is heavily investing in the carbon fiber market. For instance, Sinopec started China’s first production line of large tow carbon fiber, with 10,000 tons of production capacity. On several visits to China, I found that companies are innovating and disrupting various end-use industries by using carbon fiber. There are hundreds of CFRP parts manufacturing companies in China. In addition, China strives to lead the robot and drone market, which will have significant potential for carbon fiber in the future. Another trend that will impact the carbon fiber market is growing interest in the hydrogen economy, with its vision to use hydrogen as a low-carbon energy source. Both hydrogen vehicles and electric vehicles pave the way for a cleaner and greener environment on the road. But unlike electric vehicles, which take a fair amount of time to recharge, hydrogen vehicles can be refilled quickly from a refueling station like a petrol or diesel car. Fuel cells can be used to power passenger cars, heavy-duty trucks, buses, forklifts, aircrafts and other transportation vehicles. In 2022, global demand for fuel cell cars represented only 0.03% of total vehicle sales due to lack of a robust hydrogen infrastructure. Moreover, not many hydrogen fuel-cell car options are available to consumers in various part of the world. The good news is that demand for fuel cell cars has grown rapidly in recent years. If the trend continues, then demand for carbon fiber will also grow swiftly as carbon fiber is used in fuel cells, electrolyzers and hydrogen tanks. Circular economy trends, focused on the reuse and regeneration of materials and products, will also impact the growth of carbon fiber in the future. In terms of sustainability, carbon fiber parts offer significant weight savings, thus reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. But recycling carbon fiber parts at their end of life poses a challenge. Lucintel studies point to many examples where carbon fiber is recycled from process waste, but it is not currently recycled at the end-oflife cycle. There is mounting pressure on material suppliers and part fabricators to engage in sustainability practices that support a circular economy. OEMs – whether in automotive, wind energy or aerospace – are looking to hear a good circular economy story of carbon fiber and carbon fiber parts. Most OEMs have targets of becoming carbon neutral between 2030 to 2050, and they have already started considering recycling as part of their design criteria for the next generation of parts manufacturing. Material and parts suppliers that enable OEMs to achieve circular economy targets by utilizing innovative technologies and materials will gain market share in the future. The Construction/ Infrastructure Market By Ken Simonson, Chief Economist Associated General Contractors of America A major shift is underway for construction segments. The new leaders and laggards have significant implications for demand for composites. Single-family homebuilding, the largest segment in terms of construction spending and employment, has made a sharp U-turn. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, spending on single-family construction climbed 76% over 22 months from its COVID-19 pandemic low in June 2020 until topping out in April 2022. But spending tumbled by 15% over the next six months. Data on building permits, starts and sales all point to further steep declines for the next several months. A major reason for the abrupt downturn is the sharp increase in interest rates, along with fast-rising house prices that have left many wouldbe homebuyers unable to afford the purchase price, monthly carrying costs or both. The run-up in interest rates also spells trouble for incomeproducing property categories. Developers of retail, warehouse, office and hotel properties are facing higher financing and +1.775.827.6568 email@example.com www.abaris.com 5-Day Courses From The World’s Best Enroll in an Advanced Composite Manufacturing Course Today! Members, Use Code: ACMA200 to receive a $200.00 discount