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Composites Industry News

News for 2004


Avecia to sell its Additives business to The Lubrizol Corporation

8th January 2004 0 comments

Avecia has agreed to sell its specialty Additives business to The Lubrizol Corporation for an undisclosed sum. The Additives business has annual sales of approximately £30 million. The business’ principle manufacturing asset at Huddersfield, UK is included in the sale. Other manufacturing facilities at Grangemouth, Scotland will continue to be operated by Avecia under a long term supply agreement. Approximately 110 employees will transfer to Lubrizol upon completion of the sale, including commercial staff in Europe, Asia and North America. Avecia CEO, Jeremy Scudamore said: “I am very pleased that we have reached agreement with Lubrizol for the sale of the Additives business. Lubrizol is a recognised leader in specialty additives for transport and industrial applications with a strong technology base. The acquisition of Avecia’s Additives business will complement and strengthen their position in specialty additives for coatings and inks and provide excellent opportunities for future growth in the business”. Mr Scudamore added: “The sale of the Additives business is consistent with Avecia’s strategy of seeking opportunities that add value for Avecia investors. Net proceeds from the sale will largely be used to repay Avecia’s bank debt.

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Roll out of the WilliamsF1 BMW FW26

8th January 2004 0 comments

Following the recent official unveiling of the new WilliamsF1 BMW FW26 in Valencia, Spain, the 2004 challenger has taken to the track for the very first time. Both BMW WilliamsF1 Team drivers expressed enthusiasm for the 2004 season as they unveiled their new challenger. “I have already tested some of the new elements of the FW26,“ commented Ralf Schumacher, “Individually, they have all been a real step forward, whether the new engine, the new gearbox, or all the other smaller, but none the less significant, components. I am therefore really fascinated to see how the package comes together, and it would be fair to say that my expectations are very high.” Juan Pablo Montoya added: “I hope the car will be quick from the off, but we now have the benefit of a clear two month test programme in Spain before the season actually starts.” The first few laps of the Valencia circuit marked the start of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team’s official challenge for the 2004 Formula One World Championship titles. At 14:40, Juan Pablo headed out of the pits in the new WilliamsF1 BMW FW26 and completed one installation lap. After the BMW WilliamsF1 Team performed a function check, the Colombian returned to the track and completed a further three laps before heading back to the pits, only to return out onto the track a few minutes later to continue the shake down. He recorded 14 laps altogether on the 4.005 kilometre circuit, before handing over the car to his team-mate Ralf Schumacher. The German completed a total of three laps. With the inaugural laps completed, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team will head to Jerez to commence their two month, pre-season testing schedule on Wednesday.

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Diab Wins Major Order For Skjold Fast Patrol Boats

8th January 2004 0 comments

Following its extensive involvement in the prototype Skjold fast patrol boat, DIAB has been awarded a contract by Umoe Mandal to supply sandwich core materials and core bonding adhesives for the production vessels that are destined for service with the Royal Norwegian Navy. In addition DIAB will be supplying core materials for other projects undertaken by the Umoe Mandal yard. The Skjold represents the first of a new breed of fast patrol boats. It utilises the latest developments in ‘stealth ’ and SES technology. As a result it is able to travel at high speeds (55 knots)even in high sea states while offering a very low electro-magnetic signature (EMS) and a stable weapons platform. Each Skjold will be 47 metres long, have a beam of 13.5 metres and a displacement of 270 tonnes, so are capable of operating in very shallow waters. DIAB core materials will be used for all the structural elements (hull, deck, superstructure, bulkheads etc.)in order to provide lightweight/high strength performance and a low EMS. In addition to their performance benefits, Umoe Mandal maintain that sandwich composites simplify the construction process and the subsequent fitting-out. Infusion manufacturing techniques will be used for a significant amount of the construction. Extensive use of both local and global finite element modelling techniques were used to develop the sandwich laminates and these findings were confirmed by a structural testing programme carried out by Umoe Mandal and subsequent sea trials of the prototype vessel.

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Ted Eveleth named CEO of Cyclics

8th January 2004 0 comments

The Cyclics Corporation announced changes in management responsibility and the addition of a sales director for the Americas. Ted Eveleth will serve as President and CEO, charting the company’s strategic direction while maintaining his duties in global operations and finance. Former CEO, John Ciovacco will lead the global marketing effort and serve as Chairman of Cyclics’ Board of Directors. Both are part of the five member team that purchased 48 patents from GE Plastics to found Cyclics in 1999. Cyclics has also hired Jim Mihalich as Sales Director, Americas. Jim is responsible for leading the CBT resin sales effort in both North and South America.

