TeXtreme Sponsored Team Wins Formula Student

17 July 2012

The 2012 Formula Student UK competitions at the Silverstone race circuit took place between the 11th and 15th July, 2012, and resulted in a victory for the Chalmers Formula Student team from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.

According to Oxeon, Formula Student is the world’s largest competition for engineers, and is described as “The competition challenges student engineers to design, build and race a single seat racing car in one year. The cars are then judged on their speed, acceleration, handling and endurance in a series of time-trial races, while the teams are tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills”

Oxeon explains that TeXtreme has been successfully used in Formula 1 for many years and almost as long as there has been teams in Formula Student. Oxeon has supported the Chalmers Formula student team with TeXtreme carbon reinforcements for many years and are glad to see results of the cooperation.

Jens Kjellerup, member of the Chalmers Formula Student team says “We have used TeXtreme in basically all carbon composite parts on the car. The stiffness surpasses our demands which give an advantage regarding performance. The benefits of TeXtreme is that it is light and strong, our composite parts weighs considerably less compared to if using other carbon materials. During the competition the officials and judges estimated our wing package to 17kg, but they were wrong, it weighs only 10kg, thanks to TeXtreme.”

“Chalmers University’s car is a masterpiece of engineering that makes a worthy winner. As well as being one of the fastest cars, it also performed consistently and impressively in the static events,” Andrew Deakin, Formula Student Vice Chairman, comments.

Oxeon says that four of the top five teams in Formula Student UK 2012 are using TeXtreme as their principal composite reinforcement, leading to notable results. TU Munich won the sprint event, and DUT Racing won the design event, to mention some other good performances from Silverstone.

A selection of teams using TeXtreme in Formula Student 2012 are as follows:
• Chalmers Formula Student - Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden (1th place)
• DUT Racing – Delft University, Netherlands (2nd place)
• TU Munich – Technical University Munich, Germany (4th place)
• Rennteam Stuttgart – University of Stuttgart, Germany (5th place)

In total there are almost 20 Formula Student teams benefitting from TeXtreme Spread Tow carbon reinforcements worldwide.

AIREX T92 SealX Cored Pauger Yacht Wins Balaton Blue Ribbon Regatta 2012

17 July 2012

Pauger Carbon Composites designed and built the high performance 50 foot catamaran “Fifty-Fifty” just in time for the l0ong-distance sailing regatta “Blue Ribbon” on the Lake Balaton, Hungary.

With the twin-mast catamaran design the Pauger team says it went for maximum power and lightest weight. The carbon fibre and epoxy infused sandwich hulls are cored with the new AIREX T92 SealX. They say this recently introduced PET-based core material features the lowest resin uptake in infusion and thus further helped to keep the boat’s weight at a minimum.

According to Airex, the efforts of the design team and the sailing crew paid off double: not only did the team win this in-shore sailing regatta; they also broke the long-standing speed record by completing the 150 km race course in just 10 hours and 13 minutes. With wind speeds of 10 knots the boat achieved speeds of 24 knots!

Dénes Paulovits, Founder and Manager of Pauger is extremely proud of this success “We’re very satisfied with the new AIREX T92 SealX as its extremely low resin uptake made it the lightest core material for our application”.

Amber Composites Extends Tooling Prepreg Range New Products Aid Large Tool Making

17 July 2012

Amber Composites has added three products to its HX series prepreg range, providing more choice of outlife and cure schedules to tool manufacturers, enabling larger and higher quality tooling for complex composite structures.

The new tooling systems are designed to work seamlessly with Amber’s growing range of component prepreg.

According to Amber, the HX series tooling has been in use worldwide for nearly twenty five years and is known for excellent performance and ease of use. New additions to the line include HX32 and HX40, which enable larger tools with extended outlife, and HX44 with similar properties but specially formulated for glass tooling.

Amber Composites says it won recognition from the British government recently when it chose Amber as one of the stars of British manufacturing. And, the UKTI has recently acknowledged Amber for its strong export business.

