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Composites Industry News

News for April 2003


Velocity Powerboats Launches New Models

7th April 2003 0 comments

Velocity Powerboats has introduced the first speedboats built entirely with VeTron High Performance Roving from Advanced Glassfiber Yarns LLC.

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Composite 'Wing' Protects Danish Ruins

15th April 2003 0 comments

Outside the art museum on the Danish island of Bornholm, a wing made from laminated wood, polyester resins from Reichhold, and titanium has been erected to protect an old gunpowder storehouse from 1684. As a work of art, it represents an innovative meeting of past and present. The purpose of the construction was to protect the entire wall where the old gunpowder store once stood. Construction materials were chosen for their weather-resistant qualities, making composites a natural selection. The supporting structure was made from laminated wood and frames, while the roof of the sculpture takes the form of a titanium-clad wing with a 14-metre span covering the whole site. To protect the historic site from damage caused by wind and rain, it was necessary to provide an upright structure while also allowing people to view the ruins. The side elements were therefore made from semi-transparent polyester with linen strips molded in to create a visual effect. To provide extra protection against UV light and other environmental effects that can harm the polyester facade, a hard-wearing layer of transparent gel coat was applied. In his design, architect Mads Jeppesen has found inspiration in the wide range of bird life on and around the island. The sight of birds in flight has clearly left its mark on this piece of artwork. This artistic venture was supported by a number of funds and companies, including Reichhold.

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New Scott Bader Crystic Gelcoats – A Generation On

15th April 2003 0 comments

Scott Bader has developed next generation spray and brush gelcoats with better performance, which were officially launched at the JEC 2003 exhibition. These new products are suitable for both marine and non-marine applications, such as building, land transport and general moulding. Two new, low styrene marine approved spray gelcoats have also been added to the Crystic isophthalic spray gelcoat range; Crystic Envirotec LS 97PA (filled) and Crystic Envirotec LS 99PA (unfilled). As well as having weathering, blister and osmosis resistance, these new spray gelcoats give moulders the added benefits of low odour, with even lower styrene levels during application. All Crystic Envirotec gelcoats have benefited from recent R&D developments to improve weathering resistance. The new brush gelcoat is Crystic Envirotec LS88PA. It has Lloyds approval and retains the handling characteristics typical of Scott Bader gelcoats. It is the next generation to the 30 year proven performance of Crystic 65PA and will suit customers looking for a reliable, high quality product with outstanding weathering performance, which also offers ease of application and low styrene emissions. When compared with Crystic 65PA, Crystic Envirotec LS88PA is a step forward in overall product performance, both above and below the waterline in marine applications. The weathering performance of Crystic Envirotec LS88PA is outstanding and significantly improved over Crystic 65PA. After 12 months exposure in Florida, panels manufactured using Crystic Envirotec LS88PA had retained 100% of their gloss levels, with very limited colour change visible. In addition, the styrene content has been reduced by 15% compared to Crystic 65PA, in response to customer demands to keep emissions in production areas to a minimum.

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Bond-Laminates new TPU material range

15th April 2003 0 comments

The TEPEX x08 range of materials has become available commercially, using TPU as matrix material. The formulation of the TPU resin itself is very new as it obtains properties of standard engineering plastics, where standard TPU systems tend to be very soft. The integration within composites can be seen as a small revolution in thermoplastic composites as it eliminates many of the draw backs of standard thermoplastic composite systems. In addition these materials will be available in different colours. The materials are manufactured by Bond-Laminates and offer excellent mechanical properties, processing temperatures of 200-220 degC and high impact properties. Bond-Laminates also presented a demonstrator automotive application at the JEC show, manufactured with TEPEX Glass/PA66 and D-LFT-PA66. The development of a Direct LFT formulation based on PA 66 enabled the manufacturing of applications with a combination of LFT and TEPEX, shown here on a front end courtesy of BMW, Fraunhofer ICT and Dieffenbacher.

