The interest in basalt fiber and basalt fiber-based composite materials is steadily growing – this is the result of the annual International Basalt Forum held in Moscow.
November 15-17, Moscow hosted the 2nd International Basalt Forum, which is a unique industry event in the field of basalt fiber and composites. For three days, the Forum platform was provided to the participants from different countries who got actively involved in the event activities.
The organizers, Basalt Projects GC and BasaltUnion NGO with the direct participation of Moscow Polytechnic University and the Technopolis Moscow prepared a program able to reflect the views of Forum participants on the processes taking place in the industry, to discuss the stimulating and constraining factors that provide a decisive impact on the industry growth.
The attendance increased by 30% in comparison with the 1st International Basalt Forum held in 2016, since over 300 people visited this event in 2017. Foreign colleagues’ engagement has also increased: the event attracted over 20 delegates from the foreign companies and organizations working in the composite industry.
The interest in basalt fiber was shared by carbon and glass fiber manufacturers, who are increasingly resorting to solutions that involve the use of basalt fiber due to its exceptional properties and relatively low cost. It was clearly articulated the importance of establishing inter-industry cooperation with carbon and glass fiber manufacturers, as well as with basalt fiber consumers specializing in a wide range of sectors, such as construction, chemical, nuclear, road construction, shipbuilding, aerospace etc.
The Forum has become a point of intersection for all the value chain players engaged in the manufacture of composite materials, including various composite sectors, suppliers and consumers, scientific and investment communities, and played as a convenient platform for developing common strategies for the effective promotion of composites to the markets.
Composite materials manufacturers, both domestic and international, expressed a clear interest in expanding the use of basalt fiber for the production of advanced composites with universal properties. Their attention was attracted by specific basalt fiber properties, including environmental friendliness and ease of processing. Basalt fiber may even outstrip glass fiber on the back of green technologies that have recently become a global trend, comments Boris Mislavskiy, Strategy and Development Director for Kamenniy Vek.
Compared to the previous year results, 2016 demonstrated a significant increase in continuous basalt fiber sales volume, which grew by 1.5 times, says Aleksey Udivanov, General Director for Russian Basalt LLC, speaking about the fiber produced by his company.
However, a few speakers paid attention to the “looping” of growing demand and production problems because high demand but insufficient supply make customers use already familiar glass or carbon, thus preventing basalt fiber production volumes from growing.
Inadequate regulatory framework, lack of basalt fiber-oriented GOSTs don’t allow basalt composites to be widely used and reduce all developers and researchers’ efforts to nothing, emphasized Evgeniy Afanasiev, General Director of design organization Mosspetspromproekt.
Everybody concurred that it is necessary to unite all players of the industry and related sectors for the successful incremental development of the basalt composites market.
Maxim Chernykh, General Director for Basalt Projects GC stressed: “We need to create a snowballing demand for continuous basalt fiber. It will enable many consumers to switch to this material and use it to manufacture their final products. Everyone understands and accepts this strategy. The 2nd International Basalt Forum showed that players in the basalt fiber market are ready to form unions and expand their market share. The projects announced at the Forum have already attracted the attention of strategic investors, so we have a little left to do: to start a collaborative movement”.
During the Forum the prospects for basalt fiber products were outlined in the reports and presentations, the context for effective application of their properties was analysed, and the main market trends were identified. Along with ongoing projects and already implemented solutions, the participants discussed theoretical insights into specific basalt fiber properties.
Aleksey Azarevich, General Director of Basalt Technologies Research Center Basalt.Centre said: “The industry has established itself as a viable one, because it is markedly growing and developing. During the last year we saw how bright ideas, fresh scientific solutions in some new sectors were emerging. A year ago there was no such interest in basalt fiber and its applications.”
Effective communication between the Forum participants led to signing the following documents: an agreement on mutual cooperation between Basalt Industry Development Union represented by the President Andrey Nikitin and Moscow Union of Composite Manufacturers (KTI Union) represented by the Director, candidate of technical sciences, Aleksandr Stepchenko. Their joint activity will be aimed at speeding up the process of entering promising composite products into the market, as well as improving the regulations and technical documentation in the field of new materials production and application.
On November 16, during the Development of Basalt Fiber and Basalt Composites Market session, it was signed a memorandum on cooperation between BasaltUnion and the Composite Cluster of Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Turkey). Mr Mehmet Karakhan, the Cluster Chairman, made a presentation at the Forum. The Memorandum of Cooperation is supposed to be the first step in establishing long-lasting international cooperation focused on expanding the production output and application range of composite products in the West Asian region.
“The International Basalt Forum is getting a platform to unify organizations and companies specializing in the composite industry in general and basalt industry in particular. Signed during the Forum, these important agreements reflect the commitment of various organizations to constructive joint activities and their growing interest in basalt composites. During the event several companies expressed their willingness to join BasaltUnion that is an organization eager to become a link for the constant interaction of industry players and solving current industry challenges,” commented the Forum results Andrey Nikitin.
The organizers of the 2nd International Basalt Forum express sincere gratitude to all those who supported the event organization process: the Government of Moscow, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, the Scientific and Production Center BasaltCenter, the Technopolis Moscow. And also to the general sponsor Rosneft, and the following sponsors: Basalt Projects JSC, Giproiv JSC, Avangard JSC, Gamma Meccanica S.p.A.