“We are developing new component prepreg, including fire retardant systems, toughened systems, and out-of-autoclave systems while extending our tooling range,” said Jonathan McQueen, Managing Director at Amber Composites. “The second half of 2012 will see quite a few new component and tooling prepregs coming to market.”

“After successfully using Amber’s HX42 tooling system, we tested their new HX32 tooling prepreg, in both 200gsm and 650gsm. The handling of the material has been easy, with good tack and drapability. Curing at 70°C for 12 hours was convenient and yielded a good surface finish and tool quality. For tools made to mould 120°C parts, we will now be using this material in production.” said Jean-Baptiste Mouton, Composites Engineer at Multiplast.

Composites Consumption in Asia Pacific Wind Energy Industry Forecast to cross 1000 million lbs by 2017

17 July 2012

According to Composite Insights’ latest market study, consumption of composite materials forecast to decelerate through 2017 in Asia Pacific Wind Energy Industry.  

The study reports that, for the second year running, the majority of new installations were outside the Europe and America. In 2011 Asia Pacific was the largest wind market in the world, with over 21.5 GW capacity addition. It is estimated by Composite Insights that Asia Pacific will continue to be the world’s largest market through 2017. In Asia Pacific, there are more than 50 blade manufacturers involved in developing wind turbine blades and most of them are very small with product portfolio of 1 - 3 small size blades.

The study says that Asia Pacific will continue to be the world’s largest market with far more new installations than any other region, installing 135 GW between 2012 and 2017. Asia Pacific wind energy market is dominated with standard utility-scale wind turbines (0.75 MW to 2 MW).  These turbines fitted with three blades of 30 to 50 m (100-165 ft) in length. The wind energy industry is one of the fastest growing consumers of composite materials in the world. Composite Insights believes there is an enormous opportunity for raw materials used in the fabrication of composite blades in Asia Pacific Wind Energy Industry.

Following domestic demand growth for wind turbine blades, nacelle covers and nose cones, the study explaisn that the demand for composite materials in the Asia Pacific Wind Energy industry is expect to cross 1000 million lbs in 2017 in terms of volume shipments.     

This report is now available from the NetComposites Store and can be found here -

Composites Manufacturer Hexcel Joins Singapore A*STAR Aerospace Programme Consortium

17 July 2012

Hexcel has joined Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Aerospace Programme (AP).

Initiated in 2007, Hexcel explains that the A*STAR Aerospace Programme fosters synergies between industry members and its research institutes, aiming to maximise research outcomes and stretch the research dollar for participating members. Hexcel says that Singapore is the largest Manufacturing, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) hub for the aerospace industry in Asia Pacific, holding a quarter of the region’s market share for MRO activities.  It possesses nose-to-tail capabilities that include airframe maintenance, engine overhaul, structural and avionics systems repair, as well as aircraft modifications and conversion. As strategic technology partners within the A*STAR AP, aircraft manufacturers, engine and component OEM’s and system providers can tap into the pool of scientific know-how, infrastructure and joint investments in R&D to optimise business opportunities and reduce investment costs. Such collaborative efforts will also enhance competitiveness of AP members and the build-up of aviation capabilities in Singapore.

According to Hexcel, the consortium has commissioned 37 projects to date, driving next-generation technologies ranging from sophisticated in-flight entertainment systems, MRO innovations for faster turnaround times and alternative green energy sources that lower carbon footprint.  With Hexcel coming on board the A*STAR AP, its membership currently stands at 18 companies, comprising of other players in the aerospace industry such as Boeing, EADS, General Electric, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce.

Paul Mackenzie, Hexcel’s VP Research & Technology said “Joining the A*STAR Aerospace programme will provide Hexcel with additional R&T resources in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region to complement our own world class composites research facilities in Europe and the USA.  We share the opinion of other A*STAR members that technological advances through R&D hold the key to redefining air travel and creating the aerospace industry of the future.  We look forward to working with other A*STAR members to jointly build a long term technology roadmap and develop new technologies in strategic areas to benefit the industry as a whole.”

