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Composites Industry News

News for December 2001


ATP’s Lunn Industries’ Contract Awards

7th December 2001 0 comments

Advanced Technical Products’ Lunn Industries division has been awarded two separate contracts for upgrades on existing military aircraft fleets. One contract is for Northrop Grumman’s F-5/T-38 aircraft program and the other contract is for Lockheed Martin’s P-3 aircraft program. The F-5/T-38 contract was awarded through the Defense Supply Center located in Richmond, Virginia. The contract is for honeycomb bonded wing leading edges and has an initial value of $2 million in the first year. The award includes options for an additional four years of production worth approximately $5.5 million. Lunn Industries is a member of Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NGC) F-5 and T-38 “”Total Support”” Supplier Team. A license agreement between NGC and Lunn Industries, signed in August 2000, with a five- year renewal term, authorizes Lunn Industries to manufacture various metal bonded honeycomb assemblies for the F-5/T-38 fleet. With 2,200 aircraft still in use worldwide, there remains an ongoing need for spare parts. Lunn Industries was also awarded an initial contract for P-3 Orion tail boom assemblies with a total value of over $1 million. The fiberglass tail boom assembly houses a magnetic anomaly detection system, which is a critical component in anti-submarine aircraft. This contract was awarded through Lockheed Martin’s P-3 program, which includes upgrades for existing U.S. Navy aircraft and other military customers. The contract has strong potential for follow-on orders as existing P-3 aircraft are upgraded. Production on this contract is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2002.

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NASA to Evaluate Tail Assembly

7th December 2001 0 comments

Parts of the tail of the American Airlines plane that crashed last month into a New York neighbourhood arrived Tuesday at NASA’s Langley Research Center. The National Transportation Safety Board has asked Langley to help determine why the tail fell off the Airbus A300 before the plane crashed shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The Nov. 12 crash killed all 260 people aboard and five people on the ground. Langley has expertise in analyzing the nonmetallic composite materials used in the tail of the European-made Airbus. The plane’s mostly intact vertical stabilizer, rudder, a small section of fuselage and other parts were sent to Langley, said Bill Uher, a NASA spokesman. The parts had been in a temporary storage facility in New York. The examination of the parts probably will take months, Uher said.

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Workshop on Composites in Construction

7th December 2001 0 comments

The web-site of the International Workshop “”Composites in Construction”” held in Capri (Italy) last July has been updated and enriched with all presentations included in the program. The proceedings volume of the workshop , edited by E. Cosenza, G. Manfredi and A. Nanni, and published by ASCE will be available by the end of December 2001.

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Fuel Cells Expected to Power Growth for the Materials Industry

7th December 2001 0 comments

Materials suppliers are positioning themselves early to gain a competitive edge in the rapidly growing development of fuel cell technology. The market for fuel cells will reach nearly $3 billion by 2005 with a dramatic increase projected by 2010. Interest in this market among materials suppliers has intensified as this industry promises to be the next dramatic growth platform for materials usage. Use of thermosets, thermoplastics, elastomers, nanofibers, and other materials such as carbon black, graphite/carbon fiber, nickel, lithium, and platinum are of particular interest to fuel cell developers as they provide such key properties as high conductivity, corrosion resistance, thermal stability, low creep, dimensional stability, and flame retardancy. The best performing materials and fabrication technologies are under development and evaluation by many industry players. End uses targeted for fuel cell development include automotive, portable power, home power generation, community power generation, as well as other transportation and stationary power supply sources. “”Many of the major materials companies and fabricators are seeking to serve this market segment, and require a greater understanding about the technical requirements among the fuel cell developers and such end users as automotive and stationary power system companies,”” according to Jim Morton, a principal at Principia Partners. “”In particular, fuel cells represent a major opportunity for engineering thermoplastics and high temperature polymers, leveraging the design versatility, parts consolidation, and system cost reduction that has enabled plastics to replace metal over the years. The opportunity for winning materials is enormous, in fuel stack components including bipolar plates, membranes, gas diffusion layers, end plates, and seals. Other peripheral components such as fuel tanks, heat exchangers, water filters, compressors, fuel pumps, and evaporators also offer new applications for a range of materials beyond metal.”” The driving forces behind the market opportunity for materials in fuel cells is the subject of a new report titled Material Opportunities in Fuel Cell Technology – 2002 and Beyond. In addition to material opportunities in fuel cell stacks, the report will focus on all components in peripheral systems for both automotive, stationary, and portable power uses. The study will be available from Principia Partners in April 2002.

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SGL Carbon to Improve in 2001

7th December 2001 0 comments

SGL Carbon, the German carbon and graphite product producer, expects turnover of roughly 2bn euros for 2000. However, the group’s nine months figures were disappointing. Although turnover, which rose by 28 per cent, was in line with expectations, the strong dollar caused considerable losses from the exchange rate. Most divisions are expected to fare well in 2001 however, except for the fibres and composites division, which is still making losses because of investment. The latter division and the corrosion protection division, both of which are new, are expected to account for about 50 per cent of turnover and over 30 per cent of earnings by 2003/2004. The group’s current share price offers a good opportunity for investors to enter the company, in light of its new products.

