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Composites Industry News

News for October 2002


New company for Scott Bader in Spain

3rd October 2002 0 comments

GRP resin supplier Scott Bader has opened new premises to the west of Barcelona. The new Company, Scott Bader Iberica, s.l. started trading at the beginning of September. The decision to create its own company is part of Scott Bader’s continued expansion across Europe. Bjorn Neidert, Divisional Director of Scott Bader Europe said ‘We already have extensive manufacturing facilities across Europe to guarantee a secure product supply line. With some business already established in Spain, a direct Scott Bader sales and technical presence in Spain will allow us to grow our business even further by providing a higher level of customer service and technical support.’ Under the leadership of General Manager, Lluis Subirana Scott Bader Iberica will be dedicated to serving the needs of the Spanish market from Andalucia to Levante and from Catalonia to Galicia. Lluis Subirana has more than 10 years experience of the Spanish GRP market. Subirana said ‘This is excellent news for Spain. Spain is Europe’s largest polyester resin market and Scott Bader are world leaders in GRP. Now we can bring that expertise to Spain. We offer a comprehensive range of Crystic products. Of particular interest to Spain will be fire retardant products for the transport industry, Crestomer structural adhesives and vinyl esters for the marine market and solid surface resins for decorative castings’. In 2001 the company opened a multi-million euro state-of-the-art technical centre at its headquarters in the UK. The premises include Europe’s only full-scale closed mould training facility.

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ATK Contract to Produce Composite Wing Skins

3rd October 2002 0 comments

ATK (Alliant Techsystems) has been selected by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company to produce single-segment, all-composite upper wing skins for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the next- generation stealth aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, the British Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and allies worldwide. Under an initial $14 million system development and demonstration contract, ATK Composites, Clearfield, Utah, will supply parts for 22 ship sets through October 2006. Follow-on potential during the low-rate initial production phase includes an additional 674 ship sets through 2015. ATK Composites will be responsible for tooling design and manufacture of the upper wing skins for all three variants of the new fighter aircraft — the Conventional Take Off/Landing (CTOL), the Short Take Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL), and Carrier Vehicle (CV). Fiber placement was selected as the key manufacturing process for its accuracy, efficiency, and repeatability. “”The ATK Composites team is proud to continue its participation on the Joint Strike Fighter, one of the most important transformational weapon systems of our time,”” said Travis Campbell, president, ATK Composites. “”We bring to the JSF program a 40-year heritage in the design and production of composite structures for aerospace and defense applications — as well as a strong commitment to the cornerstones of the program: affordability and performance.”” Other ATK Composites military aircraft products include composite pivot shafts and horizontal stabilator skins and components for the F-22 fighter and counterbalance assemblies for the C-17 transport. The company also produces structures for commercial aircraft, space launch vehicles, satellites, spacecraft, and weapons systems. Manufacturing facilities are located in Clearfield, Utah; Magna, Utah; Iuka, Miss.; Rocket Center, W. Va.; and Huntsville, Ala.

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Crane Co. Divests CorTec Unit

3rd October 2002 0 comments

Crane Co. has sold its CorTec unit to FiberTech of Ohio, Inc. for approximately $3 million, roughly book value. CorTec manufactures fiberglass reinforced plastic plywood panels primarily for use in truck and trailer sidewalls. No further details were disclosed.

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Cyclics First Commercial Plant at Basf Schwarzheide Site

3rd October 2002 0 comments

Cyclics will build its first commercial production plant for high performance CBT resins in Brandenburg, Germany. Cyclics Corporation will be investing 20 million euros at the location of BASF Schwarzheide GmbH, in order to build a 100,000 square foot production plant for CBT resins, with an annual capacity of 5.5 million pounds.