Mr Tay Kok Khiang, A*STAR Aerospace Programme’s Chairman said “The demands on the aviation industry can only continue to increase and the AP offers our aviation partners additional capabilities, combined with its in-house capabilities to undertake R&D in new technologies to enhance their competitiveness and seize market opportunities.  Through collaboration, our consortium members achieve better outcomes at lower cost; deliver cutting-edge aviation technologies to market in a shorter span of time.  Each of the AP members enhances the value of the programme and Hexcel’s expertise in the area of composite materials will further increase our spectrum of capabilities in advanced materials, manufacturing processes, inspection and non-destructive testing as well as computation modelling and simulation.  We welcome Hexcel to the A*STAR Aerospace Programme.”

Dymax’s Versatile Dispensing Systems Offer Accuracy and Consistency

17 July 2012

Dymax’s new Model 475 valve dispensing systems utilise a pneumatic, normally closed diaphragm valve to accurately dispense low- to high-viscosity fluids.  

According to Dymax, the design of the internal diaphragm and adjacent parts prevents migration of fluid into the actuating section within the valve.  The toughness of the diaphragm, along with the selection of appropriate materials for component construction, ensures long diaphragm and valve life between maintenance schedules. It says these features also make these valve systems ideal for dispensing light-curable materials as well as reactive materials such as cyanoacrylates, anaerobics, and solvent-based products.

Dymax explains that accurate, repeatable performance is easily achieved by utilising the valve’s stroke adjustment knob to precisely dial in a desired shot volume.  It says the included 25-micron air filter regulator permits the passing of only clean, dry, particulate-free air, ensuring the system’s long and continuous life.  The regulator includes an integrated shutoff valve and pressure exhaust to quickly and safely depressurise the system, eliminating the need for the operator to open and close the regulator.

Thermosetting Resins for Stator Encapsulation in Electro-Mobility and Industrial Motors

17 July 2012

Dr Werner Hollstein from Huntsman Advanced Materials has looked at how the latest epoxy and polyurethane encapsulation systems are capable of supporting, or even enabling, new and robust motor designs with the assurance of high cost-efficiency and quality.

According to Hollstein, emerging challenges for the development of motors and generators for industrial and automotive applications include size reduction, higher integration density, more power output, greater reliability and endurance, resistance to harsh environments and noise reduction.  He says simple varnishing for the electrical insulation and mechanical fixation of rotor and stator windings is typically used, but this tends to result in the following issues:

•    Various losses in operation leading to high temperatures and overheating
•    Vibrations causing wear and the short-circuiting of windings
•    Aggressive oils, chemicals, vapours and humidity attacks damaging windings

Hollsein suggests that as the load on the motor increases, so do the operational losses mentioned above.  Thermosetting resin systems for encapsulation and impregnation provide an answer to these problems. One option is a fully encapsulated stator where the copper windings, gaps and undercuts are completely impregnated and filled with polymer.
He explains that a sealing core is placed in the middle of the stator to assure vacuum tightness and to prevent the resin from contaminating the metal laminations.  The liquid resin system is degassed and potted, preferably under vacuum, into the stator.  It is essential that the resin system has a low viscosity and sufficient latency to enable fast filling and impregnation.  Following this, the oven curing needs to be optimised and controlled to minimise volume shrinkage and mechanical stresses.

Another option is the encapsulation of the end-turns.  He says that, in general, more than 60% of lost heat is produced in the end-turns of a stator.  Therefore it’s most effective to only pot the gap between the end-turns and housing.
When selecting a suitable encapsulant Huntsman says it is important to choose one which offers high thermal conductivity, precisely defined flow properties and short curing times.

Formulated epoxy resin systems are irreplaceable in many electrical applications.  They offer excellent electrical insulation, good mechanical characteristics, chemical resistance and thermal endurance.  Processing at temperatures between 60 to 80°C significantly reduces the viscosities of these systems, allowing higher filler loadings and fast filling properties.  Final curing requires temperatures above 100°C.  

