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Composites Industry News

News for December 2002


Reichhold Receives “Prêmio Excelência” Award at FEIPLAR Trade Show

2nd December 2002 0 comments

For the second time in two years, Reichhold received the annual “Prêmio Excelência em Compósito” award for the South American composites industry in the raw materials supplier category. The award, which is similar to “Supplier of the Year,” was presented to Reichhold in a ceremony after the first day of the FEIPLAR trade show, which ran November 19-21 in São Paulo, Brazil. Reichhold Regional Sales Director Adolpho Marques accepted the award on behalf of Reichhold. The FEIPLAR show is held once every two years.

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China and Japan: Glass reinforcement market and its local applications

2nd December 2002 0 comments

According to Saint Gobain, China’s glass fiber market demand is forecasted to grow more than 10% from 2002-2005. In 2001, Glass fiber production capacity in China is over 240 000 tons including 80 000 tons C glass and local China market demand is around 200 000 tons including C glass. In China, the biggest market is the Direct Roving and Chop Strand Mat (CSM) application segments at the present time. For Direct Roving, the major application includes filament winding for various piping, pultrusion for profiles & optical cable and weaving for glass technical fabrics or grids designed for road reinforcement, civil engineering, constructions or industrial applications). Since the labor cost in China is low, the hand lay-up application is much more common to use CSM than SMC (Sheet Molding Compound). The main applications of CSM are marine, industrial and sanitary sectors (boat, vessel, cooling tower, bathtub). Japan’s total glass fiber market went down to about 250 000 tons in 2001. This is a sharp decrease of about 15% compared to 2000. Electronic market crash is considered to be the main factor of this drop. As a result, textile yarn have been the most affected because of the weight of yarn sold to Printed Circuit Board (PCB) industry, and decreased by 40% in just one year to 27 000 tons, just 11% of total market. Yarns are followed by Chopped Strands that decreased by 15%, with 41% of total market. Then Glass Fiber for Glass Reinforced Plastic market suffered the less although this segment has known a constant decrease for years. They reached about 120 000 t in 2001 with 48% of total market. Year 2002 should be in line with 2001. The market hit the bottom in the 2nd quarter and should increase from then. SMC for Sanitary: unlike European & American markets where Automotive and Electrical/Electronic applications are the main end-use for SMC sheets, Japanese SMC is mostly consumed by sanitary market. This induced specificities to this market like boiling resistance requirements (water for traditional Japanese bath has to be extremely hot ; between 40 and 50°C) Anti-corrosion pipes for Acid Resistant Market: following Kobe big earthquake in 1995, Japan has been one of the first country to develop specifications for acid resistant pipes for sewage and relate them to raw materials like glass filaments. Reinforcement used with Thermoplastics resins; PPS is mainly used in Electrical/Electronic for connectors for its heat resistance and in automobile for its resistance to chemicals. Recently, PPS has been expanding its use to water related market (pumps, valves). The Japanese PPS market was clearly affected by Electrical/Electronic slowdown and dropped by 20% to a level of 16 000 t in 2001.

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Permo-Drive Hybrid Hydraulic Technology Offers Major Fleet Savings

2nd December 2002 0 comments

Permo-Drive Technologies Ltd. has developed a hybrid hydraulic drive system that can reduce fuel consumption for trucks and buses by up to 40 per cent, according to the recent SAE conference in Detroit. “”The potential impact of hybrid hydraulic systems on the economy in general and on commercial vehicle owners in particular could be significant,”” said Paul Chandler, Permo-Drive’s vice president for North American Operations. Speaking at an SAE Truck and Bus Meeting and Exposition earlier this month, Chandler said that Permo-Drive’s Regenerative Drive System (RDS) can be applied to new or existing trucks. The RDS captures energy generated by a vehicle’s braking process, then releases the energy back into the driveline as power is needed. Key design features include an innovative inline driveshaft, energy storage devices that utilize special composite materials, ultra-light-weight metals, and advanced hydraulic and electronic engineering. Permo-Drive will begin testing the system in major North American vehicle fleets in 2003 and plans to make the technology available commercially by 2005.