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Acura HSC High-Performance Sports Concept

8th January 2004 0 comments

Acura’s 300-plus horsepower HSC (High-Performance Sports Concept) makes its domestic debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The HSC is a design study combining the ultimate in supercar performance with the interior comfort and handling ease of a daily driver. It features a lightweight body, a compact yet powerful engine and a racing-inspired interior. The High-Performance Sports Concept body is composed of carbon fiber panels over an all-aluminum unit body frame. Short overhangs and a 104.7-inch wheelbase maximize handling and agility. The HSC features a lightweight 3.5-liter V-6 engine located midship for optimum balance and superior handling. Shifting is accomplished through a unique dial shifter located on the center console or an F-1 style paddle shifter located on the steering wheel. The HSC features a 4-wheel double wishbone suspension with six-piston caliper Brembo disc brakes on each wheel. Five-spoke forged aluminum alloy racing wheels are shod with 245/35ZR19 tires in front and 295/30ZR20 tires in the rear.

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Alcore Brigantine Products aboard Queen Mary 2

8th January 2004 0 comments

Queen Elizabeth II officially christened the state-of-the-art Cunard Line’s Queen Mary II in a ceremony yesterday. The new QM2 is 342 meters (1,138 feet) long and 71 meters (238 feet) high – as tall as a 21-story building. QM2 was built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, the birthplace of such famous liners as Normandie, France and Ile de France. At 150,000 tons, QM2 is the biggest passenger vessel the world has ever seen and is praised as a return to the golden age of transatlantic voyages, a bygone era. While this 2,620-passenger ocean liner evokes a feeling of grandeur, it also projects a progressive style with contemporary amenities and technological innovations. This includes aluminum honeycomb materials from Alcore Brigantine – part of the M.C. Gill Group of Companies. Alcore Brigantine has participated in the construction by producing about 900 partition walls for deluxe cabins balconies. These are composed of a fixed wall and a door constructed of CGH-ALPHEX Honeycomb. This commercial-grade aluminum honeycomb is ideal for a wide variety of industrial applications, as well as lightweight and energy-absorbing structures for transportation. Alcore Brigantine conducted all design, qualification, construction and finishing work in their facility, located in Anglet, France. This included honeycomb and sandwich panels processing, and completion of edge profiles, door locks and hinges, stainless steel equipment and final painting.

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PlastiComp and GaMra Develop Pushtrusion Process

8th January 2004 0 comments

PlastiComp and GaMra Composites have announced a business alliance to develop profile extrusions based on the patented Pushtrusion Direct In-Line thermoplastics compounding process. PlastiComp is the exclusive global sales and marketing company for Pushtrusion technology. GaMra, a profile extrusion company, is focusing on the development of new applications and technologies based on thermoplastics composite materials. Through their application development alliance, PlastiComp will supply Pushtrusion technology and know-how, while GaMra will contribute extrusion manufacturing expertise, and market access to the extruded profile markets. In forming the alliance, Steve Bowen, president of PlastiComp, and Greg Mitsch and Mike May, principals of GaMra, renew old acquaintances. Before striking out on their own with GaMra, Mitsch and May purchased thermoplastics materials from Bowen’s former employer, Polymer Composites, Inc. “Greg and Mike know the strengths and weaknesses of reinforced thermoplastics, how to process them, as well as potential markets. They share a vision of what can be achieved with this technology,” said Bowen. “We have always believed there is significant opportunity for reinforced thermoplastics in profile extrusion. We formed GaMra a little over three years ago to focus on new materials and technologies like these. This is just what we need to step ahead of the market,” said Mitsch. “Pushtrusion should also allow the use of more amorphous resins, such as PVC,” explained PlastiComp’s Bowen. “In the past, it was difficult to wet out fiber with PVC, since the material can degrade in the traditional compounding process. With Pushtrusion, the polymer is melted and pushed through the process very quickly.” The Pushtrusion process pulls glass fibers from a supply creel, combines the reinforcing fibers with the molten polymer under high pressure and pushes the compound through a patented strand cutter, and then on to the injection, or extrusion, screw in one continuous process. The polymer is maintained in the melt-phase throughout the process, eliminating material degradation and reducing wear on screws and barrels from re-melting pellets. GaMra President Mitsch is impressed with the advantages that direct in-line compounding can bring to profile extrusion. “The Pushtrusion process is exactly what’s needed to bring the cost of reinforced thermoplastics in line with more traditional materials,” said Mitsch. “This technology has the opportunity to bring prices down in line with rigid PVC,” he continued. GaMra Vice President May adds that the increased structural properties are also a plus. “With 50 percent glass loading, we should see flexural modulus numbers about three times that of PVC, and 2 times the tensile strength. The CTE is less than 1 X 10-5 and with some resins the heat deflection temperatures will more than double,” May said. “We think there are several markets with an immediate need for these types of cost/performance products, including construction, transportation, fluid handling and many more,” said Mitsch. “This technology could also be utilized to increase stiffness and other properties of some of the wood-filled polymers being marketed today at a very low cost. We all agree that growth of the market for these types of materials benefits all the participants, and we’re open to ways this can be best accomplished.” “This is growth of plastics in the marketplace, rather than stealing share from someone else,” noted Bowen. “It’s just starting to get fun,” he concluded.

