Directory and Report 2002-2003
by Mel M. Schwartz
Although the composites industry is relatively small compared to other materials and manufacturing industries, finding a specific material or service can still be a challenge. A general directory like the Thomas Register might have what you need, but the volume of the database can make it difficult to search.
For a specialized industry like composites, a specialized directory is usually the best solution. And if you are located in Europe, or looking for a European company, then the "European Composites Directory and Report 2002-2003" is the reference you should turn to.
The "Directory" lists over 1500 composite companies in both Western and Eastern Europe. The bulk of the "Directory" is an A-Z listing of companies. Each entry includes the company name, address, phone and fax number, type of company (manufacturer, distributor, consultancy, etc.) and a brief listing of products and services. Additional information is provided when available, and may include e-mail and Internet addresses, contact name(s), annual turnover (business volume in local currency), number of employees, year founded, product trade names and more.
The last third of the "Directory" is a cross-reference listing divided into seven major product and service categories (materials, ancillary products, equipment, composite products, processing methods, services and applications). Each section simply lists the names of the companies involved in each area. The major categories are further broken down into more specific subcategories. For example, Materials contains 10 major subcategories (Resins, Gel-coats, Preforms, etc.); the Prepregs subcategory is further subdivided into 15 more categories by reinforcement and matrix type. This extensive cross-referencing makes it very simple to find a supplier of the exact product or service you are looking for.
The "Directory" also includes a 26 page market overview of the composites industry, written by Elizabeth Marsh, an independent consultant who has authored several market reports. The market overview is a very honest look at the global composites industry, including U.S, European and Asian markets.
Marsh does a good job of examining statistics and showing the real market trends. Although she warns that it is important to be careful when reading predictions of high growth, that is simply a realistic assessment of the state of the industry. Many reports in the past have predicted high rates of growth, either for the industry as a whole or for specific segments. In most cases, these growth rates failed to materialize. By examining why the rates have remained low, companies can better plan for future investments and identify those areas that do have the best potential.
An appendix to the market report provides a timeline of major industry events in 2001. The timeline emphasizes the trend, described in the main report, of consolidation and diversification within the industry. For example, both the carbon and glass fiber markets are dominated by a few large companies. The smaller companies, like Zoltek, Aldila and Hexcel, all have in-house uses for their fibers. Component manufacturers, on the other hand, are usually small and specialized, making them sensitive to raw material price fluctuations over which they have little or no control. Consolidation within the component sector would give the resulting larger companies a broader customer base and more pricing leverage.
Details: "European Composites Directory and Report 2002-2003",
edited by Nick Dellow, published by Materials Technology Publications,
2002, ISBN 1-871677-41-6.
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