Composite materials are stronger and lighter than most metals, and therefore they gradually displace them from the industrial market. What will be used to create the planes and cars of the future, and what Russian manufacturers of composites of the world industry offer, these issues were discussed by the participants in the discussion Think Digital – Be Material. What the world of the digital era will be made of.

The production of promising materials based on the latest technologies in Russia is being actively developed by Rosatom. One of the areas is the production of carbon fiber-based polymer composite materials based on the UMATEX division, the largest producer of carbon composites in Russia.

The composite materials market is growing by 4% per year, and the carbon composites market is growing by 11% per year. Separate production facilities and entire industries are switching to them, said Alexander Tyunin, Director General of UMATEX. At the same time, steel is still the base metal for industry, although the technology for producing products from it is also changing.

“Steel is becoming thinner and stronger. If 30 years ago it was possible to make half of a conditional car body from a certain amount of steel, now the whole one may be made. It is obvious that composites are a threat to steel producers: the production of new materials is becoming more and more technologically advanced, and the cost price is decreasing. Robotization of production will reduce the cost of composite products by more than 20%,” said Andrey Laptev, Director for Business Development and Corporate Venture Projects of Severstal.

Aircraft structural elements, lamp posts, hockey sticks, pipes, prostheses and much more is made of composites in Russia. They are used in the nuclear industry, car manufacturing, and knowledge-intensive industries. However, often the raw materials have to be purchased abroad. One of the main tasks of Russian factories is to reject imported materials.

“Now we look how economically feasible it is to produce elements of our blades for wind farms in Russia. But a vector has been definitely chosen to use more elements from Russian-made composite materials, and we hope that this business case will be successful,” said Alisher Kalanov, Head of the Renewable Energy Sources Investment Division of RUSNANO Management Company.

The discussion was also attended by Ivan Savin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zaryad, Valery Gurinovich, Director General of Galen, Andrey Davidyuk, Commercial Director of Motorika, Sergey Moshonkin, Director of Vertikal, and Alexey Rachev, Director General of AVIAR Motors.