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AOC Launches a New Generation of Marine Resins and Gel Coats

15th April 2003 0 comments

New marine resins and gel coats from AOC have been designed to help boatbuilders increase productivity and improve end-use performance. Three of the new products are also engineered to help manufacturers comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards for reduced styrene content. Altek™ H771 general marine laminating resin allows manufactures to replace traditional orthophthalic marine resins with a lower-HAP content material. Altek H771 resin has a 35% or less HAP content that meets MACT requirements for flowcoating and other non-atomized mechanical applications. AOC researchers developed Altek H771 resin with a proprietary chemistry that provides many of the performance characteristics desired by the users of traditional ortho resins. Secondary bonding with the new resin is equivalent to or better than that achieved with traditional ortho resins. Compared to high-HAP ortho resins, Altek H771 resin has a higher heat distortion temperature (HDT) which reduces post-cure and contributes to an improved surface profile. “Our new marine resin continues AOC’s commitment to provide a range of technologies so boat manufacturers can create the optimum material system,” says Bill Merz, Business Manager – Open Mold Reinforced. “Our researchers are meeting the challenge to develop chemistries that comply with new emissions standards, yet still deliver the characteristics that keep composites manufacturing competitive.” New Hydropel Barrier Coat The other new AOC product, Hydropel H010-BCA-11 barrier coat is for easy application behind the gel coat. Hydropel H010-BCA-11 is based on vinyl ester chemistry that creates a superior barrier against blister-causing hydrolysis. The black color of Hydropel H010-BCA-11 contributes to improved strength and cosmetics by making it easier to detect laminate voids during subsequent roll-out. And for improved productivity, this resin can be applied “wet on wet” over the gel coat. AOC also introduced new Hydropel marine gel coats to meet a wide range of process and performance needs. Hydropel G360LA Series high performance marine gel coats comply with new MACT standards for low HAP content. The new gel coats exhibit outstanding physical properties and excellent resistance to blistering and weathering. Gel coats in the G360LA Series are easy to apply and have handling and processing traits that are similar to those of conventional gel coats. HAP content is 21% to 32% depending on color. “These new Hydropel gel coats are designed to make the transition from conventional gel coats to low-HAP products as smooth as possible,” says Jeff Dommeyer, Business Manager – Gel coats/Colorants/Non-Reinforced. “In addition, our technical service helps customers better understand the minor modifications that need to be made when processing low-HAP formulations.” AOC also introduced new Hydropel G300 Series specialty gel coats. Each product in the G300 Series features a characteristic that is targeted for specific requirements.

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Ashland Expands AME Premium Marine Resin to Europe

15th April 2003 0 comments

Ashland Specialty Chemical Company is launching its AME premium marine resin to the European market.

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Hexcel launches new products for Automotive, Wind Energy and Aerospace

