In 2017, sales in the Brazilian composites sector totaled US$ 720 million, 1.9% higher when compared to the previous year. This is the first positive result since 2014, when the Brazilian economic crisis began. The consumption of raw materials increased 23.2%, amounting to 196,000 tons, while the number of jobs fell 0.9%, totaling 59,000 jobs. The figures are from Maxiquim, a consulting firm hired by the Latin American Composite Materials Association (ALMACO).
“The transportation market was crucial for us to achieve this performance, especially due to the high demand for agricultural vehicles, such as tractors and harvesters. It is worth noting that poles for power grids also contributed, hence considering the infrastructure sector,” said Gilmar Lima, president of ALMACO. The differences between the sales and raw material volume indicators are basically due to the price fluctuations registered in the period.
For 2018, Maxiquim’s forecast is that sales should reach US$ 790 million, that is, 9.4% higher than in 2017, while the consumption of raw materials should grow 4.8%, corresponding to 205,000 tons.
“Transportation, agribusiness and infrastructure will continue to grow. In parallel, segments that faced many difficulties over the past two years, such as the construction, wind and gas, should report a recovery. And new niches will continue to emerge, albeit slowly, supported by the flexibility and lightness typical of composites.”
Despite the results reported in 2017 and the optimistic forecasts for this year, the president of ALMACO does not yet consider that the negative phase that has been faced by the composites sector since 2014 has fully ended. “We have lost a lot in the past three years. In terms of volume, in 2016 we repeated the results of 2006.” For this reason, he said that the companies that integrate the production chain of the material turned their efforts solely to their survival, leaving creativity, knowledge and the maintenance of talents aside. “Now we need to stay alert, rethink our organizations and seek financial and strategic alliances to help us invest in education, innovation and communication.”
According to Lima, ALMACO’s role in this recovery should be that of stimulating and taking companies out of their comfort zone, helping to strengthen not only the manufacturers of raw materials, distributors and processors, but also composite users, the community in general and government entities. “It’s time to be restless and invest in people, relationship, knowledge and in the management of humanized excellence. Let’s raise the banner of union and anticipation, because if we do not help each other, we will fail together,” he concluded.