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News for March 2004


Increased Twintex production capacity in Europe

1st March 2004 0 comments

Saint-Gobain Vetrotex has increased its worldwide production capacity for Twintex in Europe by 50%, starting up a new line for (GFL) Twintex long-fibre pellets on its Chambéry (France) production facilities on the 1st January 2004. This completely automated production line is in the very factory where the basic Twintex roving will be produced starting in April 2004. Twintex production is a new activity for the Chambéry factory. Up to now, all the production (rovings and GFL) came from Saint-Gobain Vetrotex America (Wichita Falls, Texas). This new development ensures extra product availability: from now on both sites, Wichita Falls and Chambéry, offer identical products which are distributed worldwide. The long-fibre injection and continuous thermoplastic reinforcement markets are targeted by this operation. The bushing assemblies which will go into production in Chambéry in April 2004 will supply the granulation production line directly, together with the transformation capacity of the Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics factory in Belgium. According to Vetrotex, these investments in Europe are necessary in order to meet the ever-increasing demand for Twintex applications all over the world.

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Eleven Educational and Training Tutorials at SAMPE 2004

1st March 2004 0 comments

The SAMPE 2004 Organizing Committee has announced this year’s Educational and Tutorial Training Program for the SAMPE 2004 Symposium Prof Dan Adams, SAMPE 2004 Co-Technical Program Chairman, noted that “”SAMPE always provides a number of focused education training opportunities to meet the needs of the international materials and processing (M&P) community. SAMPE’s programs are top-notch and offer companies, laboratories and individuals the opportunity to satisfy the need to stay current in technology and meet training needs often imposed by employers on the workforce””. Consequently, the Organizing Committee, along with SAMPE’s International Technical Director, Dr. Scott Beckwith, has put together an eleven tutorial program to meet the M&P community needs across the board. Dr. Beckwith said “”we were able to arrange for providing 10 tutorials developed by SAMPE as well as a unique tutorial put together by the MIL-HDBK-17 Secretariat on MIL-17, a critical design handbook on composite materials that is widely used throughout our industries. The MIL-17 tutorial is unique and offers a serious look into the latest set of changes to this important design document.”” SAMPE 2004 will also be offering the following educational and training tutorials, with each one providing the attendees with a hardcopy or CD ROM handout covering the course content: – Composite Materials Introduction/Overview – Composite Structures Fabrication & Processing – Nanocomposites Technology – High Resolution NDT Methods – Joining & Adhesives Technology – Non-Autoclave Composite Fabrication Processes – Resin Infusion Processing Technology – Fire Performance of Composites – Test Methods for Composite Materials – Composites Tooling & Elastomeric Bagging SAMPE has long recognized that many companies, laboratories and government agencies require their employees to participate in continuing education in technology areas such as these because the technology expands so rapidly in M&P each year. Since it is SAMPE’s 60th Anniversary, the Exhibit Floor will hold a Welcome Reception and 60th Anniversary Party for attendees and exhibitors on Tuesday, May 18th. The SAMPE Japan Chapter (celebrating its 10th Anniversary) is providing a unique ceremony centered on Japanese traditions. SAMPE Europe (celebrating its 25th Anniversary) and the International SAMPE Society will also be providing some unique celebrations.

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Azdel Invests in a Third Superlite Production Line

1st March 2004 0 comments

To meet growing OEM demand for their Superlite composite, Azdel is expanding its U.S.-based global supply facility in Lynchburg to add 7,000 tons to the company’s current annual capacity and bring its total to more than 25,000 tons. According to James Forden, president, Azdel, Inc., “”This investment reflects the strong interest in Azdel Superlite composite by the automotive industry and the global translatability of the application programs it’s supporting. This step-increase in capacity will help further ensure product supply, as well as confirm our ongoing commitment to serve this sector.”” The composite was recently chosen by Lear Corp. for the automotive interior integration program for the Ford GT performance vehicle. Azdel Superlite was specified for the headliner, bulkhead cover, door panels, pillar trims, center console, and instrument panel. Currently in limited production, the Ford GT performance vehicle is scheduled to go into regular production in spring 2004.