15th April 2003 0 comments

At this year’s JEC, Hexcel Composites’ promotion focussed on new products for 3 major markets: Automotive, Wind Energy and Aerospace. Automotive The first competition racing car to use composites was driven by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1968. It was built with Hexcel’s aluminium honeycomb. The McLaren M26 was the first Formula 1 car built using prepreg – from Hexcel – in many areas, including the cockpit sides and front cowl, the nose cone, the airbox over the engine, the radiator air scoops, part of the floor and the fuel tank areas. Composite structures have extremely good impact resistance and it is thanks to the development of the composite chassis that many drivers have survived high speed crashes. HexPly M35-4 is Hexcel’s new prepreg matrix system, specifically developed for all motorsport applications, including series sports cars. This tough epoxy system provides good thermal properties (up to 205°C), excellent shock absorption and mechanical properties, making it ideal for chassis and any stressed parts. The wide range of prepreg forms, from fabric to unidirectional tape, makes HexPly M35-4 suitable for most requirements. Combining excellent drape and tack with a solvent-free resin system; HexPly M35-4 is the ideal solution for anyone seeking optimal performance. HexPly M35-4 is currently under evaluation with leading F1 teams. These days the benefits of composites are no longer restricted to racing drivers. Hexcel’s composite solutions are also making road cars safer. HexWeb EM is Hexcel’s new honeycomb material, manufactured from recyclable polypropylene and polyester/nylon non-woven fabric. This new honeycomb is being used by Hexcel to manufacture energy-management countermeasures, protecting automobile drivers and passengers with a cost-effective solution. Carefully selected HexWeb EM material meets the requirements of the US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 201Un, for rollover, and FMVSS 214, for side impact, while preserving the greatest amount of headroom and interior space in the vehicle. Until now Hexcel’s aluminium honeycomb, HexWeb CRIII, has often been the only material capable of achieving the necessary protection required in the space allotted by the stylists. HexWeb EM increases the range of materials available. HexWeb EM pads are supplied as completed parts ready to be bonded into place on a headliner or other interior trim. Pads can be supplied with pre-applied face sheets or as open cells in final trimmed condition. Customers include Dayton Polymeric, Lear Corporation, Findlay Industries, Intier Division of Magna Industries and Collins and Aikman. Redux 641K is a high temperature modified epoxy film adhesive that cures at 175°C. A leading automotive manufacturer is using this film adhesive for series car component production. Redux 641K was selected due to its quick cure cycle at high temperature, together with its good peel and shear performance. Redux 641K enables a fast-moving production process, needed to meet the volume automotive standards. Redux 641K has a very low volatile content and excellent out gassing properties. It is available in a variety of supports, to suit the application. Wind Energy Wind energy is an important growing market for Hexcel Composites, which contributed 14% of European sales in 2002. Hexcel’s product offering for wind turbine blades includes glass and carbon fibre prepregs and resins optimised for infusion processes. Hexcel has extended its resin range for wind energy, to meet the requirements of customers seeking to reduce production times in some areas and smooth their production output. HexPly M11 and M11.5 have been developed to adapt to low pressure processing, whether curing takes place at 70°C or 140°C. The main advantage of these systems is their rapid cure cycle at low temperatures: only 3.6 hours at 80°C or 8.7 hours at 75°C. HexPly M9F resin systems are another new development for wind turbine blade manufacturers. These formulated epoxy systems are suitable for low pressure moulding processes. The resin systems are highly versatile, permitting a range of processing temperatures from 85°C up to 150°C. HexPly M9F systems are a further development of Hexcel’s well-established M9 range, already widely used in the manufacture of wind turbine blades. The new epoxy formulations contain no environmentally harmful resins, or hardener components, which are classified as category 3 carcinogens or mutagens according to new EU product safety legislation. HexPly M9F resins are fully compatible with Hexcel’s standard M9 systems, in terms of properties and performance. Aerospace Hexcel Composites continues to develop new products to meet the requirements of the aerospace industry. HexPly M41 is a halogen-free, fast-curing phenolic matrix system, developed to meet the latest Fire, Smoke and Toxicity (FST) and OSU heat release requirements for aircraft interior parts. Typical applications are wall panels, flooring, ceiling panels, galleys and toilet modules. HexPly M41 is available with different tack levels, enabling a variety of manufacturing processes to be employed, such as daylight press, autoclave, vacuum bag or crushed core processing. Typical HexPly M41 cure cycles are 30 minutes at 135°C for flat panels, or shorter times for crushed core – 4 minutes at 160°C or 7 minutes at 140°C. The low temperature cure cycles allow Tedlar film to be co-cured with the prepreg. Hexcel Composites has introduced new technology to produce very narrow, accurately slit prepreg tape at its manufacturing plant in Parla, Spain. Along with automatic tape lay-up, aircraft manufacturers will increasingly use slit tape for design optimisation and weight reduction. These technologies are enabling the further penetration of composites in the aircraft industry as they become more cost-competitive with metals. Hexcel is already producing slit tape for Airbus, in widths as narrow as 3.2mm, using HexPly 8552/AS4 unidirectional prepreg. HexPly slit tape is also undergoing qualification for space programmes. Other New Products Hexcel Composites is a supplier of pressed unidirectional glass laminates to the ski and snowboard industry. To the established product range, Hexcel has now added newly developed pressed needled laminates with unidirectional glass fibre. Using a unique needling process, unidirectional glass rovings are fixed in place, without any destruction of the yarns. The properties of the needled laminates are therefore comparable to unidirectional prepreg laminates. The behaviour of the fixed glass rovings in the laminate allows a wide range of processing methods to be used, such as stamping and punching, without any deterioration of properties, or risk of laminate being destroyed. By controlling the needling process it is possible to adjust softer flexural properties of the ready cured laminate. Hexcel has developed two new Intermediate Modulus (IM) fibres to complement its well established IM6 and IM7 fibres. The new Magnamite products have the references IMC-12K and IM7C-12K. Magnamite IMC is targeted at the non-aerospace market and exhibits typical properties of 800 ksi tensile strength and 42msi tensile modulus. Magnamite IM7C is targeted at the aerospace industry and exhibits typical properties of 840 ksi tensile strength and 42msi tensile modulus. Both fibres are in production and available for evaluation.

