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The Asia Pacific region already accounts for 38% of global composites manufacturing and the outlook points to further growth whereby the region's contribution will be 43% of global production in 2015.

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Auto, aeronautics among composites growth drivers in Asia

The Asia Pacific region already accounts for 38% of global composites manufacturing and the outlook points to further growth whereby the region's contribution will be 43% of global production in 2015.

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Focus on auto, automation, bioplastics at JEC Asia 2011

This forecast was issued as part of the annual survey of the composites market conducted by JEC (tktk). "The composites market is flourishing worldwide and a lot of this growth will continue to be fueled by industrial development in Asia," says Frédérique Mutel, President and CEO of JEC Group. "Market demand for the use of advanced composites is increasing across a wide spectrum of applications, and we expect to see sustained growth for composites in the electrical and electronics, automotive, and aeronautics industry segments over the next five years."

In 2010, global composites production expanded by nearly 5% to reach eight million tonnes according to JEC, driven mainly by unprecedented market growth in China and India.

The JEC Asia 2011 Exhibition and Conference will be held on 18-20 October 2011 in Singapore. It will showcase a range of new composite innovations that are impacting the automotive sector. Based on JEC's annual survey, the adoption of composites materials in vehicles currently stands at around 6% by weight. This level of penetration is expected to increase, as advanced composites materials can help automakers to achieve significant weight reduction while cutting manufacturing cost.

"Asia is driving the new growth paradigm for the global automotive industry, with China and India emerging as the two car markets that are showing the most potential," Mutel explains. "JEC Asia 2011 will provide a varied display of new material developments such as long fiber reinforced composite structures that are revolutionizing automotive production. The key here is to also showcase how these composites innovations can be tailored to the Asian market."

JEC Asia 2011 will also showcase a range of new bio-based developments for composites - especially on how the use of natural fibers, replacing the more traditional glass and carbon fibers, is fast picking up market momentum. Natural fibers have the potential to improve the environmental credentials of composite materials, such as bio-based plastics (or bioplastics), at a feasible cost. Such developments are already burgeoning in Asia, with Japanese carmaker Toyota accelerating the use of bioplastics in mass production vehicles.

The rapid pace of industrial developments in the Asia Pacific region is also driving up demand for the use of process automation to improve manufacturing processes, especially for high value-added applications in aeronautics and wind energy.

With its strong focus on automated solutions, JEC Asia 2011 is set to introduce the latest process automation capabilities that help manufacturers in Asia achieve cost optimization, enhanced productivity and improved product quality. In the wind energy segment, for instance, wind turbine manufacturers around the world are increasingly using robotics to potentially reduce the cost of blades by 40%, which would ultimately make wind energy more cost competitive in comparison with hydroelectric power.

While only 30% of Asian manufacturing processes were automated in 2001, the market penetration for automated manufacturing solutions in the region has grown to 64% in 2010, according to JEC's annual market study.

"Automation is an important driver for technological progress in the composites industry, and JEC Asia 2011 will provide the platform for Asian visitors to be exposed to the latest means of integrating process automation into composites production," Mutel adds. "Advanced automation technologies also enable Asian firms to differentiate themselves through adopting more sophisticated production methods."

JEC Asia 2011 will showcase new automation capabilities in manufacturing processes that involve composite materials, with 35% of the exhibitors expected to showcase equipment, machines and software solutions for advanced process automation.-[email protected]

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