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Composites Industry News

News for December 2003


Omnexus to close transactional platform

4th December 2003 0 comments

Plastics e-marketplace Omnexus will close down its transactional platform at the end of this month, the company has announced. The e-commerce company, despite significant progress and several changes to its business model in the past three years, has not been able to achieve sufficient e-commerce adoption to support its marketplace, said COO Michael Walsh. In a letter to customers on November 13th, Walsh said “Omnexus has been at the forefront of e-commerce marketplaces and we are proud of what we have accomplished, but as your may know, e-commerce adoption rates have been much slower that originally projected.” Omnexus, which was founded by Bayer, BASF, Dow, Dupont, and Ticona more than three years ago, will direct a significant portion of its transaction volume to Elemica and will complete an orderly wind-up of the company by year end. The move is expected to affect about 45 persons in North America and Europe. Walsh said talks are underway with potential buyers for the e-marketing side of the business. He said that to date no buyers have surfaced for the technology platform.

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Panipol and Premix agree on Conductive Plastics

4th December 2003 0 comments

Panipol Oy, the Finnish inventor, developer and producer of processable electrically conductive polyaniline compositions and Premix Oy a leader of electrically conductive plastics compound business have reached an agreement on future co-operation.

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New RTM/VM/RTM Light Injection Valve

4th December 2003 0 comments

Composite Integration Ltd has launched their patent pending V400 Injection Valve for use in both RTM and VM/RTM light applications. An Injection valve links the resin injection/meter mix machine and the inlet port of a typical closed mould. It ensures clean operation, straightforward isolation of the mould cavity, vacuum tight sealing and is easily cleaned as part of the normal machine cycle. In addition, the use of such a valve enables automation of the process and reduces the need for operator intervention. The V400 Injection Valve is claimed to be highly reliable in operation with very low maintenance requirement. It’s design enables use with filled, unfilled, DCPD polyester and epoxy resin systems without modification, and in deep mould structures with limited access. The valve can be simply disassembled if necessary and has been made affordable for use with VM/RTM light. Installation of more than 30 valves at one of the UK’s largest closed mould manufacturers has demonstrated 100% reliability over an 8 month period when used with several different resin types including low profile and filled systems.

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Owens Corning Environmental Strides Spotlighted at EU Conference

4th December 2003 0 comments

Owens Corning is one of eight companies being recognized at a European Commission (EC)-sponsored conference, The Environmental Performance of EU Industry (November 24 and 25, 2003). The tour of the Owens Corning glass fibre manufacturing facility in Battice, Belgium will highlight the plant’s advancements in emissions reduction, the aggressive schedule of environmental improvements the Battice facility has achieved to date, initiatives currently underway, as well as future efforts in continuous environmental improvement tied to sustainable business growth. “Sustainable manufacture is a key issue for all business,” said Raymund Trost, Owens Corning Vice-President and General Manager, Dry Used Chopped Strands, “and the commitment that we have demonstrated to the process at our Battice plant will significantly benefit our customers in meeting their own future business needs, as well as regulatory requirements. Owens Corning’s customers can be confident that our products will contribute positively to them achieving and maintaining their own sustainability targets.” Using what it refers to as an “integrated approach” toward environmental productivity improvements, Owens Corning has “re-invented” its manufacturing process and product composition in order to meet current applicable limits as well as anticipate future ones derived from “benchmark levels” associated with “IPPC – Best Available Techniques”. The efforts have resulted in reductions of up to 90 percent in emissions associated with the plant’s manufacture of the company’s Advantex Continuous Filament Glass Fibre (CFG) product brand. “Owens Corning’s initiative to eliminate/reduce emissions associated with manufacturing is simply the right thing to do to support sustainable growth,” said Freddy Dethier, Owens Corning’s Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) leader for its composites business in Europe and Asia. “While challenging to implement and requiring great effort to resolve technical issues and adapt equipment, the integrated approach has now become the obvious blueprint for Owens Corning to follow,” said Dethier. “Today, we are very pleased to have successfully implemented this technology in all European manufacturing sites and are continuing its implementation in other regions. This approach has positioned Owens Corning on the path of sustainable growth, giving us both increased production and reduced environmental impact.” The achievements of the Battice facility will be highlighted during a 40-member tour to be held as part of “The Environmental Performance of EU Industry” Conference in Brussels. Organized by the European Commission Enterprise Directorate-General, the two-day conference beginning today expects to welcome more than 700 participants, who will discuss industry’s progress in improving environmental performance, and examine the potential for better competitiveness while achieving environmental improvements.

