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Tracking Thermoplastic Composites Trends with A. Schulman

SpecialChem – Apr 4, 2016

Engineered composites address needs in a multitude of key markets such as automotive, aerospace, oil & gas, and electrical. We caught up with Frank Roederer, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Engineered Composites, A. Schulman, Inc. at the JEC World 2016 and asked him about the biggest trends he sees for 2016. Watch this interview to know more.




Frank Roederer Senior Vice President and General Manager Engineered Composites, A. Schulman, Inc.
Frank Roederer
Senior Vice President and General Manager

Engineered Composites, A. Schulman, Inc.

Frank Roederer has over 20 years of experience in the chemicals industry and has held high-ranking positions at several big chemical companies. Currently he is the Senior Vice President and General Manager, Engineered Composites with A. Schulman.


What are the Biggest Trends in your Field?


Trends vary depending on which market you are looking at, but common themes do emerge, particularly around lightweighting, high strength/stiffness, parts consolidation and cost reduction. Customers are always looking for increased performance with minimal cost impact, and that is why composites are so exciting now. They offer:

  • Significant weight reduction vs. traditional metals such as aluminum or steel,
  • Maintain outstanding performance attributes,
  • Incredible design freedoms not typically seen with metals.

Engineered composites address needs in a multitude of key markets such as automotive, aerospace, oil & gas, and electrical.

Do you Expect to See any New Developments in your Industry / Technology in the Coming Year?


We see more and more collaboration between us, the material solution providers and the OEMS who are looking for innovative designs. Being solution providers, we take care for:

  • Importance of having all disciplines take part upfront in a collaborative environment
  • Conceptual changes to design or materials can immediately undergo evaluation by our team for cost and production feasibility.

Because of this we recently announced the opening of our first Engineered Composites Innovation & Collaboration Center based in Bay City, MI, US. We believe customers are looking for partners to help them meet challenging application requirements.

Automotive market is the largest driver for composites demand
Automotive market is the largest
driver for composites demand

Which Market will Drive the Demand?


We see the automotive market as the largest driver for composites demand. The automotive manufacturers have been tasked with aggressive fuel consumption reduction and emission targets. Lightweighting is one of the key considerations to meet these goals.

Of course, costs for carbon fiber composites is a challenge at the moment, so we are seeing the higher end automobile manufacturers adopt them for their lower volume, higher performance vehicle builds; but we expect these products crossing over into mainstream manufacturers in the near future.

We are excited to be able to offer materials and design assistance to help them meet their stringent goals.

What will be the Greatest Challenges?


The greatest challenge will be to address all the needs of the market place:

  • Local supply for global customers
  • Changing socio-economic conditions
  • Ever-evolving regulations
  • Aggressive cost reduction programs
  • Sustainability and safety

It is most important to do this in an environment where we listen to the market and our customers in an open, honest and accountable manner.



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