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Composites Industry News

News for 7 May 2004


Sony to Add Carbon Fibre Headphones to ‘Qualia’ Series

7th May 2004 0 comments

Sony is adding to its six existing innovative Qualia products, released in 2003 to include a carbon fibre pair of headphones. The Qualia 010 headphones feature a wide frequency range of 5Hz to 120kHz available for playback. Distributors of the Qualia range also provide a fitting service for customers to match their head size, but because it requires a highly complex process to produce, the monthly output will be just 15 units. The new headphones will be sold by Sony Marketing and orders will be accepted from July 1, priced at $2600. “As consumers become more discriminating in their purchasing decisions, Sony is in a unique position to set itself apart with products that will touch the user like never before,” said Mike Fasulo, senior vice president of Sony Electronics eSolutions Company, which oversees the QUALIA U.S. initiative. “The QUALIA initiative enables us to offer an uncompromised approach to product engineering, design and customer experience.” The 010 headphones are super-light with earpads made of natural sheepskin, and produced using a carbon fibre frame. Sony says it’s the company’s only pair that allows you to truly appreciate high quality super audio CD’s. A company press release describes the project as “an initiative aimed at touching an emotional cord among consumers through products unique in technology, design and functionality.”

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Low Cost Styrene Abatement System Arrives In UK

7th May 2004 0 comments

Terminodour Styrene Abatement System meets new legislation to oxidize styrene. The likelihood of increased European legislation and stricter working practices associated with styrene have led to concern from the UK Composite processing industry regarding the cost of implementing and adhering to impending legislation. The Terminodour Styrene Abatement System was developed in the late nineties in Scandinavia to meet the latest legislation restricting styrene occupational exposure levels and emissions to less than 20ppm. The system uses ionisation technology to oxidise styrene at source with the principal benefits being the systems low cost when compared with other technologies and Terminodour’s ability to improve the working environment for staff. The ionisation modules can be built into existing ventilation system to reduce cost and are ideal for retrofitting. Numerous projects are operational within Scandinavia and are operating at levels below the 20ppm limit that is now a legal requirement there. A detailed case study of a small sports boat manufacturing plant is available from CSO Technik complete with an independent consultants test report on the systems efficiency. According to Colin Froud, Managing Director of CSO Technik the system is ideally suited to both small and large composite manufactures alike. “For smaller businesses the capital and running costs are affordable. For large manufacturers the system costs are far lower than other technologies with considerably less power requirements but in both cases emission levels are minimised and at the same time the working environment is improved”. Current UK legislation regarding occupational exposure of styrene is relatively lax when compared with other countries such as Sweden and France. However future legislation is likely to bring UK legislation in line with tougher levels experienced elsewhere. Current methods of styrene abatement do not treat the air flow air within the working environment and any internal improvement to air quality will depend on a high air change rate and the efficiency of the extraction system. Styrene vapours are classed by the HSE as an irritant to the nose throat and lungs with neurological impacts resulting in drowsiness, headaches and nausea. Although the HSE do not specify a safe level of exposure the current (April 2003) MEL averaged over an 8-hour day for Styrene is 100 parts per million (ppm). The Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL) is 250ppm averaged over a 15 minute exposure period. However there is a legal requirement for users to minimise exposure “as low as reasonably practicable” below the level of the MEL. The general unwritten view is that this should be around 50% of the MEL. These figures far exceed those of Scandinavia where the MEL’s have long been reduced to 20ppm. In the USA the 50ppm MEL was introduced in July 1997 however the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) subsequently adopted a recommended 20ppm MEL. The Terminodour system is claimed to be technically proficient in reducing the maximum exposure limit for styrene too less than 20ppm, providing a healthier working environment for operators.

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Sony to Add Carbon Fibre Headphones to 'Qualia' Series

7th May 2004 0 comments

Sony is adding to its six existing innovative Qualia products, released in 2003 to include a carbon fibre pair of headphones. The Qualia 010 headphones feature a wide frequency range of 5Hz to 120kHz available for playback. Distributors of the Qualia range also provide a fitting service for customers to match their head size, but because it requires a highly complex process to produce, the monthly output will be just 15 units. The new headphones will be sold by Sony Marketing and orders will be accepted from July 1, priced at $2600. “As consumers become more discriminating in their purchasing decisions, Sony is in a unique position to set itself apart with products that will touch the user like never before,”” said Mike Fasulo, senior vice president of Sony Electronics eSolutions Company, which oversees the QUALIA U.S. initiative. “”The QUALIA initiative enables us to offer an uncompromised approach to product engineering, design and customer experience.”” The 010 headphones are super-light with earpads made of natural sheepskin, and produced using a carbon fibre frame. Sony says it’s the company’s only pair that allows you to truly appreciate high quality super audio CD’s. A company press release describes the project as “”an initiative aimed at touching an emotional cord among consumers through products unique in technology, design and functionality.””

