Reinforced plastic or composites are made of polymer, glass fibre or carbon fibre. These are widely used in sectors like chemical, technical textile, electrical, and automotive, among others but 30% of their worldwide consumption is attributed to the defence sector.
Indian reinforced plastic manufacturers claim that India’s production is at 340,000 tonnes as compared to China’s 2,200,000 tonnes. As per Professor S C Lakkad, chairman of FRP Institute, “The current rate of growth in composites industry is a meagre 6% per annum, which is the half of the global annual growth rate of 12%, in spite of the huge untapped potential”.
Indian reinforced plastic manufacturers want the government to increase their production limit. The industry players came together to put forth their demands on 27th December, 2016, before the International Conference and Exhibition on Reinforced Plastics (ICERP), which will be held from January 10th to 12th, 2017.
Since the consumption of composites is very low in the Indian defence sector, Russia and China have been aiming for the Indian market due to its high growth potential. Seeing the recent rise in supplies from Russia and China for reinforced plastic, the industry leaders put forth a demand to Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar. The demand states that the Indian reinforced plastic industry should provide the raw materials to the defence sector instead of relying on imports.
If the defence ministry complies, the Indian reinforced plastic sector will see an increase in demand. This growth, however, has a flipside – majority of the reinforced plastic is non-recyclable. Only one-fourth of the thermoplastics can be recycled after they are used or live out their shelf-life.