According to Huntsman, Araldite CW 229-3 / Aradur HW 229-1 is a good example of a prefilled resin system which provides high crack and thermal shock resistance. It says 20 test cycles were successfully conducted down to temperatures as low as -80°C.  The impregnation capability was proven to be good, with a heat conductivity of 0.7 W/m K. Thermal endurance in long-term ageing tests (IEC 60216) resulted in a thermal index of more than 180°C (class H).  Even 200°C was determined as a relative temperature index (RTI) following UK746B.

They say that to respond to demands for short cycle times, Araldite CW 229-3 / Aradur HW 229-1 is also available with higher reactivity, making the mandatory need for the post-curing of normal systems obsolete.  This non-post-cure (NPC) system is suited to the automated pressure gelation (APG) process, offering additional advantages of shorter moulding times and lower mould temperatures.

If heat dissipation is the most important requirement for stator encapsulation, Araldite® XB 2710 / Aradur XB 2711 provides a good solution, facilitating heat conductivity at 1.5 W/m K and the assurance of high thermal conductivity.  In offering similar properties to Araldite CW 229-3 / Aradur HW 229-1, this system also offers excellent crack resistance and low coefficient of thermal expansion.

Huntsman claims that amines are the most commonly used curing agents for epoxy cure saying however, the reactivity of these systems allows them to also cure at room temperature.  No ovens are needed and therefore processing equipment is much simpler and lower in cost.  Araldite XB 2252 / Aradur XB 2253 is a cold curing epoxy resin system with excellent flowability and impregnation features.  Thermal endurance is exceptionally high with a thermal index of 180 C fulfilling class F.  

Hollstein says polyurethanes (PUR) have been used for electrical insulation since the beginning of the 1950s when cost-efficient raw materials became available on an industrial scale. He continues, the chemical reaction of a polyol and an isocyanate results in a polymer with urethane linkages.  If crosslinking occurs in three dimensions, the resulting polymer belongs to the class of elastomers and thermosets.  The curing reaction is fast and exothermal at room temperature and no ovens are needed.  Because of the large variety of polyols, isocyanates, modifiers and fillers, PURs can be tailored for a broad range of applications, including full stator encapsulation.

He says Arathane CW 5631 / HY 5610 is easy to process and has good impregnation capabilities; these are exceptional features for a PU system.  The flame retardancy UL94 V-0 is met for the cured material, heat conductivity is in the range of 0.6 W/m K and excellent heat ageing resistance is provided.

Most epoxy based systems are supplied as two separate components. Hollstein claims that, for mass production, an extensive range of equipment is required to process these systems.  One-component products are much simpler to process and significantly reduce machinery needs.  Existing one-component epoxies are in commercial use as adhesives, sealants, moulding compounds and impregnation and casting resins.

Aratherm CW 2731 has been developed for the encapsulation of motor and generator end-turns.  This ‘pasty’ single component epoxy is prefilled with a special type of filler to achieve a high heat conductivity of 3.0 W/m K.  Huntsman says it requires no pre-heating, homogenisation or degassing and flowability can easily be adjusted to fill the gaps between the wires and housing.  Oven curing is not needed if the heat capacity of the pre-heated stators is high enough to keep the temperature above 150°C for an hour.

Hollstein says that, in summary, the on-going challenge to produce motors and generators that offer more power output, higher integration density, higher reliability, resistance to harsh conditions and noise reduction, thermosetting resin systems for full stator or end-turn encapsulation provide the ideal solution. He continues; today’s epoxy and PUR systems offer the necessary material characteristics which cover the need for high heat dissipation, electrical insulation, mechanical fixation, damping and protection from aggressive chemicals, vapours and humidity.

AIC Group Wins Maintenance Contracts to Keep Autoclaves Safe and Efficient

17 July 2012

AIC Group has renewed existing maintenance and service contracts, and been awarded new business from Trelleborg, three F1 teams and two aerospace component manufacturing companies.

