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Composites Industry News

News for July 2004


Bullet-Proof Cars Designed Using Water and Carbon Fibre

2nd July 2004 0 comments

Norwegian scientists have come up with a smart and cheap way of bullet-proofing cars by lining the vehicles with flat tanks which, when filled with water, provide excellent protection against armed attackers. The problem with conventional armour-plating is that metal is very heavy which increases fuel usage. Researchers at Norway’s Forsvarets Institute have found a way around this by building several large, flat, watertight tanks into the sides of car. Each tank is thin, like a domestic radiator, made from plastic or light metal, and has several energy-absorbing carbon-fibre sheets stacked inside. When the tanks are empty the car is not bullet-proof, but when needed, the tanks are filled with water, transforming the car into a bullet-proof vehicle. The tanks have been tested using high velocity bullets, and according to a leading international science publication, the novel armour design has now been patented.

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New Doghouse Stowage from Brookhouse

2nd July 2004 0 comments

A new doghouse storage box for civil aircraft, which offers increased strength and robustness and lighter weight, is now available from Brookhouse Paxford Ltd, of Huntingdon. The new product was shown or the first time at the recent Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. Doghouse storage boxes are used to create increased stowage capacity, typically for crew items and articles such as oxygen bottles, and are generally fitted in the empty space behind the last row of cabin seats. Historically, they have been manufactured by gluing together phenolic sheets but Brookhouse has now developed a method which allows the outer skin of a box to be moulded from phenolic sheet as one piece, with a honeycomb core. The absence of glued joints greatly increases the strength and robustness and the new design permits savings in weight of up to 20% and increases in stowage capacity of more than 50%. Doghouse boxes can be designed and manufactured to conform with the requirements and specifications of most aircraft.

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Laser-Markable Compound Adds Extra Detail

2nd July 2004 0 comments

When designing a new control unit for its adjustable suspension system, SRAM Corp needed to find specialised materials to make the concept a reality.

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Spartech Corporation Opens New Product Development Centre

2nd July 2004 0 comments

Spartech Corporation formally opened the Company’s new Product Development Centre in Indiana. Spartech invested more than $8 million in the 30,000 square foot facility to complement the technical capabilities of the Company’s more than 5,500 customers and to accelerate the development of its new Alloy Plastics and Product Transformations. It is anticipated that annually as many as 1,500 visitors will come to the Centre to work on process improvement initiatives, new product developments, and Product Transformations. Bradley B. Buechler, Chairman, President and CEO, stated that “”Spartech’s new Product Development Centre has been designed to serve our current and future customers by developing thermoplastic and advanced polymer products that meet the needs of a rapidly growing global marketplace. Our PDC team will work closely with our business partners to (A) provide innovative product and process solutions, (B) accelerate new products to market, (C) optimize product formulations, and (D) complement our customers’ technical capabilities. The Centre will initially consist of two large sheet extrusion lines and a smaller lab line; two profile extrusion lines; a four station rotary and one single station thermoformer; complete lab capabilities with a full range of physical and mechanical testing; and a VEC cell, which represents today’s state-of-the-art closed-mould plastics processing technology, for gel coat/FRP replacement. While the PDC certainly represents a sizable investment for the Company, we believe the payback will be considerable, as more extensive customer product development, new technologies and solutions, and the acceleration of products to market, leads us to increased business and more satisfied customers.”” Mr. Buechler added, “”The Product Development Centre will also further enhance our ability to more rapidly develop new innovative Alloy Plastics. These proprietary products that combine advanced engineered compounds and additives with innovative manufacturing techniques have continued to support and drive Product Transformations, which expands business growth opportunities for both our customers and the entire plastics industry. Finally, the PDC will centralize our knowledge base for new developments, further integrate the R&D efforts between our custom sheet and specialty compound groups, and improve the Company’s production efficiencies by eliminating most of the sample and new product development time previously performed 100% at our production facilities.””

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SAMPE Announces 2004-2005 International Executive Cabinet Officers

2nd July 2004 0 comments

During the SAMPE 2004 Symposium and Exhibition in California, the SAMPE International Executive Cabinet election results were presented and approved for the upcoming year.

