NetComposites

Connecting you to the composites industry

Advertisement

Composites Industry News

News for September 2003


JEC Awards Open

4th September 2003 0 comments

The JEC Awards has opened for applications and is open to companies the world over. The Awards will recompense the performance and innovation of composite applications in the following categories: Marine, Aeronautics & Space, Land Transport, Construction, Industry & Energy, and Sports & Leisure. The competition is open to all players involved in the composite industry worldwide. Some 750 candidates in all (from the United States, Germany, France, Brazil, Israel, the United Kingdom, Sweden, China, Japan, Belarus, India, and Australia, among others) have already become involved in the competition. The jury, made up of international experts, selects applications based on a consideration of the technical excellence, the performance of the partnership that has been developed among supplier, customer, and end user, and the potential for creating new market openings, for each composite solution presented. Companies that wish to present their own innovations and know-how should send in their application before November 28, 2003. The application forms may be downloaded from JEC’s Web site

Read more


India Capturing Jute Market from Bangladesh

19th September 2003 0 comments

Bangladesh is fast losing its export market in the jute sector. India, on the other hand, is capturing Bangladesh’s place in this sector, according to Bangladesh jute goods traders. “”Our jute mills have not been getting any protection from our government, whereas the Indian government has highly protective regulations for its jute industry. The Indian Jute Compulsory Use Act facilitates the sales of jute bags in their local market by imposing restrictions on the use of all other packaging materials for grains,”” said Bangladesh Jute Goods Association (BJGA) Chairman Shahedul Islam Helal. The country””s jute goods exporters, already facing a continuous downward trend in business, forecast further fall in the country””s export volume in absence of “”supportive action”” by the government. Many skilled professionals in the jute goods sector have retired, leaving a very few expert hands to man the offices. Shahedul Islam Helal said the total export volume of the association””s 240 members had drastically fallen in the last few years and the jute goods market was being taken over by Indian jute goods and synthetics. Bangladesh has been exporting ‘raw jute’ and ‘jute goods’ since long. Its exports of jute goods include all types of grain-bags, sackings, sugar-bags, cocoa- bags, burlap-bags, burlap-cloths, hessian-cloth, jute-yarn, jute-twine, carpet-backing-cloth (CBC), geo-soil, soil-savers, jute-webbing, jute-braid, jute-handicrafts, jute-handbags, jute-furniture made of jute and plastics. Jute goods are absolutely environmental-friendly and pollution-free products. Before the closure for the Adamjee Jute Mills for becoming a drain on the national exchequer it used to account for around 30 per cent of the total production of the jute mills in Bangladesh. However, four new jute mills have so far been set up in India after the AJM wound up its production. Sources said the production loss after the closure of the Adamjee Jute Mills is now being taken care of by the Indian mills. The AJM had two specialised production lines – geo-jute and jute canvas. “”None of the other mills in Bangladesh has such facilities. BJGA members bemoan that its (Adamjee) machinery were not transferred to other mills before its closure,”” said Helal. The jute sector, as a traditional export sector with hundred per cent retention of export value, needs some supportive measures in the form of special incentives by the government, according to some private jute mill owners. One-third of the earnings from the country””s annual export of jute and jute goods, comes from jute yarn export. In the present context, any disruption because of any improper policy may severely affect this sector, too.Globally, new products made of natural fibre like jute have drawn the attention of all in today””s environment-conscious world. Thus, Jute Reinforced Plastic (JRP) is widely used to pack tea and fruits especially for its excellent “”breathing qualities””, the sources noted while pointing out that JRP can effectively be used for packing garments, cement, fertilisers and other products as well. Geo-jute, the sources further said, has been developed to control erosion of mountain slopes, canal banks etc. It also helps vegetation to grow naturally, they observed while stating that jute has also proved to be a replacement of wood in many cases.Jute goods have been produced in the jute mills by treating raw jute with both mineral oil (hydrocarbon) and vegetable oil (food grade). The array of products now being manufactured from jute are endless. From fine silk, finished fabrics and versatile furnishings to intricately – designed oriental carpets – jute makes them all. However, entrepreneurs involved in the country””s jute industry are unhappy over lack of proper steps in this fiscal””s budget to meet the needs for exploiting the potential of the diversified uses of jute. While the Indian jute industry is becoming more and more profitable due to pro-active policy supports provided by the government, the situation in Bangladesh is completely reverse, they pointed out. The average total production of raw jute in Bangladesh is around 900,000 tonnes per year with a total estimated value of Tk 7.0 billion (700 crore). About five million farmers are directly engaged in jute cultivation. Giving a comparative situation, the concerned circle claimed, 67 out of 73 private jute mills in India are profitable while in Bangladesh not more than five mills are running on profit. The Indian mills sell 80 per cent of their production in their domestic market following a strong government support, but 80 per cent of Bangladesh””s jute industries have to look for the overseas markets for 80 per cent of their products and the remaining 20 per cent can only be sold in the domestic market.

