July 13, 2012
Habibur Rahman Ibrahim has what could be described as a passion for plastic composites. The Malaysian businessman, who is executive director of glass-fiber plastic composite fabricator DK Composites Sdn. Bhd., believes the rising demand for better infrastructure in Asia, coupled with the need for lighter vehicles and lower carbon footprints, will mean substantial opportunities. He’s seen DK’s factory, on Malaysia’s west coast in Melaka, grow from a startup in 1997 to a 140 employee firm with business in boats, mosque domes and subway cars, with customers from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Zambia, Australia and the United States. There’s some evidence to support his view: Asia’s composites industry, including plastic composites, is the fastest growing in the world, projected to rise from 38 percent of global production in 2010 to 43 percent in 2015, according to Paris-based composites promoter JEC Group. Infrastructure is part of that. DK, for example, is developing glass-fiber-reinforced plastic components for mass-transit rail cars in Malaysia and Mumbai. It won an innovation award for that work from the JEC Asia composites show in June in Singapore.