Brazilian composites industry forecasts revenue growth of 8.2% in 2011

Brazilian industry of composite materials sold USD 440 million in the first quarter, 16.3% increase compared to the same period of last year.

The consumption of raw materials however, fell 8.7% totalizing 46,900 tons. The difference between both indicators is mainly due to repeated increase in the prices of petrochemical inputs. Figures are part of the latest survey by Maxiquim, consultancy commissioned by the Brazilian Association of Composites Materials (ABMACO).

The study of Maxiquim also forecasts an increase of 8.2% in the sector’s total revenue in 2011, reaching USD 1.725 – the revenue consisted of USD 1.595 billion last year. Concerning the consumption of raw materials, the consultancy estimates that Brazil will process 214,000 tons, 4.8% higher than the reached in 2010 (205,000 tons). Yet, the expected growth in the number of jobs is 1.8%, totaling 75 thousand vacancies.

All segments that consume composites materials must grow this year, but we believe that civil construction, wind energy generation and transportation will be responsible for even more expressive indexes

says Gilmar Lima, ABMACO’s president. About the transportation area, Lima highlights the positive impact that the anticipation on the acquisition of trucks and buses will promote in the last quarter of 2011, due to Euro 5 standard, which will come into force in the beginning of 2012 – vehicles adjusted to the new regulation, which controls the emissions of pollutants, are more expensive.

On the other hand, scarcity of qualified workforce in our sector is what concerns us, as well as the uncontrolled increase in prices of main inputs, the overvaluation of Real (Brazilian currency) and the chronic lack of government investment in infrastructur he says.

Study separates polyester and epoxy

This time, the research commissioned by ABMACO addressed the polyester resin composites separately from the ones based on epoxy resin. In the first case – 162,000 tons or 79% of the total processed in 2010 – civil construction kept the position of the highest consumer of the material, with 46%. Then, the automakers came, above all, the ones that manufacture heavy and agricultural vehicles, with 16%. The markets of corrosion (11%), sanitation (7%), electricity (4%), nautical (3%), petroleum (1%) and others (11%) complete the list.

The main positions in the ranking of the consumption of raw materials remained when the issue was participation in revenues – last year, the polyester composites generated revenues of USD 1.241 billion. However, there were changes in the following percentages: civil construction (37%), transportation (24%), corrosion (15%) and sanitation (8%). Due to higher value-added vessels, the nautical sector accounted for 6% of the revenue, outpacing the segment of electricity (2%). Other applications got 7%.

As for manufacturing processes, the manual technologies (Hand Lay-up and Spray-up) appeared way ahead, as usual, with 54.8%, followed by RTM (16.1%), Filament Winding (9.8%), Continuous Lamination (6.2%), Pultrusion (4.6%), BMC/SMC (2.8%) and others (5.6%).

Concerning the composites, whose polymer matrix is epoxy, the wind energy generation held 87.7% of total revenues of USD 353 million. Far behind, there were the sectors of petroleum (5.9%), electronics (2.1%) and others (4.3%). The infusion process, which is, for instance, employed in the manufacturing of wind blades, was the most used by the transformers (92.3%). On the whole, the country processed 43,000 tons of epoxy composites in 2010.