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Cyclics Selects EDL as Construction Firm for German Plant

1st March 2004 0 comments

The Cyclics Corporation has selected EDL Anlagenbau Gesellschaft mbH as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for their plant being built in Schwarzheide, Germany. EDL’s office in Leipzig, Germany is near the Schwarzheide site. A team from Davy Process Technology, Cyclics’ design engineering contractor, has co-located to the EDL offices. The Cyclics resin plant is being constructed on the large BASF manufacturing complex outside of Dresden. The plant is expected to be complete by the end of 2004 and will have an initial annual capacity of 5.5 million pounds (2500 metric tons) with plans to double that in 2006. Beyond utilizing the infrastructure of BASF, Cyclics will benefit from having its key feedstock, PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) resin, produced by BASF on site. Production from the Cyclics plant will support the anticipated global market for their CBT resin. “EDL was selected because of their extensive project experience obtained while working in the eastern regions of Germany, and the strong project management skills of Matthias Haring,” said Dr. Gary Faler, Chief Technology Officer for Cyclics. “We are confident that EDL will deliver the project on schedule and within budget.” Cyclics has already completed the conceptual design to increase the plant’s capacity in 2006 and will begin the basic engineering by the end of February. “The Cyclics plant is a great opportunity for us,” remarked EDL’s project manager Matthias Haring. “We bring together expertise from Cyclics, Davy Process Technology, EDL, and from local contractors to the benefit of the project. From the very beginning the relationships between all involved parties reflect a sincere desire to work together in a collaborative partnership. Cyclics’ decision to select EDL, as the EPC Contractor, means another step in the successful development of EDL. We are proud to be Cyclics’ partner in this demanding project. “

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Glastic Corporation and Plasco in Custom Molding Joint Venture

1st March 2004 0 comments

Glastic Corporation and Productos Plasco S.A. de C.V have recently signed a joint venture agreement to design, manufacture and sell a full range of thermoset and thermoplastic custom molded products with two operations in the United States and one in Mexico. The joint venture will be named Glastic Molding LLC. The initial structure of the joint venture, of which Glastic Corporation will hold 80% and Plasco will hold the balance of 20%, does not include the electrical grade proprietary products business with locations in Cleveland, Ohio and Birmingham, England. In addition, Glastic Corporation has granted Glastic Molding LLC, all the rights to use Glastic Corporation logos and trademarks. Commenting on the joint venture with Glastic Corporation; Jose Octavio Lopez Presa, President of Productos Plasco S.A. de C.V., said: “”This joint venture with Glastic Corporation is a significant milestone for Plasco, signifying our efforts to scale up the value chain, and to strengthen our presence in the global molding market. With commitments from one of our key customers, we expect this expansion to provide us in the near future with a recurring stream of new revenues for Glastic Molding.”” Also commenting on the joint venture; Patrick Greene, President of Glastic Corporation and CIGNET LLC, which is Glastic Corporation’s holding company, stated: “”We are proud to have Plasco as our strategic partner in North America, and we feel that this joint venture will bring mutual benefits for Glastic Molding not only in North America, but also worldwide as we use the synergy of both companies for our global expansion.”” Glastic Molding LLC will have molding operations in Jefferson, Ohio; Salem, Michigan; and now Mexico City, Mexico; with planned expansion in Asia in the near future. “”A major goal for the new company is to ride Glastic’s established presence and strong reputation in the thermoset molding market into expansion more quickly and efficiently, with our long-term strategy involving a facility in China to serve current customers. Through this joint venture, we can add value through our proven track record in the thermoset molding market as well as our strong management and technology competencies,”” said Mark DiGiampietro, Vice President and General Manager of Glastic Corporation, who will also serve in the same capacity at Glastic Molding LLC.