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JISSE-8 Review: “Expanded Horizon in Advanced Materials and Processing”

4th December 2003 0 comments

By Dr. Scott W. Beckwith, SAMPE International Technical Director The SAMPE Japan Chapter has done it again. Ever two years they seem to outdo themselves in organizing an excellent technical symposium covering M&P technology advances not only in the Pacific Rim but also international representations from the other continents. The 8th Japan International SAMPE Symposium and Exhibition, commonly referred to as JISSE-8, was held in the large Tokyo Big Sight conference and exhibition center. JISSE-8, held near downtown Tokyo November 18-21, 2003, provided a considerable show of technology for attendees. JISSE-7, held in November 2001, had 234 technical papers that were presented and contained in a single volume Proceedings. However, the strength and depth of the JISSE-8 technical program is evidenced by the fact there were 329 technical papers (a 40 percent increase) and the resultant Proceedings expanded to a 2-volume hardbound set. Considering that the SAMPE Long Beach Symposia usually contains somewhere in the 200-250 technical paper range, this is a significant program growth for our SAMPE Japan colleagues. It should also be noted that the quality of the technical papers did not suffer because the quantity count was high. The Organizing Committee conducted peer reviews on the majority of the submitted papers. The Committee set up JISSE-8 so that there were seven key Plenary Lectures that focused on technology across a number of current topics of interest and growth segments within technology arenas. Plenary Lectures set the stage by providing an excellent overview of past, present and future technology in specific areas. In fact, the SAMPE 2004 Committee for next year’s 60th Anniversary Symposium will also be doing Plenary Lectures in those areas that are the “hot topics” of technology. The Utah SAMPE Chapter thinks that SAMPE Japan had the right idea – although this is not the first time their programs have incorporated plenary talks directly into the program. The key Plenary Lecturers were: • Engineering Materials to Engineered Materials, Dr. Robert Sierakowski, Air Force Research Laboratory • Advanced Structure Technologies for A380 and Beyond, Jörg Kumpfert, Airbus Industries • Boeing’s 7E7: advanced Technology for Industry Value, Mark Jenks, The Boeing Company • High Power Piezoelectric Transformers: Their Applications to Smart Actuator Systems, Prof. Kenji Uchino, The Pennsylvania State University • Processing and Characterization of Polymer Nanocomposites, Prof. Yiu-Wing Mai, University of Sydney • New Trends in Research and Development of Polymer Composites in Europe, Prof. A.K. Schalarb, University of Kaiserslautern • Mass Production of Carbon Nanotube and Applications to Polymer Nanocomposites, Prof. Morinobu Endo, Shinshu University The Committee also organized Special Sessions to focus on future directions of research and development during the early portion of the technical program before moving on to two other Session categories. The Special Sessions started with an interactive panel entitled Market Trend with the topic “Innovative Market Development for Future Advanced Composites”. This panel was organized by Nobuhide Teranishi (N.T. ADCO) and Kenji Iizuka (Iizuka TechnoSystems) and covered both technical and business areas associated with current technology thrusts. Dr. Susumu Sasaki, Mitsubishi Rayon presented “The Outlook for the Carbon Fiber Market” as one of the panelists. “Composite Opportunities: Carbon Fiber in the U.S. Infrastructure, An Editor’s Eye View” was presented by Steve Loud, Composites Worldwide Inc. Prof. Ignaas Verpoest, Katholieke University-Lueben, was the third panelist and his presentation was entitled “European Composites on Tour”. The fourth panelist, Dr. Scott Beckwith, BTG Composites, was not able to attend to present “Composites Market: Processing Advances Mean Product Improvement and Opportunities.” After the Market Trend Panel, the other focus area sessions