In addition, Gradert noted that composites are poised to play a key role in Airbus’ journey toward sustainability. “To keep flying economically viable, aircraft needed to be more fuel efficient,” she said. “And to be more fuel efficient, they needed to weigh less. This leads to the significant increase in the use of composite materials.”

Finally, during Good Day, CAMX! Joel Whitehouse, corporate development director of Hill & Smith Holdings, provided CAMX attendees with a closer look at the global outlook on the 2020 economy and what may lie ahead in 2021 and beyond.

“The global economic view … continues to develop on a daily basis,” Whitehouse said. “Coronavirus continues to dominate the economy and global financial markets.” He said that while second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) shows extensive declines, the monthly information since then indicates a rapid pick up and a “decent” third quarter is likely for most economies.

Whitehouse stressed that even in these most uncertain of times, one of the main keys to business success remains tried-and-true: focusing on the customer. “The question should always be, how do we make the customer’s life easier?” he said and pointed to another fundamental: “When the customer wins, we win.”

Connections and Education Abound

In addition to a full conference lineup of keynote speakers, CAMX 2020 offered attendees the chance to participate in a variety of featured sessions/panels and more intimate campfire sessions focusing on subjects ranging from infrastructure solutions to the expanding role of women in the composites industry.

During the featured session Composites 4.0 Factory of the Future: Best Practices, panelists discussed how the industrial revolution – now seeing the 4th recognized global expansion into composites, manufacturing, and new market applications – is becoming more broadly understood. The panel explored the integration of data coupled with internet availability, software technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) that supports business models across supply chains. This panel was one of many, spanning a variety of topics, that allowed attendees to learn firsthand about the latest innovations from industry insiders.

This year’s CAMX campfire sessions offered an engaging, yet intimate setting for smaller groups to gather (virtually) to learn, discuss and hear from others. Subjects varied, including opportunities for composites in high-performance sports equipment, the industry’s response to COVID-19 and helping young industry professionals connect with industry leaders and each other. Over 50 people joined the “Women in Composites” campfire session, where a new “Women in the Composites Industry” organization dedicated to helping women pave their way in the composites and advanced materials industry was announced. The organization will focus on making an impact in the plant, lab and office for women in the industry.

Finally, this year’s CAMX exhibit hall went virtual, too. Over 110 exhibitors populated their virtual exhibit spaces with interactive content including videos, which were viewed over 8,000 times in total. In addition, attendees and exhibitors alike were able to hold virtual meetings at their exhibit spaces – over 820 were held this year – providing opportunities to conduct business and make connections similarly to in-person CAMX events.

While CAMX 2020 was a different experience than in years past, the fundamentals remained the same: education, networking and connections. Even though those in attendance were not able to gather face-to-face this year, the spirit of collaboration and innovation was easy to feel, even virtually.