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United Defense Completes Acquisition of Kaiser Compositek

1st March 2004 0 comments

United Defense Industries has completed its acquisition of the assets of Kaiser Compositek for $ 8.5 million to enhance and expand the development of highly advanced weapon systems and combat vehicles for the armed forces. Kaiser Compositek, located in Brea, Calif., is a provider to government and industry sectors with particular emphasis on primary structures fabricated with polymeric composites. Kaiser provides design, analysis, prototyping, and development capabilities and has a manufacturing capability with a broad array of composite processes, including filament winding, resin transfer molding, autoclave molding, compression molding, and surface finishing. KCI revenue for 2003 was in excess of $ 14 million. “”This acquisition expands our ability to meet customer needs in the areas of lighter weight gun and missile launching systems for our naval and ground combat customers,”” said Keith Howe, Vice President and General Manager of United Defense’s Armament Systems Division. “”The addition of KCI products, capabilities, and people to our corporate family strengthens our full range of product offerings and allows us to leap forward in our ongoing research and development of lighter weight components for our current and future combat systems.””

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Nadicorp Bus Unit Expects to Triple 2004 Revenue

1st March 2004 0 comments

Nadicorp Holdings Sdn Bhd’s coach-building arm Badanbas Sdn Bhd, which was revived a year ago, expects to triple its revenue to RM30mil this year with the introduction of superstructure coaches. Nadicorp executive chairman Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh said Badanbas had invested RM1mil since early last year to upgrade and revived its coach fabrication operations in Kajang, which allowed it to double its capacity to 200 units per year. Badanbas, which started operations in 1977 as a pioneer in bus fabrication and building but ceased operations many years back, built 40 superstructure coaches last year, achieving some RM10mil in turnover. The company started last year with a capacity of 100 units annually, sufficient for Nadicorp group, which owns bus operators Park May Bhd and Transnasional Holdings Bhd. “Now our current capacity is sufficient to supply to buyers outside Nadicorp group,” Nadzmi said after the launch of the superstructure coach by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy in Kajang yesterday. Nadzmi said Badanbas was confident of sustaining its business this time around as it had secured long-term orders from Transnasional. Moreover, the company has secured other orders, including from public operators and the Education Ministry. The company expects to increase capacity to produce some 300 buses a year by 2005. Nadzmi said all the 40 buses built last year complied with Australian Design Rules (ADR), which was made possible by a technology collaboration with Australia-based Bus and Coach International. He said Badanbas’ buses were the only buses in the country to pass ADR’s roll-over and crash test. Badanbas’ revolutionary building process includes the use of non-corroding lightweight but tough materials such as single-piece carbon-fibre for the roof and galvanised steel and aluminium for the structure and body. The bus also features a centralised electrical console system for easy inspection and maintenance.

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Genmar to Spin-Off Its VEC Technology Business