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Johns Manville Unveils Plans for New Glass Furnace

15th April 2003 0 comments

Johns Manville is planning an investment of approximately $100 million in a greenfield glass fiber operation at its Trnava, Slovakia location. Michael Effing, Global Business Director for Reinforcements states, “We feel confident that the growth in the market and our investment will continue to show JM’s commitment to this industry and to our customers’ plans for growth.” The new furnace, starting up in the fourth quarter of 2004, will use the latest technology blending North American and European expertise. The furnace will be flexible and can phase in capacity to meet market growth and customer needs. Chuck Griffith, senior vice president of JM’s Engineered Products Group, comments, “We feel that this is a fast-growing market and a prudent investment at the right time. We are committed to meeting our customers requirements and developing innovative products together.“ Factors influencing Johns Manville’s investment in the Trnava facility include Slovakia’s central European location, skilled labour force and attractive cost position. Set to enter the European Union in 2004, Slovakia has attracted many companies in the automotive, industrial and infrastructure industries. Automotive OEM’s and many Tier I and II suppliers have moved or will be moving their manufacturing operations to Slovakia and other Central Eastern European countries over the next few years. “With our commitment to innovative growth and the powerful backing of Berkshire Hathaway, the JM Reinforcements business is set to make its mark while supporting the growth agenda of our customers around the world,” said Effing. “It underscores JM’s commitment to growing this capital intensive industry and our drive to enhance customer relationships, product innovation and service excellence.”

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Drake Passage Conquered

15th April 2003 0 comments

After an 82-hour sailing marathon Brazilian Roberto Pandiani and South African Duncan Ross became the first sailors to cross the Drakes Passage aboard an open 21-foot catamaran. The Drake´s Passage infamous for its shipwrecks, huge quadrangular waves, unpredictable storms, icebergs and freezing temperatures presented a formidable challenge to the two sailors. Stretching from Cape Horn to The Antarctic Peninsula, it represents 500 miles of the most respected and feared waters in the world. Meticulous planning and precise project management ensured a safe and successful crossing. The vessel choice was a custom built Catamaran based on the HOBIE 21 hull shape; construction and engineering of which was carried out by Barracuda Technologies, Rio de Janeiro. Kevlar and Carbon Fibres surrounding a 12mm Divinycell PVC Foam core were infused with epoxy, producing a bulletproof platform. Further modifications included – foam filled “crash boxes” and a total of 5 watertight compartments in each hull. A powerful rig including a 24m2 spinnaker and a 9.6 meter tall mast, complemented the composite 3 meter beam to produce a fast and stable vessel. Two narrow ultra light wings constructed in Carbon further increased the beam and provided a place to rest and store essential safety equipment which included Personal EPIRBS, Satellite phones, a Recue Pod and a Inmarsat C Satellite tracking system. The expedition started in the most southern city of South America, Ushuaia, Argentina. The first leg sailed westwards down the Beagle Canal and across Nassau Bay to reach a small cove called “Calheta Martial” only a few miles from Cape Horn. From here, choosing what Roberto called “a perfect weather window”, the duo set off for Deception Island 500 miles away. The Drake Passage served up a mixture of conditions ranging from dead calm to 25 knots with seas running at up to 5m. Seasickness, freezing air and water temperatures left the sailors exhausted to point of experiencing mild hallucinations as the reached the Peninsula in the early hours of the morning on the 8th February. Elated but exhausted Duncan commented ´it was like scooting across the upturned belly of an sleeping monster – the weather was excellent, we are very happy – it could have been so much worse ! On the next leg to the Melchior Archipelago 120 miles away, the monster awoke and left the duo on the limit of survival. The weather forecasted 4 to 8 knots, but by the end of the day they were down to 3 reefs in the mainsail in 37 knots of wind. Rolling white water on the tops of a long-range swell coming in from the west met a wind generated swell from the NE to produce an unenviable sea condition. A near collision with a whale, snow, mist and the constant threat of floating ice made this day one to be remembered. Duncan’s Logbook entry on 13 February entitled ”Eyes Wide Shut” sums it up, “I could never have imagined, guessed or dreamed about the sheer splendor of this place. It is a labyrinth of Islands, bergs and glaciers. My body aches and my hands are numb but my heart is filled with emotion. We have arrived in the frozen continent on a small catamaran – now we are in Antarctica”

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New Reichhold Gel Coat Plant Operational

15th April 2003 0 comments

Reichhold’s new gel coat plant in Fredrikstad, Norway has successfully begun production. This new addition gives Reichhold both resin and gel coat production facilities adjacent to each other at one site. In the past, the base resins used in gel coat production were produced in Fredrikstad and then transported to the gel coat plant in Sandefjord, Norway. This co-location of facilities will increase efficiencies. “”Opening this plant will bring benefits to our customers, such as improved product quality according to agreed specifications, precise delivery time and competitive prices,”” said Petter Hoven, project leader of Global Engineering Team in Fredrikstad. The project was initiated in October 2001 after a Steering Committee was established to ensure compliance with all aspects of the project and officially kicked off in January 2002. Start-up of fully automated batch production began in mid-February. For the start up period January-March, production capability has been maintained at the facility in Sandefjord.

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