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Composites Industry News

News for July 2003


Hexcel and API Sign Resin Technology Agreement

3rd July 2003 0 comments

Hexcel and Applied Poleramic (API) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding related to the licensing of technology for Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Moulding (VaRTM). VARTM (vacuum assisted resin transfer molding) is a liquid molding process, where low viscosity resins are injected into a dry reinforcement and vacuum is applied to help draw the resin into the fabric. The process has advantages over conventional RTM because it eliminates the costs associated with matched-metal molds. VARTM can be used to manufacture large components using low injection pressures and can offer void free parts with tight controls on fibre volumes, surface finish and dimensional reproducibility. Under the terms of the agreement, Hexcel will manufacture and qualify VaRTM resins developed by A.P.I., which the two companies will market as a package with Hexcel¹s range of reinforcement fabrics for composites. The license covers a VaRTM materials package that has already been down selected for C-17 work at Boeing. The companies will work in partnership on other programs in this area. “I am delighted that we have signed this licensing agreement with A.P.I.,” said Dave Berges, Hexcel’s Chairman, CEO and President. “Our partnership makes sound strategic sense, as there are close synergies between our two companies. Hexcel already manufactures a range of aerospace qualified resins for direct process applications and is the world leader in reinforcements for composites.” “This alliance should accelerate the use of VaRTM technology globally. It follows Applied Poleramic, Inc.’s strategy of working closely with end users to formulate unique resin systems and license them when appropriate,” commented Rich Moulton, President of A.P.I.

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Brookhouse Composites becomes an Approved Airbus Repair Station

3rd July 2003 0 comments

Brookhouse Composites has now been approved by Airbus Spares Support and Services to carry out repairs on Airbus composite components. Airbus Spares Support and Services, based in Hamburg, manages Airbus composite components, which need to be repaired, from Airbus operators throughout the world. If requested, the operator is provided with a replacement part, while the damaged components are sent out to Airbus-approved maintenance organizations who carry out the necessary repair work to the applicable Airbus standards. Brookhouse Composites Ltd offers a dedicated composites repair facility at its Darwen site and is already approved to carry out repair and maintenance of aircraft components manufactured from composite materials for all European Airlines under JAR-145. It has enjoyed approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK since 1995 and was the first composite structures manufacturing company to gain approval for the manufacture of aircraft components which are accepted in all of the 37 countries, which constitute the Joint Aviation Authorities.

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SAMPE 2003 Consistent With Wright Brothers 100 Year Anniversary

3rd July 2003 0 comments

The 100-year anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight, and the growth of technology that evolved so rapidly over those next 100 years, is evident in the technology program developed for SAMPE’s 35th International SAMPE Technical Conference being held in Dayton, OH. The conference, often called the SAMPE 2003/Dayton event, is being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dayton, OH near one of the recognized centers for US advanced materials and processing (M&P) technology, the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB. The technical program, and corresponding exhibits, have been organized by a strong committee of technologists that typically have lead many of the advances in M&P that reflect current use in today’s materials applications. Over 170 abstracts for technical papers have been submitted for the program running between September 28 and October 2, 2003. Tia Benson Tolle (AF Research Laboratory) and Dr. Allan Crasto (University of Dayton Research Institute), the Co-Technical Program Chairmen have indicated the technical papers selected for the 35th ISTC cover a number of leading-edge M&P areas such as nanotechnology, novel materials and processes, high temperature polymer matrix composites advances, advanced manufacturing technologies, M&P for space applications, and numerous other technology advances being pursued for market expansions. The Dayton Technical Conference also reflects upon both “”lessons-learned”” from previous technologies and views into the future with a look at “”technical hurdles”” for future advances. The committee has established several key panels primarily for the purpose of presenting “”Lessons Learned in M&P Applications”” early in the week, followed by a look at understanding “”Today’s Technical Hurdles”” and “”Materials Education and Workforce Issues for Today and the Future””. The Keynote Address, “”A Materially Different World”” will be presented by Gen. (ret) George K. Muellner, Senior VP, Boeing Air Force Systems Integrated Defense Systems. SAMPE will be offering eight educational tutorials, several of which are typically offered because they have been widely attended in past conferences. However, several new tutorials are being offered at the Dayton conference: – Polymer Nanocomposites: Issues, Advances and Opportunities – High Resolution NDT Methods: Micro- and Nano-Materials Applications – Biotechnology: Basic Overview and Applications to Materials Technology – Non-Autoclave Composite Fabrication Processes (new at SAMPE 2003/Long Beach) Exhibits (tabletops and booths) will be a key attraction in Dayton as evidenced by the fact that almost all of the 70 spots have been taken according to Rosemary Loggia, SAMPE Exhibits Manager. In recent years the exhibits at SAMPE’s Fall Technical Conferences have increased noticeably in size and attendance. And, of course, with the Wright Brothers having invented powered flight in their early days in Dayton, the 35th ISTC offers several opportunities to learn about the Wright replica flyer if you are one of several conference attendees selected from the Registration drawings.

