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Composites Industry News

News for November 2000


GKN in aerospace tie-up with Boeing

1st November 2000 0 comments

British engineering group GKN Plc said it was buying assets from Boeing Co in a deal under which its aerospace unit becomes a strategic supplier to the U.S. firm’s military aircraft and missile systems group. GKN, which is paying 44 million pounds ($64.09 million) for Boeing’s structural fabrication assets in St Louis, Missouri, also said it was restructuring its struggling aerospace division to improve efficiency and financial performance. The car parts-to-helicopter group, which has underperformed the automobiles sector by about two percent this year, was down 10 pence or 1.4 percent at 720 pence at 0815 GMT. The assets deal with Boeing — under which GKN would make components for the U.S. company’s military aircraft programmes — was expected to generate revenue of about $1.8 billion over five years, with some $300 million in 2001. The business would initially employ around 1,200 people. GKN is setting up a new division, GKN Aerospace Services, as part of a restructuring to take advantage of the trend by major aerospace firms to focus on their core activies. The unit would consolidate GKN’s aerospace manufacturing in seven facilities in Europe and the United States, including St Louis. The restructuring would involve the closure of manufacturing facilities in Avonmouth, near Bristol in the UK and at Carson and Wallingford in the United States, as well as the sale of the actuation unit, Sitec, in Germany. Work will be transferred to the other units. The rationalisation was expected to result in an exceptional cost of around 68 million pounds, including eight million pounds of goodwill and 23 million of asset write-downs. However, the new division was expected to generate revenues of some 550 million pounds in 2001 and near double digit profit margins before tax and interest by the year after. “This restructuring will allow GKN Aerospace services to significantly improve efficiency and financial performance,” GKN said in a statement. GKN said the weakness seen in the aerospace division in the first half of the year, owing to programme delays and start-up relatedcosts, had continued in the third quarter. The division saw operating profits decline to 46 million pounds in the first six months of 2000, down from 64 million the year before. However, the group said its industrial services division was growing strongly while its automotive businesses were perforning well in Europe. The automotive driveline unit in North America was continuing to grow despite softer market condions. GKN also said the merger of its Westland unit with Italian helicopter maker Agusta was proceeding well and that regulatory clearance was expected soon.

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New High Tenacity and High Modulus Polyethylene Fiber.

1st November 2000 0 comments

Cen International Trading Co., Ltd in China is manufacturing and exporting high tenacity and high modulus polyethylene fiber, that is one of State Major Scientific and Technological items to Tackle Key Problem and one of Commercialized High-Tech Projects in China. Following the Netherlands, the United States and Japan, our company is the 4th commercialized enterprise of this kind of fiber in the world, which possesses independent knowledge right and keeps pace with high-tech in this field. High intensity and high modulus PE fiber enjoys the highest intensity in all kinds of fiber as its high molecular weight, high orientation and high crystallinity. It features outstanding impact-resistant, shearing strength and chemical stability such as low temperature resistance, corrosion resistance and UV resistance as its low density and high modulus.

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Interplastic Corporation

1st November 2000 0 comments

Interplastic Corporation announced that Mr. Tony Bennett has been promoted to Manager of Corrosion and Laminating Resins. Bennett will have the responsibility for Vinyl Ester, Corrosion Resistant Products, CIPP, Fire Retardants, Pultrusion, Filament Winding, Vacuum Infusion, and Grating Products of the Corrosion and Specialty areas as well as the Laminating Group. Interplastic Corporation is a specialty chemical company headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is focused on the production and distribution of unsaturated polyester resins, vinyl ester resins and gel coats to the composites and cast polymer industries.