were held: Nanotechnology, Natural Materials and Ecomaterials, Smart Structures and Materials, Thermoplastics and International University Research Collaboration. Roughly a third of the JISSE-8 focus was contained in the 107 technical papers within these Special Sessions. There was a particularly heavy concentration of excellent papers in the Thermoplastics and Smart Structures/Materials technology area. A number of the thermoplastic papers indicated the recent developments of many new matrix materials along with the resultant process development for upcoming applications in several markets. Much of the smart structure work discussed new approaches for detecting delaminations, impact damage, fatigue damage and characterizing mechanical properties in situ for carbon fiber polymeric matrix composites. The second focus group of papers were contained in the General Session that included 14 overall session topics: Metals and MMC, C/C, CMC’s and Ceramics, Resins and Reinforcements, Advanced Prepreg Materials, Filament Winding Fabrication, New Fabrication Technology for CFRP, Measurement and NDI, Film and Coatings, Traditional Industry and Textile, Application to Biotechnology, Infrastructure Applications, Aerospace and Marine Structure Composite Applications, Automobile and Transportation Applications, Sports Equipment Application and Energy. JISSE-8 concentrated on fabrication technology in a number of papers and sessions because of the high interest and importance of this technology to advanced materials applications. The “applications” papers in the Biotechnology, Infrastructure, Aerospace and Marine, Automobile and Transportation, Sports Equipment and Energy sessions were very interesting and provided an excellent insight into current technology applications with advanced materials and processing methods. The Infrastructure papers reflect the continued influence that Japan has had on the use of advanced materials technology (namely carbon fiber polymeric matrix materials) in repair and strengthening applications to building, construction and highway structures. The Aerospace papers again indicate the active participation of Japanese researchers, engineers and scientists in working toward significant advances in materials, design and manufacturing of commercial and business aircraft structures. A large number of companies and universities appear to be very active in supporting the growth and near term application in upcoming production programs. As a new feature, the Recent Advancements and Research Trends Session and a corresponding Poster Session, were added to this year’s JISSE-8. The first session included several main technological topics on advancements in materials research and applications: Durability and Reliability under Severe Environments, Mechanics, Finite Element Modeling (FEM), Adhesion, Fabrication and Interfaces. The Poster Session was organized this year in order to allow for the most updated discussion of current research topics. This year’s JISSE also initiated awards in two categories for participants: Excellent Technical Paper Award and Excellent Poster Award. JISSE-8 also offered two technology Tutorials on the last day. Steve Loud, Composites Worldwide and SAMPE Fellow, provided a half-day tutorial on “Composites Opportunity: Carbon Fiber in the Scope of the Cosmos.” The second tutorial, “Liquid Molding and Resin Infusion Processing Technology: Overview and Advances”, by Dr. Scott Beckwith, BTG Composites and SAMPE Fellow, was not given because of the emergency noted earlier but was provided to the attendees in the full CD-ROM form. The JISSE-8 symposium this year was supported by a number of organizations: The Business and Technology Daily News, Shonan Institute of Technology, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development (AFOSR/AOARD) and the Army research Office-Far East (ARO-FE). The JISSE-8 Proceedings, Volumes 1 and 2, “Expanded Horizon in Advanced Materials and Processing”, November 18-21, 2004, is Edited by N. Takeda, H. Hamada, S. Ogihara and A. Nakai. Copies are available through the SAMPE Japan Office