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US Navy Contract Awarded to Advanced Ceramics Research

7th December 2001 0 comments

A U.S. Navy contract has been awarded to Advanced Ceramics Research and REGI U.S., Inc. to build and test a Naval 0.5 horsepower ceramic engine. The proposed engine is a four stroke Rand Cam(TM) engine utilizing continuous injection and combustion in a single combustion chamber. The engine will be of all ceramic construction to permit high temperature operation, without cooling, to effectively burn heavy oil. This new motor will be developed for powering the U.S. Navy’s new Smart War-fighter Array of Re-configurable Modules (SWARM) low cost unmanned aerial vehicle. Advanced Ceramics Research (“”ACR””) has already made a $3 million dollar investment for a new state-of-the-art production facility for producing composite products. In addition, ACR is fully staffed with engineering and production personnel as it already has profitable ongoing commercial production. In addition, ACR has about 5,000 feet of open space of which will be available for production the first several hundred Rand Cam(TM) engines in Phase III while new production facilities are being set up on a Native American reservation.

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Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Dedication

7th December 2001 0 comments

The dedication of the 100 Years of Magic icon, a 122-foot-tall fiberglass Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat in the heart of Disney-MGM Studios representing the magic of show business and the entertainment wizardry of Disney. At the dedication of the icon, Roy E. Disney, vice chairman of The Walt Disney Company and chairman of Walt Disney Feature Animation, was among speakers scheduled to give an insight into what the legacy of Walt Disney means to them. He chose the Sorcerer’s Apprentice as his topic — as an example that represents the two Walts he knew: Walt the kid being Mickey Mouse and Walt the boss being the Sorcerer. “”So it is that this giant hat is such a wonderful symbol of my uncle and my boss. And, it can serve as a reminder of the kid — and the sorcerer — in all of us.”” Made from composite fiberglass and shaped like the pointed hat worn by Mickey in the animated classic “”Fantasia,”” the icon weighs 156 tons. It is a brilliant blue decorated with moon and star shapes in glittering gold. An equally larger-than-life Mickey Mouse hand tips the 122 foot-high hat, which rests on two shimmering ribbon loops — stylized versions of Mickey’s ears.

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Delphi Completes Sale of Composite Spring Business

7th December 2001 0 comments

In line with its on-going portfolio restructuring plan, Delphi Automotive Systems has sold its Liteflex composite spring business to newly formed Liteflex LLC, in conjunction with the National Composite Center.

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Last Boeing Delta II Launch of 2001

7th December 2001 0 comments

A Boeing Delta rocket is poised to thunder into the skies over Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to launch NASA’s Jason-1 and TIMED spacecraft. The launch, scheduled for 7:07 a.m. PST on Dec. 7, 2001 from Space Launch Complex 2W, will be the last of seven Boeing Delta launches this year. “”This mission illustrates the continuing Delta legacy,”” said Joy Bryant, Boeing director of NASA expendable launch programs. “”We’ve come a long way because of our commitment to success. “”We will again demonstrate that commitment to ensure that Jason-1 and TIMED satellites safely reach their proper orbits.”” For this mission, the rocket will feature a 10-foot composite fairing and a dual-payload attach fitting for deployment. Jason-1 is a mission to monitor global ocean circulation, study the link between the oceans and atmosphere, improve global climate predictions and monitor events such as El Nino. Jason-1 is a joint effort between NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the French Space Agency, CNES.

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BOC Takes Glass Melting Technology to the Next Level

7th December 2001 0 comments

BOC unveiled its patented BOC Convective Glass Melting (CGM) system at the recent Conference on Glass Problems, in Urbana, Illinois. CGM is a radical new approach to glass melting that significantly increases furnace capacity and improves glass quality. It can also be used to extend the life and improve the performance of ailing furnaces. “”In the face of increasing financial pressure, glassmakers want to conserve capital and improve the productivity of their existing assets,”” says Sam Peterson, vice president and general manager, BOC Glass Technologies. “”The BOC Convective Glass Melting System provides the means. Through innovations to oxy-fuel technology, CGM delivers a step-change improvement in the melting rate of fossil fuel furnaces. It can be used to boost the capacity of an existing furnace, or as the base technology of a new furnace. CGM routinely delivers capacity increases of twenty-five percent. Some customers have achieved increases greater than fifty percent.”” CGM differs from traditional oxy-fuel and air-fuel systems in the placement and effectiveness of its burners. CGM directs oxy-fuel flames approximately downward onto the batch surface at the charging end of the furnace. CGM flames impinge directly on the raw batch material. As a result, batch melts faster than it does under air-fuel or conventional oxy-fuel flames. Glassmakers can retrofit the BOC Convective Glass Melting System onto existing air-fuel or oxygen-fuel furnaces and use the accelerated glass melting capability to increase production within a given furnace, increase the pack/melt ratio, or reduce/eliminate electric boost. Glassmakers also have the option of integrating CGM into new furnace construction. Doing so would allow them to reduce furnace size, eliminate regenerators and recuperators, and eliminate electric boosting systems. CGM has operated in more than a dozen furnaces in the float, container, tableware, television, and fiberglass sectors. Customers have used CGM to recover capacity lost near the end of their furnace’s life, to boost capacity above design level, and to achieve substantial improvements in yield and product quality.

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