1st March 2004 0 comments

Genmar Holdings has spun-off its VEC Technology business into a new stand-alone entity. The newly created company’s official name is VEC Technology, L.L.C. VEC LLC will be owned and operated as a stand-alone company with several strategic investors and partners. Interplastic Corporation became the initial strategic partner and investor with Genmar in VEC LLC; Interplastic Corporation’s Thermoset Resins Division will be the exclusive supplier of resins to VEC LLC and its North American Composites division its distributor of most composite products. All VEC produced products will exclusively and extensively use such materials. Over the next 60 to 90 days, there will be several additional strategic partners and investors who will also become equity holders and strategic suppliers to VEC LLC. Irwin Jacobs, Chairman of Genmar, stated, “Genmar’s development and application of VEC technology for Genmar’s boat manufacturing companies has always been our initial strategic focus. The VEC process for boat building was successfully commercialized with the addition of a new state-of-the-art 100,000 square foot VEC boat manufacturing facility in Little Falls, Minnesota. Our Little Falls VEC plant has successfully built in excess of 20,000 VEC boats without a single structural failure. Additionally, boat manufacturing cost reductions and efficiency improvements continue to be achieved every month. The founders of VEC technology and Genmar as the acquirer and developer have always believed that VEC’s market potential outside of the marine industry would eclipse those of the entire marine industry. “Interplastic, as well as the other strategic partners and investors joining VEC LLC, also share in the same clear vision for VEC technology, a vision which addresses what professional experts have confirmed as an $11 billion potential market for the VEC process,” Jacobs said. “The additional capital infusion associated with this transaction will enable VEC LLC to focus on its huge global business opportunities, as well as enable Genmar to concentrate on its marine business. The new association with, and commitment from, strategic investors like Interplastic will dramatically accelerate the realization of these opportunities. We simply could not have found a better all-around partner to launch VEC into its next exciting generation of business. Interplastic’s experience and product application knowledge has already had several positive impacts for VEC.” Jacobs further stated, “The next generation of VEC, a thermoplastic gel coat replacement called the VEC-Shield finish, will be launched through several of Genmar’s boat companies in late 2004 and 2005. During 2004, Genmar will begin to expand and build new facilities to house the first new VEC-Shield equipment and machinery for building boats. GE Plastics (GE) and Spartech Corporation (Spartech) of St. Louis, Missouri are partners who have participated and continue to assist in developing the VEC-Shield finish. Spartech has designed and ordered the larger equipment necessary to produce the specialized thermoplastic sheet used by Genmar in its VEC-Shield boats. GE will supply their Geloy resin materials for use in the VEC-Shield finish.” Interplastic Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, James D. Wallenfelsz, stated “VEC technology is clearly a proven game changing technology that will in fact dramatically change the composite manufacturing industry. Our company has always been a leader in understanding and participating in the development of emerging technologies affecting our industry. In our opinion, VEC is by far the most significant and advanced process development for the manufacture of large fiberglass parts in decades. “In addition,” Wallenfelsz added, “the VEC process is in keeping with Interplastic’s commitment to develop environmentally friendly products and processes, and the composites industry’s goal of reducing Hazardous Air Pollutants. We are excited to be both a partner of VEC as well as anexclusive strategic supplier of resins and related materials for VEC and its existing and future customers. In a strong endorsement of VEC, in 2002, Christine Todd Whitman, the then Administrator for EPA, awarded VEC Technology the prestigious Clean Air Excellence award in the category of Air Technology, a first ever award to a boat manufacturer by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.” Sam Hughes, President of VEC LLC, added “Our entire VEC LLC organization has worked long and hard to prepare VEC LLC for this day. The technology and innovations that VEC LLC has successfully created and perfected for Genmar’s boat companies is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the opportunities that exist and lie ahead for VEC LLC. The interest by potential customers who have confirmed a need and desire to use our VEC process in their business has never been greater. VEC LLC has already developed a very significant backlog of business for our VEC cells with companies in a variety of industries. At this time, final installation of a VEC cell is being completed for a non-marine industry customer, who will be using the VEC process for the exclusive manufacture of certain bath products for the manufactured housing, modular housing and recreational vehicle industries. Further, there are seven VEC cells that are in the final order agreement phase, as well as three additional VEC cells for Genmar’s boat companies also on order. VEC LLC’s Greenville, Pennsylvania facility has been certified for the International Organization for Standardization’s newest registration – ISO 9001:2000 and more definitive expansion plans will be announced over the next few months, including the hiring of additional engineers to assist us with our backlog of potential business inquiries.”

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Abaris Training Launches Online Course

1st March 2004 0 comments

Abaris Training has launched the first in a series of online courses is now available through their website. The Basics of Composite Repair provides information on how to perform a successful composite repair; including what materials, equipment and skills are required. Abaris Training’s President, Michael J. Hoke said “We are excited to offer an additional training resource for our customers.” Designed to meet the need of those who may not be able to travel to Abaris’ Reno, Nevada or Griffin, Georgia facilities, Abaris uses an interactive online training platform to discuss the complexities of advanced composite technology. “We do not believe online courses take the place of hands-on training. However, it is an excellent forum to begin learning about composites.” said Hoke. Abaris Training, headquartered in Reno, Nevada, has specialized in advanced composite training for over 20 years.