Read more


Scientists Understand Strength of Silk

19th September 2003 0 comments

A Tufts team has figured out how spiders and silkworms spin such strong silk, which could have far-reaching implications for everything from hospital dressings to body armor. In a newly published study, Tufts researchers discovered the mechanism for production of strong silk, providing critical new information about nature’s strongest fiber. “The entire process is controlled by the amount of water, which is so simple,” Tufts’ David Kaplan, a professor of biomedical engineering who led the research team, told Reuters. Spiders and silkworms both produce silk from a gel-like solution of proteins which is spun into silk fibers. Scientists have previously tried to replicate the process using similar protein solutions, but were never able to produce fibers with the same strength as real silk. According to the Tufts team, spiders and silkworms regulate the mixture of water and proteins, controlling the entire process. The discovery helps explain how spiders and silkworms kept the gel-like proteins from solidifying too quickly, resulting in a permanent block in the organism’s spinning system. “Kaplan and Hyoung-Joon, a postdoctoral fellow, copied the process in the lab, creating silk fibres by smearing the gel between sheets of glass,” reported the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The Tufts research could give scientists a new approach to creating artificial silk. “We have identified key aspects to this process that should provide a roadmap for others to optimize artificial spinning of silks as well as in improved production of silks in genetic engineered host systems such as bacteria,” reported the Associated Press. Kaplan says the discovery could have far reaching implications. “The finding could lead to the development of processing methods resulting in new high-strength and high performance materials,” Kaplan, who chairs Tufts biomedical engineering department, told London’s Guardian newspaper. From clothing to military applications, artificial silk could be used to improve a wide range of products. Strong and flexible, silk can offer advantages over existing materials like aramid and nylon.

Read more


SP Yachts Battle It Out In The Rolex Fastnet

19th September 2003 0 comments

Neville Crichton’s 90-foot maxi, Alfa Romeo, engineered and constructed with SP’s composite materials, took line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race. However, it was a close call as Zephyrus V, owned by Robert McNeil and also made with SP’s help, finished only ten minutes behind, managing to give Crichton a run for his money. The Fastnet is one of the world’s premier yachting races and attracts experienced sailors participating in various classes including IRC, IRM, Open 60, Multihulls and a double-handed division. Competitors start from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes and make the famous passage towards the Scilly Isles, onto Ireland and around the Fastnet Rock. The race finishes 608 nautical miles later at Plymouth. Alfa Romeo and Zephyrus V have almost identical composite structures. Both are made with SP’s SE84 prepreg and a combination of Core-Cell foam and Nomex honeycomb cores. SP’s Ampreg 22 laminating resin was used for all secondary laminating and Spabond adhesives were applied in all assembly operations. SP’s structural engineering team also worked with designers Reichel/Pugh on both yachts and a significant weight saving and performance gain was achieved through SP’s use of Finite Element Analysis (FEA). Alfa Romeo has enjoyed a very successful sailing career to date including a record-breaking win in the Sydney-Hobart Race and the Zegna Trophy in Portofino earlier this year. Zephyrus V has also proved her worth on the international racing scene and achieved line honours in the Isla Navdad Race from California to Mexico and the Pacific Cup in 2002. Nokia, Charles Dunstone’s 76-foot Maxi, won on handicap and came top of the Super Zero Class, six hours ahead of corrected time. SP also provided all materials and composite engineering.