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Owens Supports New Direct Long Fiber Thermoplastics Technology

3rd July 2003 0 comments

Owens Corning is supporting Woodshed Technologies in an innovative compounding process that can lower costs and, increase performance for long fiber moldings, through technical expertise and as the exclusive supplier of glass fiber rovings to the process. The Woodshed direct compounding process combines continuous fiber and polymer through a patented pushtrusion process. Woodshed’s Direct Long Fiber Thermoplastics (D-LFT) compounding process integrates the injection molding process, mixing, and molding raw material formulation ingredients in a single operation. This innovative process brings many benefits including lower costs for long fiber moldings, increased performance, and eliminates the need for pre-compounded pellets. Due to the many benefits of this innovation, it is expected that D-LFT will expand the overall use of these products in the Composite Industry. “We are excited about the Woodshed technology and the power it has to open up new opportunities for composites,” said Gary Nieman, vice president and general manager for Single End Rovings/Continuous Filament Mat. “Owens Corning is convinced that this process will take long fiber reinforced thermoplastics to the next level of higher performance and more cost effective production.” He added that long glass fiber reinforced thermoplastics is a growing and important aspect of the composites market and that Direct In Line Compounding is a natural progression for the industry with the potential to be a major segment in the marketplace. Ron Hawley, owner of Woodshed Technologies, stated, “We are very excited about our committed support from Owens Corning. The long fiber market has grown by 30% per year for the last five years and is projected to continue to grow at this rate for the next five years.”

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SAMPE Announces 2003-2004 Officers

3rd July 2003 0 comments

Clark W. Johnson will be the SAMPE International President for the fiscal year 2003-2004. His primary areas of focus will be positioning the society for growth and to make the exhibitions and conferences more exciting and inviting for the exhibitors and conference attendees. At Boeing, Johnson is currently a System Engineering Project Manager in the National Security Program organization in the Satellite Systems Division in El Segundo, California. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Grambling State University, a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Denver, and a master’s degree in business administration from Pepperdine University. He also completed the Executive Management Course at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business. The complete 2003-2004 International Executive Cabinet will comprise: – Clark Johnson, President (Project Manager, Boeing Satellite Systems) – Anthony Falcone, Executive Vice President (Associative Technical Fellow, Boeing Company) – Tia Benson Tolle, Senior Vice President (Branch Chief, Structural Materials Branch, Non-Metallic Materials Division, US Air Force Research Laboratory, WPAFB) – Ray Miller, Vice President (Technical Sales, Northern Fiber Glass Sales) – Linda Clements, Secretary (President, C&C Technologies) – Vincent Bailey, Treasurer (Director, National Aerospace Supply Company) – Tom Haulik, Past President (Business Manager, Cytec Carbon Fibers) – Bob Griffiths, Vice President-Europe (President, ERG Ltd.) – Toshio Tanimoto, Vice President-Pacific Rim (Professor, Shonan Institute of Technology and Materials)

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AOC Opens Advanced Gel Coat Facilities