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European Composites Industry Association GPRMC

3rd October 2002 0 comments

In order to help them to prepare for EU membership GPRMC has invited the composite manufacturers of all candidate EU member states to create national composite industry associations in their own country and to participate via this association as “”associated member”” in the work of GPRMC. The primary goal of GPRMC, and its national member associations, is indeed to unite the whole European composites industry into one single European association. It has also been active in each of the following areas: From 29 May 2002 onwards all composite products made for use under pressure (> 0.5 bar) have according to the European “”Pressure Equipment Directive”” 97/23/EC to be CE marked. Without this mandatory CE marking and the accompanying “”Declaration of conformity”” these products may no longer be sold or put into service on the European Market and in the EFTA countries. The final report of the Styrene Risk Assessment (SRA) study conducted by the UK HSE on behalf of the European Commission is almost finished. One of the main conclusions of the Styrene Risk Assessment study is that the fibre reinforced plastics & polymer concrete industry have to take measures to reduce styrene emissions in order to protect workers against contact of resin with the skin and to prevent inhalation of styrene. This means one may reasonably expect changing attitudes of some authorities towards the GRP industry. Composite manufacturers should therefore seriously consider switching to closed mould techniques whenever possible or take other appropriate measures in order to be ready because experience in some EU countries with low limits show that it takes time to switch. Companies can still obtain copies of the UP Resin Handling Guide from their national association. GPRMC and the CEFIC UP resin manufacturers intend to start working on an update of this document. As far as products for food and drinking water contact are concerned GPRMC advises the concerned composite manufacturers to always apply the best available curing techniques, i.e. curing at an adequate temperature during the right amount of time. For advice please contact your resin manufacturer. As far as drinking water contact (CPDW) is concerned the European Commission explicitly considers composites as being materials different from other materials (glass, plastics, metal, concrete). Companies making FRP products for drinking water contact (pipes, tanks, vessels, desalination pipes, pumps, valves, etc) should therefore closely co-operate with GPRMC to follow op draft legislation: via their national associations they should provide GPRMC with their remarks on draft legislation and give specific technical input. Because companies sell their products European wide and we have more and more European-wide waste legislation (e.g. Directives on landfill, incineration, ELV, WEEE, etc.) introducing “”producer responsibility”” and other obligations, GPRMC and its national member associations urgently need the full support of all composite manufacturers to set up a European wide composite waste management system. Companies are invited to sponsor and otherwise support the efforts of GPRMC to find new applications and economically viable markets for FRP recyclate. In order to avoid double work all companies, universities and research institutes working on composite waste management projects are invited to briefly inform GPRMC about their projects. Concerning the Green-Amber-Red list GPRMC also continues its efforts to get FRP waste on the Green list in order to facilitate transport of waste to existing FRP recycling plants.

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ZCL Composites Inc. Acquires Parabeam

3rd October 2002 0 comments

ZCL Composites Inc has completed the acquisition of Parabeam Industries B.V from Gamma Holding N.V. in the Netherlands. The purchase price was approximately $675,000 paid on closing. Gamma Holding N.V., a public company listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, is a high-tech textile-based manufacturer. Parabeam manufactures a three-dimensional glass fabric, also known as Parabeam, which is used by ZCL in the manufacture of double wall tanks and tank lining products. Parabeam operates from facilities in Helmond, Netherlands, and has 9 employees. “”While Parabeam did not meet the strategic objectives of Gamma Holding, the fabric is a key component of our products,”” said Ven Côté, President & CEO of ZCL. “”This acquisition will ensure the supply of this raw material as we move forward with the expansion of our tank manufacturing and lining operations. It will also serve as a beachhead in Europe.””

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Six Tutorial Topics and Instructors Slated for SAMPE Technical Conference

3rd October 2002 0 comments

Educational opportunities. Overviews of manufacturing and processing (M&P) technologies. Most recent technological advances. Critical materials support areas. These are all covered by the six tutorials selected by the SAMPE Organizing Committee for presentation at the International SAMPE Technical Conference in Baltimore, MD, November 4-7, 2002. Tutorials have always been a strong focus of SAMPE in providing the most up-to-date and concentrated package of technology information to its conference attendees. Always popular, and a big draw to professionals, students and novices to the material and process engineering community, the six tutorials offer a broad opportunity for increasing education on critical topics. The six tutorial topics, covering both “basic” and “advanced” technology subjects across the materials and process engineering industry are shown below: Composite Materials: Introduction & Overview Design and Analysis of Composites Composite Structures: Fabrication/Manufacturing Processes Resin Infusion Processes: RTM, VARTM, SCRIMP, RFI and VIP Technology Manufacturing Aerospace Composite Sandwich Printed Circuit Boards: The Electronics Composite Structures

