19 April 2016
19 April 2016
Being an FRP (fibre-reinforced plastics) manufacturer means being a source of VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions, Exel Composites has invested considerable resources over the years in tackling VO emissions into the environment.
Exel says that it wants to be a pioneer not only in composites technology but also in the field of environmental protection. It explains that one of the main ecological concerns at Exel, as in the composites industry in general, is styrene emissions. Styrene is a volatile component of polyester resin. Different methods are available to clean the styrene-contaminated air inside and outside production facilities. However, Exel explains, they are often very energy-intensive. When presented with a possibility to explore biotrickling filtration in cooperation with the University of Valencia in Spain and Pure Air Solutions from the Netherlands, it jumped at the possibility. “We needn’t think twice about participating in this EU-funded project seeking to use biotrickling filtration as a sustainable and cost-efficient alternative for styrene emission control,” says Mr Callum Gough, SVP Operations of Exel Composites.
“Biotrickling filtration is a combination of a biofilter and a bioscrubber. It is a biological system that uses clean and natural processes to remove VOCs,” says Mr Eric Moussiaux, General Manager of Exel Composites’ Belgium unit. “The styrene fumes are absorbed in water and decomposed by bacteria. The pilot unit erected at Oudenaarde factory proved to be very efficient. We will certainly do the necessary investments to take this process into use,” he continues.
The 4-year-long project, called Next Air Biotreat, was headed by Professor Carmen Gabaldón from the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of Valencia. “We are extremely pleased with the results of the project,” she says. “In comparison with conventional technologies, biological VOC treatment is economically beneficial, it contributes to a lower ecological footprint and implies a reduction of CO2,” Gabaldón continues.
Composites Evolution, Bercella and Element Materials Technology (Element) have successfully completed the development and testing of a composite cantilever support for rail passenger seating.
The component, which is 1 meter long but weighs less than 5 kg, passed a wide range of tests performed by Element. The evaluation included static loadings, fatigue cycles and fire testing to EN 45545 according to the requirements of Bercella’s customers.
Cantilever seat supports, which are mounted on the wall of a train carriage rather than the floor, offer a number of advantages including improved access for cleaning and luggage storage. The lightweight composite structure also provides advantages in terms of reduced train energy consumption and lower axle loads.
The seat support was manufactured by Bercella using Composites Evolution’s Evopreg PFC prepreg with a high strength carbon fibre reinforcement. Evopreg PFC was specified for this application because of its excellent fire performance, low toxicity and outstanding environmental credentials - the base polyfurfuryl alcohol resin is 100% bio-derived. Evopreg PFC is one of the first prepregs to be manufactured on Composites Evolution’s new prepreg line that was installed in July 2018.
Brendon Weager, Composites Evolution’s Technical Director, commented, “We are delighted with how well Evopreg PFC has performed for Bercella’s seating concept. Producing composites that are both structural and highly fire-resistant is often challenging, but we’ve passed Element’s tests with flying colours.”
The seat support will be on display at Composites Evolution’s stand (N99) at the Advanced Engineering Show on 31st October and 1st November in Birmingham, UK.
Chem-Trend has been certified by the DQS (German Certification Company for Management Systems) in accordance with EN 9100:2016, fulfilling the strict quality requirements for aerospace suppliers.
The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) led a Transportation and Defence Fly-In, 25-26 September 2018, during which ACMA members and staff met with more than 75 congressional offices and several key decision makers from federal agencies.