3rd July 2003 0 comments

In a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 26 attended by customers and other guests, AOC launched the their advanced facilities for the development and production of gel coats for composites and cast polymers. The new world-class gel coat center is in the research and manufacturing complex at AOC’s global headquarters in Collierville, Tennessee. Research and development is supported by the most advanced scientific and analytical tools. Manufacturing is with the world’s most automated, state-of-art equipment and controls to provide the highest levels of quality and consistency. “The future of composite and cast polymer manufacturers is being challenged by new environmental standards and intense competition from other materials,” says Randy Weghorst, President and CEO of AOC. “These new facilities demonstrate AOC’s commitment to accept the challenge on behalf of our customers by offering the gel coats of the future today.” The new gel coat capacity in Collierville improves AOC’s ability to serve customers in North America by providing a manufacturing resource between existing AOC gel coat facilities in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and Mexico City, Mexico. Marine gel coats from AOC are marketed under the “Hydropel” name, and non-marine gel coats are marketed as “Vibrin” products. AOC’s gel coat business is under the direction of Jeff Dommeyer, Business Manager – Colorants/Non-Reinforced Open Mold. Dommeyer says the new gel coat facility has capabilities to produce high performance, high quality products for all markets – including the newest gel coats needed for low-HAP (hazardous air pollutant) requirements. Low-HAP gel coats are for new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission standards that some manufacturers must comply with as early as August 2004. “Marine resin customers use Hydropel gel coats to achieve superior system compatibility,” Dommeyer says. “Cast polymer manufacturers benefit from Vibrin gel coats with precise color and high clarity. And customers who choose AOC’s low-HAP gel coats are turning to the pioneer in workable low-HAP materials who has led the evolution of the technology ever since.” Dommeyer points out how AOC’s commitment to the customer’s success includes much more than a shipment of product. “We back our innovative world-class technologies with world-class technical support,” he states. “Our technical service group is staffed by individuals with high-level ‘hands-on’ experience in gel coat materials and equipment. Our people put the finishing touch on AOC’s complete package for solving problems and improving customer quality and productivity.”

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Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Company Acquire Ucar Composites

3rd July 2003 0 comments

Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Company, a private capital firm, has acquired UCAR Composites from GrafTech International Ltd. The acquisition is the fourth for the HKW sponsored private equity fund, HKW Capital Partners II, L.P. The acquired business will operate as Coast Composites, Inc. The management team, led by President Jerry Anthony, has developed innovative tooling solutions for manufacturers of both commercial and military aircrafts.

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Helios Solar-Powered Aircraft Crashes

3rd July 2003 0 comments

The prototype solar-powered aircraft, Helios, which has set world altitude records, crashed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai during a test flight on Friday. The crash of the unmanned aircraft caused no injuries or damage on the ground. NASA said the cause of the crash that destroyed the aircraft had not yet been determined. Made of carbon fiber and graphite, Helios was a prototype of an aircraft scientists plan to use as a “”flying satellite,”” capable of remaining aloft for months at a time and flying anywhere a mission requires. Designed to reach altitudes of up to 100,000 feet (30,000 metres) on one-day missions and 65,000 feet on longer missions, Helios was one of several unmanned aircraft funded by NASA. It set a world record for altitude for a winged aircraft in August 2001, soaring to 96,863 feet on a flight from Kauai. The propeller aircraft took off from a US Navy base in Kauai at 10:06 am local time Friday and was in flight for 29 minutes before the crash. Helios, which cost some 15 million dollars, was gearing up for a two-day flight in July. NASA, manufacturer AeroVironment and the US Navy are forming an accident investigation team to determine the cause of the crash.

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World's First Underwater Post Office

3rd July 2003 0 comments

Vanuatu has unveiled what it claims to be the world’s first underwater post office providing jobs for four dive-accredited postal workers operating in shifts. You buy special waterproof postcards available from shops on terra firm, then you scuba dive three metres down to have your postcards embossed with a waterproof stamp, specially created by Vanuatu Post to celebrate the 83-island archipelago’s status as a marine paradise. Vanuatu Tourism described the fibreglass post office as being surrounded by beds of coral and shoals of multicoloured fish in a marine sanctuary off Hideaway Island on the oustkirts of Port Vila. It is all aimed at drawing attention to the diversity of Vanuatu’s underwater world, and easily accessible dive sites.

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Alcan Completes $35 Million Acquisition of Baltek

3rd July 2003 0 comments

Alcan has completed the acquisition of Baltek, which makes specialized lightweight materials for the aerospace and transportation industries. The Montreal-based aluminum company said on Tuesday the $35 million US deal closed following approval of Baltek shareholders. The acquired U.S.-based company will be named Alcan Baltek Corp. and will become part of Alcan’s composite materials division. “”The composites business is a key part of our engineered products group with attractive opportunities in growing markets,”” Alcan president and CEO Travis Engen said in a release. “”The successful completion of this transaction enables Alcan to offer a wide range of composite technologies to our customers and to be a one-stop source for composite solutions.”” Baltek is a leading supplier of balsa-based structural core materials and should fit with Alcan’s existing composites business, which makes structural foam and other products. With the latest acquisition, Alcan’s composites business now includes nine companies with revenues of $410 million US and 2,100 employees in Europe, North and South America and southeast Asia.

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