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GKN Aerospace Wins $14.4 Million Joint Strike Fighter Contract

3rd October 2002 0 comments

GKN Aerospace North America has won $14.4 million in new contracts for development of components for the F135 engine on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The contracts, awarded by Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp., are for development and fabrication of the engine’s fan inlet case and inlet guide vanes; the engine nozzle’s static structure; the front compressor case; engine blade finishing and Lift fan containment case. Pratt & Whitney is developing the F135 propulsion system for the Lockheed Martin F-35, a stealthy (radar-evading), supersonic multi-role fighter designed to meet the U.S. government’s requirements for a new generation of transformational weapons. The same F135 will be able to power the aircraft in all of its variants – conventional takeoff and lift (CTOL, primarily for Air Force pilots using conventional runways), carrier variant (CV, primarily for Navy pilots to take off and land on aircraft carriers), and short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL, primarily for Marine Corps pilots who may have limited runway space and must land vertically like a helicopter would). Up to 6,000 F-35 fighters could be produced over the life of the program, for U.S. and international customers. The GKN development contracts announced today could lead to more than $1 billion in manufacturing contracts for the 6,000 fighters that could be produced over the life of the program for both U.S. and international customers. “”We are pleased to have GKN on our development team for the F135,”” said Tom Farmer, Vice President of F135 Engine Programs, Pratt & Whitney. “”Together, we made the F119 engine powering the F-22 Raptor the most advanced production fighter engine in the world today, and we look forward to continuing our mutual success on the JSF program.”” The fan inlet case and inlet guide vanes will be developed using Resin Transfer Molding (RTM). Housed in GKN’s St. Louis factory is a nearly 90,000 square-foot section devoted entirely to RTM. It is believed to be the largest facility of its kind in the nation. Resin Transfer Molding uses an advanced system for combining carbon fiber fabric with epoxy and other resins. It results in greater quality, increased production rates and an ability to manufacture more complex close-tolerance composite parts than had been possible. Using this process for the F-35 engine components also will help reduce the weight of the engine and assist in making the plane meet its performance requirements. “”GKN is proud to be a key supplier on the Joint Strike Fighter program,”” said Jay Fitzsimmons, president and chief executive officer of GKN Aerospace Services – St. Louis. “”The fan inlet case will be the largest and most complex component ever made with the RTM process. This component, more than five feet in diameter, will be made in a single mold, thereby helping to reduce manufacturing costs while retaining extremely precise specifications.”” “”Our company has been one of the pioneers using RTM,”” Fitzsimmons added. “”I am confident that its success in military aircraft will continue to lead to new opportunities for GKN to use RTM in commercial applications. We appreciate the confidence Pratt & Whitney has placed in GKN and look forward to our role in developing the engine for JSF.”” Portions of the new contracts will be initiated at the company’s new Engineering Development Center in Connecticut. When regular production of the aircraft begins in early 2004, the fan inlet case and inlet guide vanes will be manufactured at St. Louis.

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GrafTech Receives Key Patents in Growth Markets