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G-Lam Anti-Ballistic Material in SAG Turret Armor System

2nd December 2002 0 comments

US Global Aerospace has introduced the SAG Turret Armor System for mounting on high-mobility military, police and security vehicles. The SAG Turret System has been designed as a highly ballistic resistant lightweight personnel protection shielded turret for the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (“”HMMWV””, commonly pronounced Hum-Vee). There are currently over 150,000 HMMWV’s deployed around the world. The SAG Turret System weighs less than 200 pounds and offers significant ballistic ordnance protection to what would otherwise be a fully exposed soldier. Traditional armor shields are far too heavy and impede the gunner’s ability to effectively and rapidly rotate the turret during battle situations. The durability, strength and low weight of the SAG Turret System comes from the proprietary G-Lam nano-fiber material. G-Lam is created with a patented computer-designed weaving process that results in a crimp-free material with tensile performance far superior to common anti-ballistic composite materials, which suffer from excessive fiber crimping and a rapid fall-off in woven material strength.

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Boeing sells Spokane facility

2nd December 2002 0 comments

Boeing Co has reached an agreement to sell its plant in Spokane, WA to Triumph Group Inc for an undisclosed sum. Boeing said in March this year that it was looking to sell the plant, which produces a variety of composite and thermoplastic aircraft parts. Products include floor panels, air control system ducts and non-structural composite flight deck components. As part of the transaction, Boeing and Triumph will enter into an eight-year, single-source agreement to continue supplying the parts fabricated by the Spokane plant. The companies said the deal allows the 400 employees at Spokane to be kept on. Boeing has been forced to cut 30,000 jobs due to the downturn in the airline industry. The company recently said it is on target to achieve the cuts by the year-end. In addition to the 30,000, Boeing said 5,000 more jobs will go in its commercial division in 2003.

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Strong Growth for High Impact, Stiff Specialty Polypropylene Copolymer Resins

2nd December 2002 0 comments

Phillip Townsend Associates estimates that worldwide demand for polymers (including homopolymer, copolymer and TPO) amounted to about 32.2 million tonnes in 2001. The specialties segment comprises approximately 1.3 million tonnes (4.0%) of that total demand. In the new report, “”Worldwide Specialty Polypropylene Resins – Types, Producers and End-Use Trends.”” Phillip Townsend Associates (PTIA) forecasts strong growth rates for specialty polypropylene copolymers offering both higher toughness and stiffness. “”Among the specialty copolymers, reactor-TPO’s (such as BP’s ACTUF) account for roughly 240 kilotonnes,”” Dr. David Durand, PTAI’s director of consulting, said. He also noted that an above average growth rate of approximately 13% per year is forecast for this particular resin, driven by substitution of PVC and compounded TPO. “”Independent compounders are also active in the specialty polypropylene market. Among the specialty polypropylenes studied, the fastest-growing resin is long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene with an annual average growth rate of over 20%,”” Durand said. “”Automotive and non-automotive applications will benefit from the relatively low specific gravity and enhanced mechanical properties.”” According to the study, resin producers have commercialized copolymers (with up to 8 percent ethylene, like Atofina’s Z-Polymer(R)) and terpolymers (with up to 20 percent comonomer, like Basell’s Adsyl(R)) with lower heat seal temperatures for use with cast and oriented polypropylene films. Annual average growth rates for these materials are over 6%. PTAI forecasted growth rates for specialty polypropylene resins as a whole range from about 10 percent per year for North America and Europe to approximately 4 percent per year for Japan/Korea/Taiwan. The highest growth rate, about 13 percent per year, is predicted for South America. PTAI’s new report focuses on 9 types of specialty polypropylene resins, including three types of homopolymers (roughly 630 kilotonnes), four types of copolymers and terpolymers (about 580 kilotonnes) and two emerging specialty filled polypropylenes and a modified specialty polypropylene (roughly 100 kilotonnes). The geographical focus of the report is on North and South America, Europe and Japan/Korea/Taiwan.

