Up carbon creek without a paddle

It's not the just the bicycle industry that is faced with carbon fibre price hikes and shortages. Other "recreational sporting goods" markets are being impacted, too. A US high-end kayak paddle maker has told a composites forecasting newsletter that carbon manufacturers are "abandoning the recreational markets to chase long term aerospace contracts."
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BikeBiz.com first carried news of the impending world shortage of carbon fibre in May this year. In August, an Italian/Taiwanese supplier said the shortage was beginning to bite.

Bike companies such as Scott said their supply of High Modular Carbon Fibre was secure for "next season" but Dr. Sanjay Mazumdar, president and CEO of E-Composites, which forecasts the composites industry, has recently said demand of carbon fibre will double in the next few years.

The E-composites newsletter said there is now a "severe" global shortage of carbon fibre.

Werner Paddles of Washington State is one of the largest composite kayak paddle manufacturers and yet is having an increasingly hard time procuring 3k carbon woven fabric, said e-composites.

Andy Bridge, director of Werner's R&D said: “One weaver after another is being cut back or totally cut off on 3k fibre that is available for the recreation industry.”

He blames carbon manufacturers for abandoning the recreational markets to chase long term aerospace contracts.

“Ten years ago when the carbon supply was plentiful manufacturers aggressively pursued the recreational market. We have been a stable consistent customer for many years but that obviously does not count for much."

E-composites has a market report on the future challenges for the carbon fibre industry, details here:




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