3rd October 2002 0 comments

GrafTech International Ltd. was awarded four new patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The flexible graphite patents cover important aspects of GTI’s developing technologies in fuel cell, industrial heat management (IHM) and electronic thermal management (ETM) markets. One strength of GTI’s business is its expertise in natural graphite processing. Natural graphite is the primary raw material used in products for the fuel cell, ETM, IHM and other of GTI’s growth businesses. Patent 6,416,815 titled “”Expandable Graphite and Method”” describes a unique chemical process that allows GTI to use smaller, less costly, flake that is widely available in mines throughout the world. Two of the other newly issued patents focus on the superior features of GTI’s flexible graphite materials for use in the fuel cell market. Patents 6,413,671 and 6,413,633 describe two gas permeable flexible graphite components that can be used to replace the high cost carbon fiber composites currently used for gas diffusion layers. GTI’s gas permeable flexible graphite has higher electrical and thermal conductivity, has better conformability and can be cost effectively manufactured in high volumes. These patents will support GTI’s continuous efforts in its collaboration with Ballard Power Systems in the development of proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Patent 6,413,601 describes a heat management system for high temperature furnaces, which combines the conductive properties of flexible graphite with the insulating properties of other materials. The technology allows for the engineering of thermal performance including the containment of heat in processing systems. These unique features of the combined material solution provide customers with increased value by reducing furnace cycle time, energy costs and system maintenance. GTI’s technology is now being implemented in a growing number of furnaces in the nearly $500 million industrial furnace insulation market. “”Leveraging our strong carbon and graphite know-how, we are developing lower cost, higher performing products to meet next generation performance requirements in various industries,”” stated Scott Mason, President of GTI’s Advanced Energy Technology Division. “”Our intellectual property portfolio is a valuable asset and its value will become increasingly apparent as we penetrate our target markets with our innovative energy solutions.””

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Aurora's MarsFlyer Takes Next Step Towards Red Planet

3rd October 2002 0 comments

Flying 100,000 feet above the Oregon coast last week, a new kind of aircraft demonstrated the readiness of robotic airplane technology for Mars exploration. The MarsFlyer, designed and manufactured by Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, is a one-half scale prototype of a NASA aircraft that may one day soar over the red planet returning unique science knowledge on Mars’ atmosphere, surface, and interior. Today’s flight was the first in a series of high-altitude tests confirming the aircraft’s ability to deploy its wings and tail, and demonstrate aerodynamic performance. Led by the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., Aurora is part of a team of industry, academia, and national laboratories working for the past three years to prepare robotic aircraft technology for scientific application on Mars. Attached to a high-altitude balloon, the MarsFlyer began its flight at 10:15 am PDT on September 19, 2002 with its wings and tail folded underneath, simulating its storage position during the trip to Mars. After reaching a height of almost 19 miles, the prototype Mars airplane separated from the balloon at approximately 11:49 am, unfolded, and completed a ninety minute, pre-programmed flight path. The airplane was controlled throughout its flight by an Athena Technologies GS-111 flight control system, http://www.athenati.com. The balloon was launched from GSSL, Inc., in Tillamook, Ore., 85 miles west of Portland. The plane returned to the same airport from which it was launched and landed without damage at 1:28 pm. Mars airplane engineers and scientists said today’s test is a tremendous success. Aurora project manager for the MarsFlyer, Jean-Charles Lede, said that a preliminary analysis of the flight data shows the deployment sequence went flawlessly and the subsequent flight was smooth and stable matching preflight predictions. “”The flight could not have gone better,”” Lede added. “”The performance matched our models very well.”” “”Successful flight testing in a Mars-like environment is a critical milestone for this technology,”” said Dr. Robert Braun, a NASA Langley systems engineer. “”The test summarizes several years worth of design, analysis, and ground testing and clearly shows that this science platform is ready for use in a Mars flight project.”” Dr. James Head, professor of geological sciences at Brown University and one of several scientists guiding this technology development effort agreed. “”On Mars, this airplane’s unique vantage point and regional-scale survey capability will provide a wealth of fundamental new scientific information that complements and extends the measurements available from previous Mars missions,”” stated Head. “”The science return will be profound and inspiring.”” Dr. Joel S. Levine, a NASA Langley atmospheric scientist, added, “”Atmospheric measurements available from this airplane will help us understand the chemical and evolutionary relationships between water in the Mars atmosphere, at the surface, and within the crust.”” The NASA Langley team is planning more analysis and testing in 2003 including a second high-altitude test to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ historic flight on December 17. Flight on Mars could be as early as 2008.

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