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New Airbus A380 application for Rohacell

2nd December 2002 0 comments

EADS engineers have adopted Rohacell-filled hat stiffeners for the rear pressure bulkhead of the Airbus A380, following their introduction on the A340-600. The A 380 bulkhead measuring 5,5m by 6,2 m is using 15 Rohacell – filled stringers stiffening the bulkhead, delivered ready-to-use from Degussa Röhm Performance Plastics. The complex geometry of the profiles, having a length of 2,3 m to 2,5 m, are realized by means of precision cutting and thermoforming. Production of the bulkhead will start next spring.

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Lightweight Armor Order for U.S. Army Armored Security Vehicle “ASV''

2nd December 2002 0 comments

Simula has received an order from Textron Systems to produce lightweight ceramic/composite applique armor kits. These armor kits will be employed on the U.S. Army’s M1117 Armored Security Vehicle (ASV), also known as the Guardian. The production order is for 25 armor kits with a contract value of approximately $1.375 million. The contract includes options for 24 additional kits, which could bring the total value of the contract up to $2.75 million. Production begins in the fourth quarter of 2002 and is expected to be completed in 2003. The ASV is a four-wheeled light armored vehicle, manufactured by Textron Systems The external armor panels provide ballistic protection against various small-arms and fragment threats with a minimum weight penalty. The lightweight armor kit enhances the ASV’s ground speed and agility, as well as air transportability. Simula has manufactured armor for the initial 54 ASVs that have been ordered by the Army, and this latest order will complete the armor systems for the Army’s current order.

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Ariane 5 E Space Rocket Scheduled to Liftoff

2nd December 2002 0 comments

When the new Ariane 5 E space rocket lifts itself into the tropical sky over Kourou, French Guyana, the European space program will again be highlighted. Thanks to its 1,600 tons of thrust, the Ariane 5 E can simultaneously carry several satellites weighing 10 tons in a geostationary orbit to 36,000 km altitude above the earth’s surface. In an earth-proximate orbit of 550 km, the launcher can even carry 20 tons. This advanced new generation launcher enables Europe to lower the price per kilograms for satellites by approximately 40 percent. The fairing, the topmost part of the launcher, performs the vital task of protecting the expensive satellites from aerodynamic, thermal and acoustic loads during the flight stage through the earth’s atmosphere. To date, the innovative Swiss company can claim that all 160 payload fairings used have functioned reliably. This is due to Contraves Space AG fairings employing a CFK fabrication system that uses composite fiber-reinforced plastic.

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FiberCote Marketer and Distributor for Snecma

2nd December 2002 0 comments

Fibercote Industries will be Snecma Propulsion Solide’s exclusive marketer and distributor of RayCarb C2TM Carbonized Rayon Fabric in North America, Asia and Israel and SPS’s global partner for Raycarb C2TM ablative grade prepregs. Eric Bachelet, SPS’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, stated, “The patented Raycarb C2TM manufacturing process utilizes high tenacity rayon, which is expected to remain in healthy demand for at least another 10 years”. RayCarb C2TM was developed by SPS for use in ablative applications, including rocket motors, heat shields and exhaust gas management systems and is already qualified for use on launch proven European commercial and military rockets. John Tauriello, Director of Marketing and Sales for FiberCote, commented, “Our customers needed a cost-effective, reliable and hot-fire proven supply of aerospace grade carbonized rayon and carbonized rayon prepregs. Through our partnership with SPS, FiberCote will now be able to meet this need around the globe and on a long-term basis.” RayCarbC2 TM fabric will be stocked in the USA and France.

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