Richards of PPG Fiber Glass says bringing new reinforcement products to market is a tricky marriage between market needs and production volumes. “It is a chicken-egg scenario, bringing a new glass technology to the market, then gaining qualifications while developing product breadth to meet multiple needs on large production volume furnaces,” she says. “Often times the volumes start out low, and we need to be patient while those volumes scale up. But this is an exciting time.”

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The Audi RS3 Sportback features biaxial C-PLY carbon fiber material in its front fenders. Chomorat, which manufactures C-PLY, is opening a new 80,000-square-foot facility in Anderson, S.C., by the middle of this year to produce the material.

Whether reinforcement suppliers are branching into new areas or trying to improve upon existing ones, corporate partnerships within the industry is key. Says Liles, “There’s still a lot of collaboration that needs to be done to make better composite materials and push into areas where composites haven’t ventured yet.”