Ahead of the upcoming GOCarbonFibre conference, we grabbed 60 seconds with Tim McCarthy, Commercial Officer at LeMond Carbon Inc. to get a sneak peek of what we can expect from his presentation. Here's what he had to say...
You will be on the panel session “Low cost carbon fibre – can it be achieved? “ - why do you see this as a key consideration for the industry?
Because carbon fibre is a compelling engineering material with unparalleled specific stiffness and strength. If it were lower in cost, we would build many more things out of it. The long-term demand for carbon fibre is very much price elastic so any meaningful measures of lowering cost could be impactful on demand.
How does the carbon fibre industry market look today?
In regards to lowering the cost, it doesn’t look good. The industry incumbents have not delivered any innovation around low-cost carbon fibre manufacturing technology. The industry keeps scaling traditional technology. Only relative “outsiders” are proposing lower cost manufacturing methods. Most of the conventional cost reduction initiatives are downstream in the value chain around moulding parts or producing intermediates.
What have been the most significant shifts in the carbon fibre and composites industry over the last couple of years?
The drop in demand for aerospace carbon fibre due to COVID and the collapse of the commercial aircraft industry has been relatively unprecedented. This has been the biggest event. The expansion of carbon fibre use and manufacturing in China is a sort of mega trend in the industry as well.
The past year has been one of many challenges – how do you see the carbon fibre and composites industry overcoming these challenges and moving forward?
The aerospace industry will eventually recover but we don’t know how long it will take and until it does, things will not be the back to “normal”. With the global economic situation there will be some reluctance to add new capacity. Further, the inability to travel has and will continue to slow the pace of some development programs for new applications. Automotive seems very quiet now.
Why do you think people should attend GOCarbonFibre 2021?
To learn and share ideas or perspectives about how the industry will evolve. Always good!