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New Version of FiberSIM/UG

1st November 2000 0 comments

Composite Design Technologies, Inc. announced the release of Version 3.3 of FiberSIM/UG software for composite design and manufacturing on the Unigraphics CAD system from Unigraphics Solutions. The new version includes a number of significant enhancements that provide companies using Unigraphics to design composite components with the opportunity to substantially increase engineering productivity. “Version 3.3 enhances previous FiberSIM capability, allowing engineers to accomplish more in less time,” said John O’Connor, CDT Technical Consultant, FiberSIM/UG Product Line. “Users will discover a wide range of improvements that simplify and streamline the operation of the program, making it possible to focus their attention more fully on the design process.” One major improvement enables users to import stored ply definitions into the FiberSIM Composite Engineering Environment, including material name, fiber spacing factor, simulation type as well as additional geometric data such as holes and markers. This feature saves time by eliminating the need to re-enter information when opening a previously created Unigraphics model. FiberSIM/UG 3.3 also provides the ability to accurately simulate complex curvature parts using liquid composite molding manufacturing techniques through a link to LCMFLOT, mold filling analysis software from Liquid Process Performance Prediction, Inc. (L3P). This makes it possible for companies investigating this fast growing composite manufacturing method to more accurately simulate the flow of resin through a mold without the expense and ime involved in building and testing a prototype mold. Additional enhancements in the data interface area include the ability to export flat patterns in the popular DXF file format and to generate laser projection data far more quickly than in the previous version.n FiberSIM/UG 3.3 is now available on HP (HP-UX), SGI (IRIX), and Windows NT. Additional platforms will be supported in the future. FiberSIM is a suite of software products that transforms CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER and Unigraphics CAD systems into high performance environments for designing and manufacturing composite parts. The FiberSIM product suite includes tools that automate the design process, assess the producibility of a part, and generate manufacturing information including documentation, flat patterns, and data to interface with laser projectors, automated cutters and fiber placement machines. Consequently, FiberSIM enables users to drive all aspects of preliminary design, analysis, detailed design, and manufacturing from within a single CAD master model.

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Brazil: O’Gara invests in new coating

1st November 2000 0 comments

After one year of researches and investments of US$1mil the US DuPont and O’Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt launched the aramid fiber Impak to be used in vehicles armoring. The product is being imported from United States. The Brazilian subsidiary operating since 1996 is responsible for 20% of O’Gara” total turnover with a 20% stake in the domestic market with a US$15mil turnover. 250 armored cars are made per month in Brazil being 40 to 50 by O’Gara. The company, owner of four plants in Brazil plans investments of US$2mil in the expansion of its facilities and other undisclosed projects.

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Jeep(R) Commander 2 Concept Doubles Fuel Economy

1st November 2000 0 comments

Jeep(R) Commander 2 merges dynamic design with an advanced fuel cell powertrain in a luxury sport-utility vehicle that is virtually pollution-free while achieving double the fuel efficiency of a conventional SUV. “Commander 2’s predecessor, the Jeep Commander, took the Jeep pledge to ‘Tread Lightly!’ on the environment very seriously. Commander 2 vows to tread even lighter,” said Rich Schaum, Executive Vice President – Product Development for DaimlerChrysler Corporation. “The hybrid drive system integrates an on-board methanol reformer that produces near-zero emissions in one of North America’s fastest growing market segments — SUVs.” To compensate for the additional weight and cost of the fuel cell system, Jeep designers incorporated DaimlerChrysler’s unique injection-molded thermoplastic body technology, demonstrating the weight savings that could be achieved with injection molded plastic. The plastic body technology, first shown in the fall of 1997 in the Composite Concept Vehicle (CCV) and more recently in the Dodge ESX3, saves up to 50 percent in body weight, 10 to 50 percent in manufacturing costs and provides near 100 percent recyclability. Using molded-in-color plastic allowed designers to embody a very machined, high-tech feel to the surface appearance, unlike the design restrictions with stamped metal. Because of its lightweight body, Commander 2 weighs 5700 pounds, slightly more than typical full-size SUVs. This includes more than 2500 pounds for the hybrid-electric fuel cell powertrain.

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Dynetek Industries Ltd. Selected by Ford Motor Company

1st November 2000 0 comments

Dynetek Industries Ltd. is pleased to formally announce the entering into of a multi-year Purchase and Supply Arrangement, effective on August 21, 2000, under which Dynetek will supply compressed hydrogen tanks to Ford for Ford’s fuel cell vehicle programs. In return, the relationship includes an equity incentive program that will earn the carmaker a minority interest in Dynetek. “This new alliance with Ford fits perfectly with Dynetek’s global strategy as Dynetek continues to expand its relationships with vehicle manufacturers around the world,” said Heinz Portmann, Dynetek’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Dynetek develops, produces and markets fuel storage systems for storing compressed natural gas (CNG) for low emission CNG vehicles and for compressed hydrogen for zero emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The Dynetek fuel storage system is marketed under the DyneCell(R) brand name. Dynetek’s common shares trade under the symbol DNK on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The DyneCell fuel storage system utilizes proprietary, patent-pending technology, developed by Dynetek to produce cylinders built with a seamless thin wall aluminum liner and a full carbon fiber overwrap. The liner technology provides ultra lightweight, high storage capacity and non- permeability while the corrosion resistant overwrap maximizes strength-to- weight ratios and operational performance under harsh automotive environments.