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US Plastic Lumber Corp and Solutia in Partners for Renewal Program

4th December 2003 0 comments

US Plastic Lumber Corp. has joined up with the contract carpet market, Solutia in their Partners for Renewal program.

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Nasa hopeful of late 2004 launch

4th December 2003 0 comments

The US space agency says it is on track to launch a space shuttle into orbit in the autumn of 2004, despite lingering worries over safety. Nasa admits it has made little progress to date in finding a way to repair the sort of damage that caused the orbiter Columbia to crash in February. The agency is carrying out tests to explore how lightweight objects can damage vehicles at supersonic speeds. The tentative launch date for the shuttle Atlantis is 12 September. There are opportunities to launch the orbiter that extend into October, but they are restricted. Nasa says it will only send the shuttle up in daylight now. Also, new weather requirements mean the number of possible launch days a year has been dramatically reduced. “”We have all the confidence in the world we can get there,”” shuttle programme manager Bill Parsons said. But he added: “”There are a number of areas out there that could create bumps in the road for us and we’re going to have to keep a close eye on things.”” He told reporters the agency had made considerable progress in devising a technique to fix holes in the silica glass fibre tiles that cover large sections of the shuttle. Astronauts will have the capability to go outside the orbiter and inject a putty-like material into a gap that appears in these heat-resistant tiles. But Parsons said it was proving much more difficult to develop a repair kit for the reinforced carbon-carbon panels that protect the leading edges of the shuttle wings from the searing heat of re-entry. It is thought a piece of insulation foam striking this part of the orbiter on launch created the damage that led to the 1 February loss of Columbia. The manager also said detection issues still had to be addressed. There is now a plan to attach a boom to the end of the shuttle’s robotic arm so astronauts can survey the underside of the craft with cameras and lasers to measure any dents or holes. The veteran astronaut Eileen Collins will take command of Atlantis when it flies next year. Much of the mission will focus on testing any new in-orbit repair methods.

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Discovery Could Lead To New Ways To Create Nano-Fibers And Wires

4th December 2003 0 comments

A research team led by engineers at Purdue University and physicists at the University of Chicago has made a discovery about the formation of drops that could lead to new methods for making threads, wires and particles only a few nanometers wide. Such nano-threads, wires and particles could, in turn, have numerous applications, including new kinds of composite materials, electronic circuits and pharmaceutical products, said Osman Basaran, a professor in Purdue’s School of Chemical Engineering. The researchers made the discovery while studying how liquid drops and gas bubbles are formed by nozzles, such as those in inkjet printers. A widely accepted universal rule holds that, no matter what the liquid or gas is made of, drops and bubbles always break away from a nozzle the same way: As the drop is forming, it is attached to the nozzle by a thin segment of liquid or gas. This connecting segment grows progressively thinner, and as its width gets closer and closer to zero it breaks at a single point and the drop falls away from the nozzle. “”This breaking region, which I and others have been studying, has some really amazing properties,”” Basaran said. “”It always breaks the same way, no matter how big a nozzle is or how fast you are flowing the liquid.”” The researchers, however, have discovered an exception to this no- longer universal rule, Basaran said. Drops usually form in air, which has much lower viscosity than liquid. For example, water dripping from a faucet is more viscous than the surrounding air. If, however, a nozzle is immersed into a sticky liquid like honey or silicone oil, which is thousands of times thicker than water, the water drops form differently than they would in air. “”First of all, the drops take much longer to form,”” Basaran said. Moreover, instead of abruptly breaking off, the segment of liquid between the forming drop and the nozzle’s tip continues to grow into a narrow thread and eventually becomes much longer than it would if the drop were forming in air. “”In this special case, this region doesn’t shrink to a point and break off like it ordinarily would,”” Basaran said. “”Mathematically, we say that it ‘remembers’ its initial state, which is very unusual.”” Rather than separating from the nozzle at a single point, the liquid cuts away in two places: at the point where the drop has formed and at a point closer to the nozzle. The drop falls away, but an extremely thin thread of liquid or gas also separates from the nozzle. If the liquid contains certain chemicals, the threadlike segment can be quickly solidified by exposing it to “”photo-polymerizing”” light, creating extremely thin filaments or fibers of uniform thickness. Researchers were surprised by the potential for practical applications. “”Initially we just thought it was a new scientific discovery, which it is because it violates everything that was known,”” Basaran said. “”This thin thread forms so slowly ­ which was also unexpected ­ that you have enough time to solidify it into a filament or wire.””

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New Transparent Laminate

4th December 2003 0 comments

M.C. Gill Corporation has announced the development of a Transparent Laminate for use as a see-through cargo liner allowing visual inspections without removal. Such inspections are routinely carried out by airlines to check for mechanical problems, assess damage and locate contraband. Unlike previous transparent plastics, the Gillite 1401 Transparent Laminate offers improved strength using fiberglass reinforcement and good flammability properties, including compliance with burn through requirements. “Beyond cargo liner applications, Gillite 1401 Transparent Laminate will find use in a range of products. It could be used to construct a cargo container, making the contents readily evident,” said Irv Freund, VP Sales and Marketing. “Other uses might include ceiling panels in commercial transport vehicles which rely on natural lighting, equipment housings and architectural applications. It should be considered for applications anywhere transparency, strength, light weight and low flammability are important. Increased safety and Home Land Security concerns are expected to create significant opportunities for this innovation.” The laminate is very clear, making it possible to read through it with a four inch space between the laminate and letters; four inches being the distance between the cargo liner and fuselage in most aircraft.

