HOUSTON JEC Group commences its 4th annual JEC Americas Composites Show and Conferences this week in downtown Houston, Texas. The globally-recognized, industry-leading event will focus on how composites are driving the energy, manufacturing and aerospace industries forward.

“The variety of participants, exhibitors and program topics at this year’s JEC Americas reflects the composites industry’s general expansion toward more diverse markets,” said Mrs Frédérique Mutel, president and CEO, JEC Group. “Companies are constantly tapping new materials and composites innovations to drive greater efficiency and stronger technologies, and the developments on display this year in materials, design and processing, especially highlight how this thriving industry is making a greater impact in the manufacturing and oil and gas sectors.”

Over the course of three days, attendees will experience a wide range of innovations in the composites industry and learn more about the latest trends from leading professionals and academics. Among the program themes are the long-term potential of natural fibers to make greener products, advancements in light-weighting to improve fuel efficiency in automobiles, and how new composites design and processing methods can improve new oil and gas extraction techniques. These and other topics will attract thousands of global professionals from diverse industries, all seeking new solutions to their unique business challenges.

These innovations underscore how the composite industry allows companies in diverse sectors to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible. And, to recognize how these new materials push the limits of innovation in all industries, 10 companies will be honored at the JEC Innovation Awards for their contributions to the continuing advancement of the composite industry.

“This year’s JEC Americas will gather some of the leading innovators in manufacturing composites, which will prove especially valuable in addressing the industry’s challenges of automation and light-weighting,” added Mutel. “In fact, 60 percent of the exhibitors at this year’s show offer solutions for manufacturing of composites, including equipment, software and tooling.”

As one of the keynote speakers, R. Byron Pipes of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) will explore such innovations in manufacturing and explain how achieving the promise of carbon fiber composites can positively transform the automotive industry. The conference will offer a glimpse of that carbon fiber future through the display of a 3D-printed Shelby Cobra, printed using 20 percent carbon fiber-reinforced ABS material. JEC Americas 2015 is the first American composites show to ever showcase the vehicle, a prominent symbol of the future of American manufacturing.

JEC Americas will lend further insight into developments in aeronautics and aerospace among the largest markets for composites. Attendees will explore current trends, including automated production and autoclave processing, as well as the latest technologies in flexible repair and light-weighting, among others. Former NASA astronaut Ron Garan will also deliver a keynote to illustrate the compelling role and value composites have in these industries.

“North America represents nearly one-third of the global composites industry in both value and volume, and the surge in oil and gas, manufacturing and aerospace activity occurring across the continent means composites have an even larger role to play in the future.” added Peter Zezima, Director, JEC Americas. “The new ideas and innovations presented this week illustrate the potential for continued growth in an already burgeoning composites industry.”