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Composites Industry News

News for May 2001


New Study into the Composites Industry

2nd May 2001 0 comments

NPL and NetComposites are undertaking a major review of the current competitiveness and future directions of the composites industry.

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R-RIM Door Panels, New single-material Solutions

3rd May 2001 0 comments

The development of new technologies and the use of ever more performing materials have enabled the car industry to free itself of design constraints and come up with more sophisticated, advanced solutions. Over the past few years, car interior and exterior have gone through design transformations made possible by the presence of new materials and engineering solutions capable of satisfying the most diverse design needs. Safety and aesthetic considerations contributed to the success of the S-RIM technology for the production of car door panels. Today, the same considerations are best satisfied by the use of R-RIM, a technology which was heavily used by FIAT in the past but never caught on with other auto-makers due to structural limits in the manufactured piece. The R-RIM technology was developed in the 1980’s by Cannon Tecnos and Strapazzini (Lear Group) and was used, until a few years ago, to manufacture door panels for Lancia cars (FIAT Group). A PVC or ABS skin was reinforced through a closed-mould injection of fibreglass-filled polyurethane. Compared to other door panel manufacturing processes, like sheet or injection moulding, R-RIM and S-RIM moulding allow for significant design freedom. When compared to S-RIM, R-RIM shows higher cycle time due to the closed-mould injection technique and ensures high surface quality in the piece with no wettability of the reinforcing fibres. By contrast, the degree of shock resistance of R-RIM door panels is much lower than that of S-RIM panels due to the use of short fibres. This aspect, which had an impact on the overall safety and crashworthiness of the vehicle, is the reason why until today S-RIM has been preferred to R-RIM. Yet, the evolution of car design and the introduction of lateral airbags on contemporary vehicles have helped R-RIM make a comeback. Low shock resistance has turned from drawback to asset. Indeed, latest-generation vehicles feature side protection bars built into the doors so that door panels no longer need to serve simultaneously an aesthetic, functional and protective purpose. In fact, door panels are now required to smash easily on impact to allow lateral airbags to burst out and perform their protective action. R-RIM has therefore been reconsidered as the most appropriate solution to this requirement: several European auto-makers are now using this technology to produce door panels for their new car models. In addition to PVC or TPO skins, polyurethane skins are going to be used, thus creating single-material panels. Cannon Tecnos has recently developed, in co-operation with a major raw material supplier, a new moulding technology to produce polyurethane skins less than 1 mm in thickness. Until today, the only production process used to make polyurethane skins has consisted of spraying polyurethane in the mould, resulting in high cycle time and skins of irregular thickness. The new moulding process overcomes both these limits.

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SMC/BMC Seminar for the Electrical/Construction Industry

3rd May 2001 0 comments

The European Alliance for SMC is organising an Electrical/Construction Seminar to present an overall update on the latest developments in the Electrical/Construction industry, in the SMC/BMC field. An integrated part of the seminar is a tour of the ABB plant in Bergamo. Official invitations with the lecture programme will be sent at the beginning of May. But, for now, please note the date in your diary – 6/7 June 2001. They have arranged a contingent of rooms at the Bonaparte Hotel Bergamo, where the seminar will be held. It is close to ABB and 50 km from the Airport Linate (Milano). The seminar fee will be 150 Euro. European Alliance for SMC, c/o AVK-TV, Am Hauptbhanhof 10, D-60329 Frankfurt, Phone: +49 69 25 09 22, Fax: +49 69 25 09 23

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Hexcel Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer Steps Down Due to Illness

3rd May 2001 0 comments

Hexcel Corporation’s chairman and chief executive officer, John J. Lee, has been diagnosed with cancer and is stepping down as chief executive officer to pursue a course of medical treatment prescribed by his physicians. Mr. Lee said “”I will need to devote a substantial amount of my time and energy to treatment of my condition. The board of directors and I felt that the appropriate response would be for me to relinquish my duties as CEO but remain engaged as chairman of the board to assist the Company in making the necessary transition following my departure.”” As an interim measure and to assist the senior management during the transition, the board has asked two directors, Martin L. Solomon and Sanjeev K. Mehra, to act in their capacity as directors as an office of the chief executive until a successor CEO is appointed. Mr. Solomon has been a director since 1996 and Mr. Mehra joined the board in December 2000 in connection with the purchase by an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. of a 39% interest in the Company. In addition, the board established a search committee to begin the process of evaluating potential CEO candidates including current members of the Company’s senior management. Hexcel designs, manufactures and markets lightweight, high reinforcement products, composite materials and engineered products for use in commercial aerospace, space and defense, electronics, general industrial, and recreation applications.

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NAC Signs Exclusive Distribution Agreement with Parabeam

3rd May 2001 0 comments

Parabeam 3D Glass Fabrics and North American Composites have reached an exclusive distribution agreement for North America. Parabeam is a manufacturer of three-dimensional glass fabrics for corrosion, transportation, marine, aerospace and architectural applications. 3D fabrics provide the fabricator the ability to make lightweight laminates with an integral sandwich construction while providing an interstitial space. North American Composites is a national, full-service supplier to these same industries. Its Molding Products Division is a leader in the production of SMC and other Thermoset Molding materials.