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Sordal Receives Innovation Award for Non-flammable Composite Material

2nd July 2004 0 comments

Sordal of Michigan, USA, has received the Innovation of the Year Award from the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) for its ARMAREX non-flammable advanced composite material.

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Elbit Vision Systems Introduce Composite Material Inspection System for Aircraft Industry

2nd July 2004 0 comments

Elbit Vision Systems Ltd has received an initial order from a major European manufacturer of carbon fibre webs that are used in aircraft production, for its newly developed composite material inspection system. The Vision System is designed to increase the reliability of composite materials used in the manufacture of aircrafts, and is the latest addition to EVS’ I-TEX Lite product family. Inspecting composite webs at critical stages of the production process, the Vision system displays the inspection results from each stage on a single monitor. EVS’ new system is developed especially for composite, unidirectional, multiaxial and woven webs, providing a feature-rich, cost effective off-the-shelf solution for the aircraft industry. Mr. Zami Aberman, Chief Executive Officer of EVS said, ““While this is an initial order, we believe that a great deal of potential for further growth exists within the aircraft industry, both through this system and future products that we will bring to market. There is a significant need within the aircraft industry for reliable, advanced inspection tools to ensure both product quality and safety, and we are extremely pleased to enter this segment of the market.” Mr. Aberman continued, “This order, coupled with recent orders for other newly introduced products, further establishes a solid foundation for our new, broader focused objectives of penetrating new markets and providing solutions for such industries as microelectronics and aircraft. We believe that this focus will ensure the continued growth and success of EVS.” Elbit believes that there are significant opportunities for follow-on business from this customer, with potential future sales reaching $3 million.

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Second International Conference on High Performance Structures and Materials

2nd July 2004 0 comments

The Second International Conference on High Performance Structures and Materials took place recently in Portonovo, Province of Ancona in Italy, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT) and the Free University of Brussels.

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Airbus and Alcoa Recognize Partnership on the Airbus A380

2nd July 2004 0 comments

Airbus and Alcoa officials joined together earlier this week at Alcoa’s Davenport Works in Riverdale, IA to acknowledge the contributions Airbus is making to America’s aerospace industry.

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New ACCC Cable Options Provides Compatibility with 85% of the Cable Market

2nd July 2004 0 comments

Composite Technology Corporation (CTC) is to issue its Aluminum Conductor Composite Core (ACCC) cable in a family of the ten most popular market sizes. CTC, a developer of high-performance composite core cables for electric transmission and distribution lines claims to have established a new standard for industry decision-makers evaluating transmission cable technology, through its integration in Power Line Systems’ PLS-CADD line design software. As a result, ACCC cable will now be compatible with over 85% of the cable market. The sizes of cable range from 3/4″” in diameter to over 1-3/4″” in diameter allowing a flow of ampacity from 300 amps to over 3,000 amps per line. The ampacity ratings of the ACCC cables are twice that of conventional steel core cables. In addition to high temperature performance, the ACCC cables also exhibit a reduction in line losses that exceed 20% when compared to traditional cable operating conditions. This savings can play a role in reducing consumer electricity costs. “”The availability of additional cable sizes represents a significant sales opportunity as the exacting requirements of the cable industry can now be met,”” said Benton Wilcoxon, CTC Chairman and CEO. “”PLS software users continue to recognize and benefit from the cost and revenue advantages offered by ACCC cables. Now they will have the additional benefit of having cable available in a wide range of sizes. We are confident that our advanced cable technology, combined with PLS-CADD’s worldwide acceptance among power line design engineers, will be a significant growth opportunity for CTC,”” concluded Wilcoxon. Reported previously in the NetComposites Newsletter, the composite core is minimally affected by high electric loads (temperatures) resulting in substantially less line sag (often 90% less). This increases the utility’s ability to deliver greater capacity using ACCC cables on existing structures and provides an overall increase in energy efficiency. Further, when new towers and lines are required, the PLS-CADD software can be used to demonstrate how utilities using ACCC can significantly reduce the number of support structures, reducing costs dramatically while maintaining safer, more reliable operating systems. CTC has also recently entered into a joint development agreement with FCI USA Inc.’s (FCI) Electrical Power Interconnect Division for manufacture and distribution of electrical hardware and connections for CTC’s proprietary new (ACCC) high performance cable product line.

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