Read more


AFRL Will Host Out-of-Autoclave Prepreg Workshop

19th September 2003 0 comments

Dr. Mark Tudela, AFRL Contract Manager on the Advanced Composites Group (ACG) Out-of-Autoclave Prepregs contract, has set up a technology workshop at the SAMPE 2003 Technical Conference. The Out-of-Autoclave Curable Prepregs Workshop will be offered at the SAMPE 2003/Dayton Technical Conference that runs September 28 through October 2, 2003 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The workshop was organized by Dr. Tudela in order to allow ACG to provide the most recent technology update on the development of out-of-autoclave curable prepreg material systems. The focus of the workshop will be to review work being done on these material systems and gather feedback from industry participants. Design allowable property data will be a key focus of the workshop. These data are important to meeting acceptance Specifications and meeting FAA requirements for the design of certified composite structures. The workshop is open to all SAMPE 2003/Dayton attendees and audience interactions are encouraged. The workshop will include a representative industry round table for discussing current and future work in these technology areas. Chris Ridgard, Principal Investigator on the AFRL-ACG contract effort, will be the primary presenter. Generic data developed under the contract program will be openly available nationally as shared intellectual property. The SAMPE Technical Conference will also offer eight, 3-4 hour technology tutorials during the course of the technical conference. Dr. Scott Beckwith, SAMPE International Technical Director, notes that “”the SAMPE 2003 Technical Conference Organizing Committee has done an excellent job of selecting both popular technology topics and leading edge tutorial areas for the Dayton conference. Several of the tutorials they selected have continued to be well-attended and satisfy industry educational needs. Other topics are new to SAMPE and offer first-time opportunities to learn what’s pushing the state-of-the-art.”” The tutorials being offered at the SAMPE 2003/Dayton Technical Conference are: – Polymer Nanocomposites: Issues, Advances and Opportunities (NEW) – Composite Materials: Introduction and Overview – Resin Infusion Processing Technology: RTM, VARTM and Other Primary Processes – Selection and Designing With Textile Preforms and Reinforcements for Composites (NEW) – Composite Structures: Processing to Achieve Dimensional Control – High Resolution NDT Methods: Micro- and Nano-Materials Applications (NEW) – Non-Autoclave Composite Fabrication Processes (NEW in May 2003) – Biotechnology: Basic Overview and Applications to Materials Technology (NEW) All presentations include handouts developed by the experienced technical Instructors that are provided to the attendees. Classroom space is limited to these often well-attended educational tutorials.

Read more


LM Glasfiber Industrial Division becomes Covia

19th September 2003 0 comments

LM Glasfiber Industrial Division has changed its name to Covia to strengthen the focus on composite technology for the train manufacturers. In the name Covia ‘Co’ stands for composite and cooperation and ‘via’ stands for transportation and a clear path into the future. “”By spinning off our train activities in Covia, we can sharpen our profile in a growth market and target the railway industry and the railway companies, thus increasing our focus on business development””, says LM Glasfiber CEO Anders D. Christensen. Today Covia A/S commands a share of approximately 30% of the existing market. The company aims to increase this share and to grow over the next few years from about DKK 60 million in 2002. The rail market is expected to see further growth in the years ahead. This trend follows not least from the demographic concentration in all major cities, which, coupled with growing environmental awareness, brings infrastructure in the large urban areas and between closely populated regions into focus.