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Innovations at JEC Composites Show 2004

1st March 2004 0 comments

A range of new products and applications are set to be shown at the JEC Composites Show 2004. Flame-retardant profiles from GDP Composites Available for the building industry, these profiles are flame retardant for at least an hour with no release of toxic fumes, allowing people to be evacuated safely during a fire. The GDP Composites stand will present fire door* made in a material based on modified phenolic resin. The material was developed by GDP Composites and can be used to make composite profiles that are flame retardant for at least an hour, with no ignition of gases or release of halogen-based toxic chemicals. In case of fire on public premises, for example, the glass-fibre-based profiles make it possible to continue evacuating the premises safely for at least one hour – and, contrasting with more traditional materials, the profiles maintain their stiffness, preventing the composite structures from collapsing on the people trapped or on firemen. Another new feature at the stand: intricately shaped, co-extruded compression seals that do not require the user to insert them manually. This means greater productivity, a guarantee of quality for the finished product (the continuous seal is already included with the profile), and no release of material (for example, spray sealing compounds such as silicon). The application presented here is a composite gripper profile**. * Patent application filed by S.M.S.L ** Reynaers Aluminium patented concept IVW: innovation as a philosophy Each year the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe arrives at Jec Composites Show with a store of innovative applications, and this year is no exception. The 2004 yield notably includes a hurley and wind-turbine components. This year, visitors to the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe stand will be able to discover three applications. First, a 100%-composite sandwich hurley* with the same dimensions, weight and mechanical properties as a traditional ash-wood hurley. Developed jointly by the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH and Killarney Plastics Ltd., the composite hurley is cheaper than a wooden one. This composite application has bright prospects for the future, given the annual demand of more than 100,000 hurleys and the short supply of natural ash wood. The one-piece hurley made of EPP and PP-GMT resin is easily recycled at the end of its service life. The second new development is an integrated composite rotor hub and shaft for wind turbines. This part eliminates the disadvantages of the cast-iron version, and especially the need for a bolted connection, by combining hub and shaft in one integral composite component. The use of anisotropic composite materials with higher specific strength and stiffness allows the direction-dependent tailoring of material properties. This leads to a significant reduction in the part’s weight and cost, and in the overall cost of the wind turbine. The weight reduction also makes it possible to increase the size of the turbine. The third innovation is a highly rigid but lightweight stiffness enhancement structure for linear guiding systems, used in gantry-based milling or positioning applications. The structure is manufactured via the Preform-RTM process, using an NCF (Non Crimped Fabric) carbon-fibre reinforcement in combination with an epoxy resin system. The anisotropic material properties result in a weight reduction of over 50% compared to a steel construction of similar stiffness. The unit cell approach allows adapting the structure to the desired mechanical requirements by simply increasing the number of elements. An additional advantage is the fact that the length of the structure can be any multiple of the unit cell length (1 m), which adds to the versatility of this approach. An 11-m-long prototype structure will be validated during the summer of 2004. CCM’s smart system for vacuum infusion moulding The Center for Composite Materials, USA, presents a system that automates the vacuum infusion process, allowing repeat and low-cost manufacturing of liquid moulded parts. SMARTMolding is an intelligent vacuum infusion process developed by the University of Delaware’s Center for Advanced Composite Materials. The process improves quality through repeat-manufacturing, reduces the learning curve of untrained personnel, and lowers costs. The system is based on software and hardware components that guide the operator through the material lay-up, infusion, and cure process. This allows intelligent process control, repeat manufacturing and full QA/QC of the process. The software enables automated leak check, resin mixing, and infusion of composite parts. All process variables and sensor information are stored in the QA/QC database. Other software components allow statistical analysis, process-data review and automated recipe definition to add new part definitions into the control system. A production queue, connected plant-wide through an Intranet, enables the supervisor to add/delete parts into/from the process and monitor their progress. Any composite manufacturer using vacuum infusion processing can benefit from this system, as it increases quality and reduces scrap and labour costs through automation. Gear-pump metering from Isojet Equipements A machine