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Big Opportunities for Small Particles

3rd May 2001 0 comments

Australian scientists are using nanoparticles to deflect UV rays. These nanoparticles are extremely effective at absorbing light, especially in the ultra-violet (UV) range, increasing the UV resistance of a range of manufactured products including plastics and paints. “”By precisely controlling the particle size, we can maximise its ability to absorb potentially damaging UV light. Because the particles are so small, they let visible light pass through and thus they appear transparent.”” says Dr Terry Turney from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO. CSIRO and Melbourne-based company Micronisers have developed ultrafine additives for sunscreens that are so successful they have already captured 60% of the Australian sunscreen market and will soon appear in sunscreen products in the US and Europe. “”The nanoparticles in this new generation of suncreens have been engineered to absorb more of the harmful UV radiation, giving greater protection against the sun’s rays,”” says Dr Turney. “”Because the nanoparticles let the visible light pass through, the sunscreen appears transparent, unlike the warpaint look of other sunscreens.”” “”Nanoparticle additives can be used in plastics for outdoors applications to prevent UV-induced weathering,”” says Dr Turney.

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Ashland Inc. completes purchase of Neste Polyester

3rd May 2001 0 comments

Ashland Inc has completed the purchase of Neste Polyester’s business and assets from Dynea Oy, formerly Norkemi Oy, effective Apr. 30. Terms of the purchase agreement, which was announced Feb. 23, were not disclosed. The newly acquired business will operate within the Composite Polymers Division of Ashland Specialty Chemical Company, a division of Ashland Inc. Neste Polyester manufactures and markets high-quality unsaturated polyester resins and gelcoats for the marine, building and construction, and transportation industries worldwide. Ashland Specialty Chemical Company, a division of Ashland Inc., is a worldwide supplier of specialty chemicals serving industries including adhesives, automotive, composites, foundry, merchant marine, paint, paper, plastics and semiconductor.

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NAFEMS Seminar

3rd May 2001 0 comments

NAFEMS will be holding a seminar on 4th & 5th September in Mainz Germany, the subject area of this will be “” The Importance of Nonlinear Effects in Engineering Analysis”” To register your interest please email

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FRC 2002 – First Call For Papers

3rd May 2001 0 comments

The Ninth International Conference on Fibre Reinforced Composites will take place at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne from 26-28 March 2002. Regular delegates should note that the conference has returned to its traditional Easter slot. The 2½ day FRC meetings, which occupy a unique place in the composites calendar, bring together the latest developments in all areas of composite materials engineering and serve as a forum for discussion. The series has proved invaluable to industry and to researchers wishing to stay abreast of the latest research and developments. In addition, those planning to enter the composites field have used FRC to gain a snapshot of the current state of the art. Several European and international organisations now send delegates to FRC on a regular basis. The organising committee now invites offers of papers and expressions of interest. Papers accepted for oral and poster presentation will receive equal emphasis in the proceedings. Submissions should be in the form of a one page abstract of 200-300 words. All topics relevant to the processing, properties and applications of fibre reinforced composites will be welcomed. Areas of particular interest include: – New Materials Development – Improved Processing Science and Technology – Expanding Areas of Application – Critical Properties The formal closing date for abstracts will be 31st July 2001. Anyone wishing to submit a paper or who requires further information about the conference should complete the reply form or contact the conference organiser, Ms Louise Blackburn, Conference Design Consultants, 17 Avondale Court, Rectory Road, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1XQ, UK. Tel: +44(0) 191 284 7590 Fax: +44(0) 191 285 6993

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Worldstar Accredited in Philippines

3rd May 2001 0 comments

CBN has acquired a “”Certificate of Accreditation”” from the Philippine government, which grants CBN the right to sell and distribute the WorldStar, a composite utility vehicle, throughout the Philippines. CBN earned its accreditation after six months of meetings with officials involved in the process. Issuance of this certificate was difficult to accomplish primarily due to concerns from the government entity in charge of approving new manufacturers about the new technology involved in building the WorldStar. The accreditation required signatures from department heads of more than 15 government agencies in the Philippines. Among the endorsements were those of the Department of Science & Technology, the Industrial Technology Development Institute, the Bureau of Product Standards, the Department of Transportation & Communication, and the Land Transportation Office. In response to the receipt of accreditation, John Banning, president of CBN noted, “”Not even the slightest modification or adjustment was made to achieve accreditation. Most companies going through the same process have been required to make some kind of change to satisfy the government’s requirements. The delay was due to the government’s unfamiliarity with composite construction and the strength and durability it gives the vehicle. After testing was completed, these agencies were convinced of the merits of the design. In fact, the Philippines Department of Transportation & Communication is now interested in purchasing WorldStar vehicles for government use.”” World Transport Authority Inc., the developer of the WorldStar vehicle, considers the Philippine Government’s acceptance of WorldStar as an Accredited Manufacturer a significant milestone.

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