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Prime Industrial Co., Ltd. to Invest $2M in Composite Solutions, Inc

1st November 2000 0 comments

Composite Solutions, Inc. (CSI) announced that it has reached an agreement with Prime Industrial Co., Ltd. of Korea (“Prime”), whereby Prime will invest $2M US Dollars into CSI. As an equity partner, Prime will launch and run new construction and retrofit projects in Asia that incorporate CSI’s revolutionary composite technologies. For this purpose, Prime will make additional investments in Asia as necessary to optimize the Asian market. Of particular interest to Prime is CSI’s carbon shell system (CSS) for new construction applications. The shells are lightweight stay-in-place structural forms that eliminate the need for conventional steel reinforcement (rebar) in concrete structures. The use of such forms is expected to lead to faster and more affordable construction, as well as more efficient use of concrete. Additional benefits include the elimination of traditional rebar corrosion problems and the need for heavy lifting equipment. CSI’s and Prime’s managements predict a multibillion-dollar market potential for new construction applications of this technology in Asia. CSI provides end-to-end solutions for a variety of industries that use fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites. Using technology developed by and licensed from the University of California, San Diego, CSI offers a comprehensive package from analysis through construction. Primary uses of the technology include revolutionary new construction, structural strengthening, earthquake retrofitting, and blast hardening of a variety of structures. For more information, visit CSI’s website at

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DANIDA invests $750 million

1st November 2000 0 comments

The Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) has invested more than $750 million in 60 Zimbabwean companies in the past five years under its linkages programme for business people in Zimbabwe and Denmark. The DANIDA linkages programme, which started in 1995, aims to foster cooperation between Zimbabwean and Danish companies. Under the programme, local companies have also secured loans from DANIDA for new technology and development. Representatives of local companies have also been sent to Denmark for further training in their counterpart Danish firms. The Danish ambassador to Zimbabwe, Erik Fiil, said last week the linkages programme had helped in the transfer of skills and technology from Denmark to Zimbabwe. He was speaking in Harare at the official launch of Headway Enterprises, a Zimbabwean fibre glass manufacturing firm which has linked with Danish-based fibre glass manufacturer BN Produtker. Headway Enterprises has diversified into manufacturing marble products with the help of a $21 million loan from DANIDA. The company has already received orders worth $9 million dollars from the Scandinavian market and more continue to pour in. “The export deal with Danish companies is worth $9 million in fibre glass products but we are also concluding a deal in Botswana to engage an agent there to facilitate exports into that country,” said Headway’s managing director Willas Masocha. Fiil said his country was committed to continue linking Zimbabwean firms with their Danish counterparts. “Although I am not going to comment on the present situation in Zimbabwe, we all hope and pray that the country will see a turn of the present tide,” he said.

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Scaled Technology Works to Provide Wind Tunnel Blades

1st November 2000 0 comments

Scaled Technology Works (STW) of Montrose, Colorado, has been awarded a contract from The Boeing Company to design and produce nearly 200 composite wind tunnel blades over the next year. STW will be responsible for providing all new fan blades for the upgraded Boeing Transonic Wind Tunnel (BTWT) in Seattle, Washington. Boeing is upgrading the BTWT to incorporate several new advances in the tunnel architecture. Installation of new fan blades is expected to improve aerodynamic efficiency and to reduce blade maintenance costs. STW will create a finite element analysis of the blades and use its proven composite design techniques to ensure the blades meet the dynamic environment of the BTWT. The 18-inch-wide by 40-inch-long blades will be manufactured by a manual lay-up process using fiberglass/epoxy prepreg from one of several qualified suppliers. The blades’ skins will be laid up over a structural foam core from General Plastics. Precise, aerodynamic, geometric tolerances will be met using graphite epoxy composite tooling, also produced by STW. Bill Wailes, STW president commented, “Our objective is to produce the blades with the same basic design and shape as the original blades. The existing composite blades have been in service since 1953. They have done their job well for more than 40 years. We plan to capitalize on this history — avoiding radical design changes, yet offering the improvements afforded by current aerospace-grade materials and advanced manufacturing techniques.” The most significant change will be in the design of the laminate to allow for the new materials and processes to be used. The improved blades will have a more tightly controlled outer surface, and, because of the more robust materials, will have a greater tolerance to damage than the original blades. “These improvements are important to achieve the high quality Boeing demands for the upgraded BTWT,” said Wailes. Boeing shut down their wind tunnel for the current modifications in June of this year. The facility will be brought back on line for system level checkout in March of 2001. STW will deliver enough blades for a complete rotor set (72 blades plus 8 spares) by April and will deliver the remaining 100 blades by October 2001. The new blades will be installed in April. STW designs, produces and delivers fully integrated composite structural components, major assemblies and complete general aviation aircraft. The company’s primary market focus encompasses the general aviation, commercial and military aircraft industries. STW is a subsidiary of Precision Castparts Corp. (NYSE: PCP) of Portland, Oregon.

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