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Composite Application Center to launch in Singapore to meet demand for stronger and lighter composites

A GROUP of 10 companies and two research institutes are coming together to start a centre in Singapore to develop advanced composites, in anticipation of higher demand for stronger and lighter products.

The centre, which will start operations on May 1, will provide a platform for customer trials, prototyping, pilot manufacturing, training and support services.

The group, spearheaded by Singapore-based Composite Cluster Singapore, on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding for the launch of the Composite Application Center (CAC) at the Germany-Singapore Business Forum held at Hannover Messe, the world's largest industrial technology fair.

The companies include Singapore plastics-solutions provider Sakura Tech and German companies Covestro and Hufschmied.

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Product companies can tap into CAC's combined expertise and facilities to reduce initial investments and risk for composite-related product design and manufacturing, said Covestro, a German high-tech polymer manufacturer, in a press statement.

The centre will also work with international leaders in composite research, as well as regional education and training centres, to allow the industry to tap into the latest technologies and create a sustainable talent pool.

Composite Cluster Singapore managing director Florian Doetzer said that the initiative was formed in response to the request of the composites industry to bring together partners from all stages of the value chain.

"Through this integration, the CAC will be able to develop end-to-end solutions," he said.

David Hartmann, co-chief executive of Covestro's continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites business, said that advanced composites, especially thermoplastic materials, will play an important role in satisfying growing demand for strong and light materials.

"For this purpose, partnerships need to be formed within the industry to deploy solutions that can help get those next-generation products into consumers' hands," he said.

"CAC offers a unique platform for partnerships to grow, and that's an invitation we would like to extend to everybody in the composites and adjacent industries."

Such composites are in demand in the electronics industry, which wants stronger and lighter materials to produce thinner parts, as well as in other segments such as automotive businesses, household appliance manufacturers and producers of sports goods and shoes.

Singapore Economic Development Board energy and chemicals director Cindy Koh said that Singapore's strong fundamentals in manufacturing, coupled with its investments in technology, are enabling the country to anchor new activities in new and growing areas such as composites.