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Sustainability, AI, and Sports! The 411 on JEC World 2024

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JEC World 2024 wrapped up on March 7th and it was yet another successful three days for the composite and advanced materials industry! As the premier event for composites, the event welcomed more than 1,300 exhibitors and 43,500 attendees over the course of three days. Recognized as the “festival of composites,” JEC World caters to the entire value chain– supplying endless and enticing innovation to all. 

Source: JEC World

This year’s focus was on sustainable solutions, developing new processes and products, and the integration of advanced technology to create lighter, smarter, and stronger composites for every purpose across all industries. 

The main themes were sustainability, new materials, and imaginative manufacturing processes through cutting-edge technology. While the startups’ products and processes are applicable to most industries, the focal point remains automotive, aerospace, sport, and construction.

QUICK STATS:

  • 1,300 exhibitors 
  • 43,500 attendees 
  • 49 countries represented 
  • 27 international pavilions
  • 20 startup booster finalists

Highlights

Building a sustainable future: Sustainability was the main topic at JEC from startups to large corporations. All companies from startups to industry experts are focused on innovative sustainable solutions and ensuring that all future development is executed with sustainability as a premier factor. While lightweight materials are the standard of the industry, companies are shifting their focus to high rate production systems, circular economy integration, and developing advanced thermoplastics and hybrid materials. Beyond the material processes themselves, the lighter and sustainable composites lead towards energy-efficient travel, transportation, and construction. 

Digitally driven development: The integration of digital technologies, such as AI-driven simulations and tools, continues to revolutionize the processes and manufacturing systems of composites. Automation focus, such as robots,  were front and center at countless booths across all halls. The rapidly developing process automation was demoed throughout the halls– the machinery are able to laminate and lay fibers with precision and accuracy. 

Sports Summit: Developed in partnership with Global Sports Week, the JEC Sports Summit program addressed the close connection between composite and advanced materials and the sports industry. As Paris prepares to host the 2024 Olympic Games this upcoming summer, the Sports Summit emphasized how composite material are at the core of performance– from sailing to cycling to skiing. Some highlights included an address from Cedric Roussel, Ministerial Delegate Sports Economy 2024OPG, where he discussed France’s goals for the 2024 Games and how the Games serve as an economic catalyst for sustainability and innovation. Other key panel topics were composites in Paralympic sport equipment and a focus on the revolutionary adoption of foils in competitive water sports. 

JEC Startup Booster

JEC Startup Booster: For Team Sesamers, the focus was on the JEC Startup Booster, the premier startup competition. The 20 finalists set up shop in the Startup Booster Village, the central hub for startups, over the course of three days. Each company had their own table where they were able to display and demo their product, host meetings with potential investors or partners, and network within the startup community. The startup finalists embodied a wide array of innovative possibilities and solutions in the composite industry across the two categories of “Products & Materials” and “Process, Manufacturing, & Equipment.” 

If you missed the finalist announcement earlier this year, here is a quick overview of the 20 finalists. The startups, hailing from 11 different countries, all pitched 20 unique startups with a strong emphasis on bio-sourced materials, cutting-edge technology and products, and solutions to the composite industry.  

Products & Materials: 

Process, Manufacturing, & Equipment:

This year’s jury panel consisted of 5 members– both new and returning members.

On Day 1 of JEC, there were two pitching sessions held throughout the day, moderated by Peter Hapwood; in the morning, we heard from the 10 startups in the “Products & Materials” category, and in the afternoon, the other ten in “Process, Manufacturing, & Equipment.” Out of the 20 finalists, three winners were selected—one in each category and one overall award for the most sustainable solution.

On Day 2 of JEC, the startups participated in “speed sessions” with industry experts and investors. During these rapidfire meetings, startups are able to pitch their company to experts within their specific field or discuss their startup with a new set of eyes and ears. As potential investors, the experts are able to network with a wide range of startups, with the strong possibility of finding a feature partner or expanding their portfolio.   

After jury deliberations at the Owens Corning booth, the jury carefully and thoroughly deliberated the finalists to determine this year’s winners. Selecting the winners was a close call, but the three winners demonstrate the core ethos of the competition– exhibiting ingenuity, innovation, and expertise in their five-minute pitch.

The 2024 Winners:

  1. Zila Bioworks – “Products & Materials”
  2. TechnoCarbon Technologies – “Process, Manufacturing, & Equipment”
  3. BioHalo – “Sustainability”

Looking to 2025!

For those interested in applying to the JEC Startup Booster 2025, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, where we will announce the application process when it opens.  

Want more from Sesamers?

We have several podcast episodes coming out soon from JEC World with startup founders and other industry experts. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and X to be the first to listen to the new episodes.

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