that delivers, meters, and mixes the components for application to a substrate? That is just what Isojet Equipements proposes. At Jec Composites Show 2004, Isojet Equipements will present its new HV (DPE HV) gear-pump metering concept for applying synthetic resins. The unit deliver and extrudes paste compounds for metering, all in the same tool. The machine regulates the dispensing rate, meters out, and mixes the components to be to cast or injected onto a substrate. Other advantages of the process are the choice of continuous or sequential dispensing of the final mix and electronic control of the metering ratios. The highly reliable equipment is available at an attractive cost/price ratio and should be of interest in industries where bonding is an issue for plastic parts or structures –aeronautics, automotive, railway, electronics, among others. It should be borne in mind that the technology can also be used for in situ sealing. An RTM piston injection unit for the manufacture of high-strength carbon-epoxy parts will also be displayed on Isojet Equipements’ stand. Glas-Craft, Inc. introduces a new RTM injection system The new computer-controlled RTM injection system exhibited on GlasCraft’s stand controls injection pressure and adjusts catalyst percentage during injection. Spartan 2 PAC is a new computer-controlled RTM injection system developed by Glas-Craft, Inc. The system has several innovative features for RTM and RTM Light manufacturing. For each part, an injection program including the volume of resin and catalyst and the catalyst percentage is entered. The program can then be accessed with the touch of a button. RFID – Radio Frequency Identification tags – are programmed with the information. Spartan PAC scans the information and sets the machine for the injection requirements. Moreover, an automatic system allows the catalyst percentage to gradually increase during the injection sequence for quicker demoulding of the part, resulting in more parts per day. The system, which allows an infinite number of mould presettings through the use of Radio Frequency identification tags, is particularly suitable for the boat-building and automotive industries, where the first applications have already been implemented. Globally approved aircraft repair material At Jec Composites Show 2004, Hunstman Advanced Materials is introducing Epocast® 52 A/B, the first composite repair material to be globally approved by the CACRC (Commercial Aircraft Composite Repair Committee). Epocast® 52 A/B is the first material of its type that can be used for composite repairs across airline fleets that include both Boeing and Airbus aircraft. This low-viscosity epoxy laminating system is designed for the impregnation of carbon and other fabrics. Its good hot/wet strength and excellent resistance to aircraft fluids and moisture make it ideal for the structural repair of composite substrates. Other new developments: Epocast 54 A/B, a flame-retarded laminating system designed for the impregnation of substrates employed in aircraft interiors, and Epocast 1633 A/B, a complementary low-density syntactic material also suitable for the repair of aircraft interior structures. Lonza AG: new resin for high-temperature applications Lonza AG has developed a resin for high-temperature applications where epoxy and polyimide cannot be used. Primaset PT-15 is a multifunctional low-viscosity, high-temperature cyanate ester suitable for pultrusion, filament winding and RTM (Resin Transfer Moulding). With a glass transition temperature over 300°C and excellent processing characteristics (similar to epoxy resins), the product is intended for high-temperature applications where epoxy and polyimide resins cannot be used. Its excellent flame-retardant properties make it particularly suitable for applications where vinylester resins are not applicable. The first application is a muffler for racing motorbikes, and several other applications are being considered in the aeronautical, construction and electrical insulation sectors. Oxeon AB’s braided-tape carbon reinforcement The braiding process developed by Oxeon AB produces a fibre architecture that offers remarkable structural properties. At Jec Composites Show 2004, Swedish company Oxeon will introduce Oxeon TeXtreme™, an innovative carbon reinforcement that is achieved by braiding stabilized unidirectional tapes that are 20-50 mm wide. The resulting fibre architecture combines the structural performance of unidirectional fibres with the handling benefits of a woven textile. Oxeon TeXtreme™ offers improved mechanical properties, lower production costs and improved surface smoothness. The material is currently available in 0,90° orientation and will soon be available in ±45° orientation. The main applications are in the automotive, aeronautics, and boat-building sectors. During the Show, visitors will also be able to discover Oxeon’s new aramid and carbon fabrics with a ±45°orientation. Kevlar/aramid fabrics for rounded shapes Zhediang Jinda New Materials Co. will introduce new Kevlar/aramid fabrics that are more suitable than woven rovings for the manufacture of rounded shapes. These brand-new materials are used as reinforcements in car bumpers, skis and bullet-proof helmets. The fabrics are available with or without bonding yarn, the innovation being the absence of stitching yarn.

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