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World's Biggest Composite Ship Launched at VT

5th December 2003 0 comments

The world’s biggest composites ship was launched by VT (formerly Vosper Thornycroft) Shipbuilding at its Southampton shipyard last week. The 75m. Mirabella V is also the biggest single masted yacht ever built and will be used as a charter vessel, operating mainly in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, when she enters service early next year. Owned by US businessman Joe Vittoria, Mirabella V was named by his wife Luciana and will now complete fitting out before she starts sea trials. The yacht will be fitted with a mast some 90 metres high, which will eventually support some 3,000 square metres of sail. Designed by Ron Holland, she will carry up to 12 passengers in luxury surroundings with facilities on board including a 600-bottle wine cellar and an outdoor cinema. Guests will also be able to sail small yachts, enjoy remote controlled replicas of the Mirabella V, ride jet skis and have their own 29 ft motor launch – all carried in a garage at the stern of the vessel. Charter cost will be some $250,000 a week and several potential clients have expressed an interest in specific periods for the year ahead. Mr Vittoria commented: “”Mirabella V is the most unique yacht in the world. The technical innovation necessary to create it is unmatched in any other project. Its mast alone is almost 100ft higher than any produced to date and a lifting keel of 150 tonnes has never been done. “”Obviously the charter guests will be in the upper level financially. Many will be sailors but most will want the experience of just being on the boat. To be able to move through the water at 20 knots without the noise and vibration of engines will be a unique and glorious experience.”” VT’s experience as a composite shipbuilder is based on over 30 years of work in constructing such vessels, mainly minehunters for the Royal Navy. That pedigree made the UK yard one of the few in the world capable of carrying out such a project. Mirabella V is also the last ship to be built at the company’s Woolston yard with VT having re-located to new shipbuilding facilities in Portsmouth Naval Base after nearly 100 years at Woolston. “”Mirabella V will be among the most famous yachts ever built and underlines VT’s position as a world leader in shipbuilding innovation,”” commented VT Shipbuilding Managing Director Peter McIntosh. The Mirabella V launched within 1% of its weight estimate. “”For a performance cruising yacht, keeping a close eye on the weight of the yacht and her interior is vital so as to ensure we reach our target speeds”” explains Holland. “”Quite apart from hull and interior weights, this pioneering yacht had additional unpredicted weights imposed by MCA requirements in areas such as fireproofing.”” Mirabella V’s finished displacement is estimated at 750 tonnes. Her 150 tonnes lifting keel will be fitted in Portsmouth next week and her 31 tonnes mast and rigging will be transported to Southampton in early December for stepping over the Christmas holiday period. Holland and his team will also be tracking the interior joinery weights and ship’s stores and tenders weights. One of the tenders is a 29 foot Hinckley Picnic Boat. Holland is predicting that Mirabella V will achieve 20 kts. downwind under sail, while under power she will reach speeds of up to 16 kts. Although Mirabella V at 245 ft. (75 m) is a pioneering yacht, Holland and his team are no strangers to these sophisticated calculations. One of the leading superyacht designers in the world, Holland has been to the fore in establishing new frontiers in superyacht design over the last 20 years. This year and the Mirabella V launch mark the 30th anniversary of Holland’s Irish studio. MIRABELLA MAIN DETAILS Length Overall: 75.2m. Waterline length at full load: 61.0m. Beam moulded: 14.82m. Draft (centreboard up) 3.9m. Draft (centreboard down) 10.0m. Full load displacement: 740 tonnes Inner jib plus main sail area: 2210 sq. m. Reacher plus main sail area: 2791 sq. m. Maximum propulsion power: 2 x 788kW at 2188 rpm Maximum continuous speed: 16 knots Electrical generators (main): 2 x 200kW Emergency generator: 1 x 80 kw

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