Read more


PPG Joint Venture Fiberglass Plant Begins Operations

19th September 2003 0 comments

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday celebrated the lighting of the furnace for a fiber glass plant serving the world’s largest integrated printed circuit board manufacturing campus. PFG Fiber Glass (Kunshan) Co. Ltd., a 50-50 joint venture of PPG Industries and Nan Ya Plastics Corp. of Taiwan, began operations at a plant that will supply fiber glass yarns to Nan Ya’s fabric weaving, copper clad laminate and circuit board printing operations next door, all on a 210,000-acre site west of Shanghai. “This new plant symbolizes our commitment to the fiber glass industry and being a global leader,” said Victoria M. Holt, vice president, fiber glass, for PPG Industries. “Being part of a campus that goes from sand to circuit boards also illustrates our commitment to generating solutions for our customers.” Holt said the PFG plant will have a minimum annual capacity of 30,000 metric tons. She added the plant can accommodate additional furnaces, bringing annual capacity in excess of 120,000 metric tons that can serve the electronics yarn and reinforcement industries. “Through its PFG joint venture, PPG is not only well situated to meet Nan Ya’s needs, but the needs of the entire Asian market as well,” said Terry E. Fry, general manager of global electronics and leader for PPG’s fiber glass business in the Asia/Pacific region. “Our investment in Kunshan is a clear signal that PPG is serious about meeting the requirements of the global electronics market.” Another PPG-Nan Ya joint venture, PFG Fiber Glass Corp., has produced fiber glass electronic and specialty materials yarns and reinforcements at Chia Yi, Taiwan, since 1991. “At Nan Ya, growth is based on customer requirements, and the addition of the PFG fiber glass plant to our Kunshan campus ensures we can meet customer standards for quality and assurance,” said C. F. Lee, vice president of Nan Ya. Nan Ya is a member of Formosa Plastics Group, which is the largest publicly owned industrial corporation in Taiwan. Nan Ya manufactures primarily plastics, fiber and electronic materials, with sales of US$3.0 billion in 2002. Formosa Plastics Group’s 2002 sales were US$20.1 billion. Victoria Holt also announced a new organizational structure that she said “underscores PPG’s commitment to the fiber glass industry, and to being a global leader and an innovator of customer solutions.” Terry E. Fry, previously general manager of PPG’s fiber glass unit for electronics and specialty materials, has been appointed general manager of global electronics and leader for the fiber glass business in the Asia/Pacific region. Fry, who is relocating from Pittsburgh to Shanghai, China, has more than 25 years of experience in PPG’s fiber glass business, including five years as general manager of Asia while based in Tokyo. He will be responsible for sales and manufacturing for electronics customers worldwide and fiber glass customers throughout Asia. Bernard J. Ouimette, previously general manager, fiber glass reinforcements, has been appointed general manager of the global general industrial segment and regional leader for the Americas. Sample of end-uses in general industrial include wind energy, automotive, insect screening, aircraft laminates and medical casting products. Ouimette joined PPG in 1985 and held management positions in PPG’s coatings businesses in the United States and Europe before joining the company’s fiber glass business in 2000. Horst R. Koch has been appointed general manager of global thermoplastics and regional leader for Europe. Koch, who will remain in Europe, joined PPG in the company’s acquisition of BASF’s packaging coatings business in 1997, becoming European director of manufacturing and technical services for industrial coatings. In 2000 he was named director of purchasing and distribution in Europe. “Though PPG will continue to set strategy globally, the new regional leadership provides strong local implementation of our business plans,” Holt said. “By situating our leadership at key locations throughout the world, we are now closer to customers and better positioned to meet their needs. This, in turn, will enable us to generate the innovations that our customers demand and expect from a company that has been in this business for more than 50 years.” To assure PPG maintains its tradition of high quality, Holt said Joseph D. Stas, previously director of global operations for PPG’s automotive coatings business, has been appointed director, strategic operations, for fiber glass. Stas, a 25-year PPG employee who has held manufacturing leadership positions at the plant and corporate levels in the United States and Europe, will be responsible for global manufacturing, engineering and supply chain management.

Read more


Auto-Shaped Sculptures to Decorate Streets of Detroit

19th September 2003 0 comments

Cartunes is a huge art project in which artists will decorate as many as 200 car-shaped fiberglass mouldings to be displayed on streets in Detroit and Windsor. Arts and tourism leaders on both sides of the border have been meeting for more than a year and a half to plan the $750,000 project, which spotlights the region’s two best-known exports, cars and music. The goal is to have the sculptures in place by June. But organizers are delaying that decision until October, when a consultant’s report will give them a better sense of the project’s economic viability. If the economy is still flat, they’ll put it off a year. But, said Marilyn Wheaton, director of Detroit’s Cultural Affairs Department, “”It will happen. It’s too good of an idea not to go ahead.”” Similar public art programs have been a boon to downtowns worldwide. Chicago sidewalks were filled with decorated cows in 1999. Vienna, Austria, recently trotted out nearly 100 Lipizzaner stallion sculptures. When Rochester presented its Ewe Revue in 2001, it had sheep with wings, riding bicycles and, in one case, as the body of a motorcycle. The sheep attracted thousands of people to downtown Rochester. The carlike form will be 6 to 7 feet long, have a cartoonish look with bulbous tires and a soaring roof and will be made of fiberglass. Artist Joe DeAngelis of LaSalle, Ontario, whose drawings inspired the model, avoided anything that would suggest a specific auto model. “”It has attitude, though,”” he said. “”The front could be the back and the back the front.”” The idea of a show of caricatured car sculptures has been bandied about in metro Detroit for several years. But in early 2001, Wheaton was approached about a cross-border project by Windsor’s recreation department. With Detroit enmeshed in its tricentennial celebrations, though, the idea was put on hold.