According to AIC, the contracts are for planned maintenance & servicing for a period of up to five years and come to a total value of approximately £560,000. AIC says the contracts will maintain and service, and ensure safe and efficient running of:

•    A global engineering group’s six autoclaves, and calibrate them to Aerospace Pyrometry Standard AMS 2750D;
•    Trelleborg’s steam autoclave, used in the manufacture of precision seals;
•    Three F1 teams’ autoclaves – used in the production of composite parts in the latest racing cars.

It says the contracts also include thermal survey certification to aerospace standard.

The award of the contracts was a result of competitive processes which involved a number of companies. AIC says it was chosen because of its expertise in control systems, technical support and outstanding service.  The autoclave maintenance programmes will cover: gas, electric and steam heating systems; cooling systems; vacuum pumps; air circulation fan and motor; door operation and safety systems; controls and electrics; and pneumatics.

AIC is also providing all the companies with its Premier Support package which includes 24/7 emergency cover with remote diagnostics and rapid engineer-on-site-response in case of breakdown, and a full training programme for staff.

David Grew of Trelleborg said “Our autoclave is a key part of our production process. It is important that it is operational when we need it. This contract for planned maintenance will minimise down-time and increase the capacity of the machine. AIC’s ability to deliver this was a key reason for selecting them to take on this work.”

AIC says the Facility Manager at one of the F1 teams said of recently completed work “It all went very smoothly indeed. The engineers were experienced and carried out the servicing with expedience and professionalism. The after service verbal report was concise and informative and contained all the relevant information. All in all, I was impressed by the service.”

Nigel Clifford, AIC’s Head of Sales, said “We are pleased to be extending our support to Trelleborg, three F1 teams and the aerospace companies in maintaining their equipment. AIC has an expert multidisciplinary team of engineers who can keep plant running efficiently and safely, which is important in all industries.”

Umeco Form Asian hub

17 July 2012

Based on the emerging market opportunities in Asia over recent years, Umeco is now forming a company in China to act as an Asian hub.  

According to Umeco, this WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise) will be located in a trade free zone in Kunshan, near Shanghai. The hub is expected to enable Umeco to have a local presence in the market which is the largest consumer of composite materials, with projections of growth exceeding those in both Europe and the USA.

The office in Kunshan has been set up, and Umeco Asia is to be officially established in the next few weeks. Umeco says the operation will include sales and distribution, as well as manufacturing and warehousing.  A team of four has already been put together, headed up by General Manager, Hong Fang.  Umeco explains that Fang will focus primarily on the sales of their process materials, setting up a sales and distribution network to serve new and existing customers in Asia.

In further news, on 28th June 2012 Umeco says it successfully completed the transition audit from AS9100:2003 revision B to revision C, Aerospace Quality Standard. Although both are based on the existing ISO9001:2008, they say there are several more challenges in the rev C system, including an adherence to the ‘process approach’, project management and continuous monitoring, measurement and, above all, improvement.

Achieving the accreditation to the AS9100 rev C standard assures Umeco’s aviation, space and defence customers that our quality system serves to improve both product and service quality, as well as on time delivery along the same lines as those used in the automotive industry TS16949 standard.

Goodrich Engineers Named as Rising Stars in UK National Campaign

17 July 2012

Two Goodrich Corporation engineers have been named as ‘rising stars’ in the Make it in Great Britain 30 Under 30 campaign.

Composites Consulting Group launches a Chinese website

17 July 2012

Composites Consulting Group (CCG) has launched a Chinese website;, to support their growing team in Shanghai.

NetComposites' 3rd Composites Innovations Conference a Resounding Success

17 July 2012

NetComposites’ 3rd biennial Composites Innovation Conference was held at the National Composites Centre, Bristol, UK, on the 4th and 5th July 2012 and provided a unique forum for the exchange of concepts and technological developments in materials, design and manufacturing to support the changing demands of industry.