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India is growing vigorously at more than 8% per year, and its composite industry is doing even better, with a nearly 25% growth rate. In this context, projects are abounding, as are announcements of ramped-up production capacity.
(Published on July 2006 – JEC Magazine #26)
The latest presentation of the Indian ICERP trade fair (International Conference and Exhibition on Reinforced Plastics) took place last February 23, 24, and 25 in Chennai. The general climate was extremely favourable for the composite industry.
Positive general climate
This third ICERP proved to be very dynamic and professional. Achievement was in the air, and the numbers of exhibitors (more than 60) and visitors (more than 2,000) were up compared to the 2004 ICERP. We observed that, while the trade fair is not heavily international, it is becoming more so, and with the notable participation of a number of Chinese companies. Interregional exchanges are growing by leaps and bounds, as we already noted in 2004.
The 2006 ICERP reflected the booming Indian composite market - and that is even an understatement, given the extremely high figures: 25% growth per year over the past three years. Now, you can’t get much better than that! The market is estimated at about 100,000 metric tons.
India is a very large country, with more than a billion inhabitants now, and enormous needs in nearly every field. As a result, even though the Indian composite market is driven mainly by the automotive, telecommunications and infrastructure industries, all application sectors are making progress, benefiting from the growth. A number of composite properties - in particular their processability - are highly appreciated, tipping the balance away from other materials.
Both modern and traditional
Following an official inauguration ceremony on a traditional note, the trade fair opened its doors on a world where down-to-earth projects rubbed shoulders with a bit of high-tech.
Although the number of exhibitors is still modest, the offering was in sync with an Indian market in search of basic equipment. Reinforcements and resins were wellrepresented, either directly or through local distributors, and processes like RTM, injection moulding, filament winding, sprayup, and hand lay-up were, as well.
The range of applications exhibited at the trade fair reflected the market’s need for basic equipment quite accurately, while high-tech processes and materials like carbon fibre were relatively few. On view were pipes, switch boxes, tanks and reservoirs, plumbing fixtures, railway equipment, automotive parts, wind-turbine components, ladders, grating/duckboard, windows, doors, decorative objects, and even a house. In this respect, the professionals show more confidence about the potential uses for composite materials, and the restraint you see in Europe, for example, is out of place in India.
Many of the projects are simple, but the potential volumes are considerable. As India’s production rates and overall development ramp up, the requirements in more sophisticated equipment, and also in more state-of-the-art applications, will become more apparent.
In parallel with the trade fair, a very full and complementary two-day programme of technical lectures took place. The topics of the more than 30 lectures were an indication of the high level of know-how.
We encourage you to keep in mind the next ICERP, which is scheduled for February 2008 in Chennai or, perhaps, Mumbai.