Read more


Turning Cellulose Waste Into Nanofibre

22nd September 2003 0 comments

It may soon be possible to produce a low cost, high-value, high-strength fiber from a biodegradable and renewable waste product for air filtration, water filtration and agricultural nanotechnology, report polymer scientists at Cornell University. The achievement is the result of using the recently perfected technique of electrospinning to spin nanofibers from cellulose. “”Cellulose is the most abundant renewable resource polymer on earth. It forms the structure of all plants,”” says Margaret Frey, an assistant professor of textiles and apparel at Cornell. “”Although researchers have predicted that fibers with strength approaching Kevlar could be made from this fiber, no one has yet achieved this. We have developed some new solvents for cellulose, which have allowed us to produce fibers using the technique known as electrospinning.”” Frey is collaborating on the research with Yong Joo, an assistant professor, and Choo-won Kim, a graduate student, both in chemical engineering at Cornell. Frey reports on the development Sept. 9 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New York City. The technique of electrospinning cellulose on the nanoscale was successfully used for the first time a few months ago. It involves dissolving cellulose in a solvent, squeezing the liquid polymer solution through a tiny pinhole and applying a high voltage to the pinhole. (Nanoscale refers to measurements often at the molecular level; a nanometer is one billionth of a meter, or three times the diameter of a silicon atom.) “”The technique relies on electrical rather than mechanical forces to form fibers. Thus, special properties are required of polymer solutions for electrospinning, including the ability to carry electrical charges,”” says Frey. The charge pulls the polymer solution through the air into a tiny fiber, which is collected on an electrical ground, explains Frey. “”The fiber produced is less than 100 nanometers in diameter, which is 1,000 times smaller than in conventional spinning,”” she says. The new technique is now possible because of a new group of solvents that can dissolve cellulose, Frey says. The Cornell researchers currently are using experimental solvents to find one that will produce fibers with superior properties. Whenever cotton is converted to fabric and garments, fiber (cellulose) is lost to scrap or waste. At present it is largely discarded or used for low-value products, such as cotton balls, yarns and cotton batting. “”Producing a high-performance material from reclaimed cellulose material will increase motivation to recycle these materials at all phases of textile production and remove them from the waste stream,”” notes Frey. She says that electrospinning typically produces nonwoven mats of nanofibers, which could provide nanoscale pores for industrial filters. “”Producing ultra-small diameter fibers from cellulose could have a wide variety of applications that would exploit the enormous surface area of nonwoven mats of nanofibers and the possibility of controlling the molecular orientation and crystalline structures of nanoscale fibers,”” says Frey. If successful, possible applications might include air filtration, protective clothing, agricultural nanotechnology and biodegradable nanocomposites. “”Another application we foresee is using the biodegradable electrospun cellulose mats to absorb fertilizers, pesticides and other materials. These materials would then release the materials at a desired time and location, allowing targeted application,”” says Joo. While Frey’s group prepared the novel solvents for cellulose, Joo’s group conducted the electrospinning studies. Frey notes that the United States produces 20 million 480-pound bales of fiber a year; world annual production is 98 million bales. At every step in the process of converting harvested cotton to fabric and garments, some fiber is lost to scrap or waste, Frey says. In opening and cleaning, for example, 4 to 8 percent of the fiber is lost; up to 1 percent is lost during drawing and roving; and up to 20 percent during combing and yarn production.

Read more


Treetop Explorer Rises into Eden Sky

22nd September 2003 0 comments

A revolutionary flying robot – which could ultimately unlock the biological secrets of the rainforest canopies – was launched at Cornwall’s Eden Project on Saturday. The graceful machine, which resembles three silver Zeppelins welded together, received a round of applause from the public yesterday as it slowly rose from the floor of Eden’s Humid Tropics biome and above its lush flora. Flybot, as the machine is known, has taken two years to develop and is the brain child of film cameraman Tim Macmillan who has high hopes for his invention both at Eden and in rainforests around the world. “”The tree canopy is a new frontier,”” Mr Macmillan said yesterday. “”So the idea was to have a robot that could go up and look at the tops of the trees. Something which would work in Eden which is also a perfect test bed for building a system which will work in the humid tropics. In a year’s time I’m hoping that we’ll have a really bomb proof system so that I can go to the humid tropics and film the bugs in the trees.”” The radio controlled, helium-filled “”flybot”” has a lightweight carbon-fibre frame and is guided by three propellers. The keel also carries a two-metre probe, at the end of which is a video camera. Flybot will give the horticultural and science teams a unique perspective of life in Eden’s own growing rainforest canopy. But the invention also has exciting potential for exploring rainforests around the globe and help scientists conduct important research in the tree canopies. If flybot is successful she will be the prototype for a similar robot to be manufactured for use in the wild. “”Flybot’s job is to draw our eyes upwards and to teach us that much of the world’s biological richness lies in tree canopies in the tropics and has been neglected and unprotected for far too long,”” Eden Foundation director Dr Tony Kendle said.

Read more


[ Page 1 of 3 ]

Advertisement

Upcoming Events

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Follow us
Subscribe to our email newsletter

Subscribe to receive our weekly round-up of all the industry's latest news, jobs, events and more!

We'll always keep your personal details secure and will never share them with third parties for marketing purposes. You can unsubscribe at any time. For further details on how we may use your data, please visit our Privacy Policy.