Studies see significant growth for hybrid materials in the automotive sector

 Donnerstag, 17.03.2022

After a slump due to the Corona pandemic, the market for composites in the automotive sector will grow significantly again in the coming years. This is the result of several studies in this sector. For example, the experts from “Markets and Markets” see an average annual growth rate of 11.5 percent up to 2025, while the experts from “Mordor Intelligence” even forecast a plus of more than 13 percent up to 2026. GRAFE, with its headquarters in Blankenhain, sees itself as excellently positioned to support automotive customers accordingly due to its in-house expertise in coloring these hybrid materials.

The AVK 2020 market report also states that the transportation transition means enormous opportunities for composites, as established construction patterns will have to be rethought to make way, where appropriate, for new, lighter materials, load-bearing structures and modern aesthetic designs. “Composites can fulfill these points,” the experts state in their study. GRAFE’s colorists count color design as one of the most important design aspects. In this regard, the experts have extensive expertise and many years of experience in coloring and modifying plastics. Thus, GRAFE also extended its development work to the coloring of customized CFRP composites, with the use of recycled grades also becoming increasingly important in this field of application.

Together with customers from the automotive industry, the GRAFE Mobility Solutions Division has now developed more than 10,000 color formulations. In the automotive sector, the company’s development focus includes color additive combination masterbatches for ABS plastics, solutions for the antistatic equipment of olefinic plastics such as PE and PP, the improvement of the scratch resistance of plastics, and the use of recycled material in customer-specific CFRP composites for applications in the field of electromobility. In this area, for example, plastics with a 30 percent recycled content have already been colored by GRAFE. 

The company’s experts support customers beyond product development during the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) approval process and during series production. Customer service is provided on a project-related and supraregional basis. Well-known German and international automotive manufacturers are convinced of GRAFE’s quality and comprehensive range of services. GRAFE’s automotive division has established itself as one of the leading suppliers in the automotive industry over the past 15 years. So far, more than 40 automotive manufacturers have mapped more than 1,000 interior trim colors in more than 50 different thermoplastics.

Growth forecasts are driven by increasing demand for fuel-efficient cars and by the rapidly growing electric vehicle segment. In both cases, low weight is the decisive factor, which is why efforts to substitute metal parts with plastic and composite components are continuing. The reason, according to the market studies, is the stringent regulations such as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and the European Emission Standards (EES) set by the governments of the U.S. and Europe for car manufacturers, requiring them to cut weight in order to reduce consumption by using lighter materials.