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Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer Unveiled

8th January 2004 0 comments

In the California high desert Virgin Atlantic and Scaled Composites yesterday unveiled the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer – a 114-foot wingspan jet in which Steve Fossett aims to become the first solo pilot to fly non-stop around the world later this year. The pioneering aircraft, claimed to be the world’s most efficient jet plane, has been designed and built by Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites. The unveiling was the latest project milestone, following four years of design and construction and marking the beginning of an exciting final phase of development and flight-testing. “”It is fantastic to see this unique experimental aircraft in all its glory,”” said Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic. “”This has been a dream of Steve’s for quite some time, and Virgin Atlantic is proud and delighted to sponsor this historic project.”” “”I am truly impressed, almost beyond words, looking at this amazing and beautiful airplane,”” said Fossett. “”Burt Rutan’s team at Scaled have turned a dream into engineering reality. And I consider myself enormously fortunate to have as project ‘patron’ my friend and former ballooning partner Sir Richard Branson.”” Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer is a single pilot, single engine turbofan aircraft specifically designed for one mission — a non-stop global circumnavigation. Fuel load, weight and strength are paramount. The main structure is constructed entirely from advanced composite materials and the aircraft can carry more than four times its own weight in fuel — enough to power the specially designed Williams FJ44-3 jet engine for the entire flight. At take off the plane (including fuel and pilot Fossett) will weigh 22,006 lbs. Less than 80 hours and some 23,000 miles later, it will have shed 18,000 lbs. of fuel to land near its dry weight of a little under 4,000 lbs. Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer will fly at altitudes up to 52,000 feet and travel at speeds in excess of 250 knots (287 mph, 463 kph). Careful flight planning, weather routing and navigation should allow the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer to benefit from the high-altitude jet stream, adding speed, conserving fuel and enabling the mission to meet its target time of 80 hours. According to Fossett and Branson, the next steps in the attempt to achieve the first great aviation feat of the 21st century include flight testing by Scaled Composites test pilots, selecting a launch airport with a 12,000-foot runway, fine tuning the route and establishing a mission control site. The flight will take off from a centrally located site in the U.S. in either April or November of 2004, depending on test results and the jet stream season.

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ZCL Composites named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies

16th January 2004 0 comments

ZCL Composites of Edmonton has been recognized among Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. The Company will be honoured at the awards gala, to be held in Toronto on February 9, 2004. Ven Côté, founder and President and CEO of ZCL says, “We believe the strength of the team determines the success of the business. That said, we’re very proud to have one of the strongest teams in Canada! Recognition in the form of this prestigious award is shared with and celebrated by the whole of our organization.”

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World Windows & Doors Demand to Reach US$147 Billion in 2007

16th January 2004 0 comments

Worldwide demand for windows and doors is projected to rise 5.7 percent per year to $147 billion in 2007, with Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Turkey expected to register the strongest market gains. In China — the largest market among industrializing countries and the second largest in the world behind the US — window and door demand will climb at a 9.5 percent annual pace. These and other trends are presented in World Windows & Doors, a new study from The Freedonia Group. Window and door demand will accelerate in Western Europe and Japan, although market gains will be less robust than in developing areas. Advances will be fueled by generally favorable economic conditions and higher income levels, leading to a step-up in building construction activity. The US window and door market will outperform most other industrialized areas through 2007, supported by growth in nonresidential building expenditures and residential repair and improvement spending. Global demand for vinyl, fiberglass and other plastic door products will outpace increases for other product types. Sales of plastic windows will also grow at an above-average rate through 2007. However, wood and metal products will continue to account for a larger share of window and door demand in many areas, and sales of these items will rise along with construction activity. The residential building market dominates world window and door demand, accounting for two-thirds of all sales in 2002. Consumer product demand will be fueled by higher income levels and growth in the number of households — even in regions such as Eastern Europe where total population is declining — supported by an increase in the average size of new homes in the US and elsewhere. However, nonresidential building window and door demand will rise at a faster pace through 2007, benefiting from increased construction spending in developing regions, where industrialization efforts are getting back on track following a period of weakness.

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