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Ex-Sas Man in Atlantic Rowing Record Bid

7th May 2004 0 comments

An ex-SAS diver from Wales is among a four-man British team that plans to smash the 100 year old world speed record for rowing unsupported west to east across the Atlantic in a carbon fibre vessel. The four amateur rowers will attempt the 2,100 mile slog from Newfoundland, Canada to Falmouth, Cornwall, in the high tech 10-metre boat Pink Lady. They must complete the crossing in less than 55 days to break the record set in 1896 by two Norwegian fishermen and equalled 17 years ago by Briton Tom McClean. Firefighter Mark Stubbs, 40, from Poole, Dorset; Times journalist Jonathan Gornall, 48, from London; digital mapping specialist John Wills, 33, from Guildford in Surrey; and ex-SAS diver Pete Bray, 44, from South Wales will set off in July. They will carry all provisions for the trip on board the aerodynamic carbon fibre vessel named after their sponsors Pink Lady apples. The 35-day record for the east-west crossing, from the Canary Islands to Martinique in the West Indies, was set by 11 Frenchmen in 1992. Ex-SAS diver Mr. Peter Bray, 47, from South Wales, described the attempt as “”an amazing challenge””. “”The boat is capable and we are capable of doing it. We will row for 24 hours a day – two men on, two men off, rowing for two hours on, two hours off,”” said Mr Bray. After the Atlantic attempt, he is also planning to canoe across the Pacific.

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Avtec Fire Retardant Coatings Listed With ICC Evaluation Service

7th May 2004 0 comments

Avtec Industries of Massachusetts have disclosed that two of its high performance fire retardant coatings, Thermashield and Eco-flex C/G have been accepted and listed with the ICC Evaluation Service, Inc. According to Avtec, both products had test results that demonstrated Class 1 interior finish classification (flamespread less than 25) and a smoke-developed index of less than 450. Complete details of this evaluation report #22-27 are accessible from the www.ics-es.org website. Thermashield and eco-flex c/g are being used in transportation projects to protect composite structures from fire damage on a composite bus and light rail applications. Testing for several other composite applications is underway. “This listing confirms the excellent performance of Avtec fire retardant technology when tested in accordance with ASTM E-84 procedures,” said Ken Foret, Vice President and COO of Avtec Industries. “There are many composite applications that can benefit from the fire protection provided by THERMASHIELD and ECO-FLEX C/G and other innovative fire safety solutions supplied by Avtec.

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Comeld Advances Composite-to-Metal Joining

7th May 2004 0 comments

TWI has released Comeld, a new innovative method of metal-composite joining, based upon a metal pre-surface treatment. The research is still in the early stages, but Comeld claims to represent a step forward in its ability to join a variety of metals with composite parts. The heart of Comeld’s success lies in a metal surface pre-treatment, invented and patented by TWI, and dubbed Surfi-Scult. The paper presented by Dr Faye Smith, Senior Project Leader at TWI, at the recent Composites Processing Association event in Birmingham focussed on a specific set of materials (GFRP joined to stainless steel for example) that were deemed to be appropriate to the marine industry. Demonstrations were also made of joins between other materials (CFRP joined to titanium for example) which proved that this technology can be applied to many joints between many different metal and composite combinations. The metals that TWI have used to date in Comeld joints are titanium, aluminium and stainless steel, although the TWI said that many other metals and alloys are suitable for this process and will be used in the future “The composites that we have used to date are carbon fibre reinforced epoxy and glass fibre reinforced polyester. As with the metals, many other composite materials are suitable and will be investigated as part of on-going research”, said Faye Smith. To make Comeld joints the pre-treatment (Surfi-Sculpt) that is applied to the metal uses, in the work done so far, an electron beam to move material around the surface of the metal. This produces protrusions (which TWI call ‘proggles’) and holes in the metal. The proggles and holes can be made to be any shape required and the area seen on joints in the image above took only 8 seconds to treat. Following the pre-treatment the composite is then laid up onto the metal, either with or without an additional adhesive layer, to form a Comeld joint between the two materials. Judging by the research findings available from the TWI, the Comeld joint fails at a much higher load and absorbs far more energy before failure, than a conventional joint of identical dimensions. According to Dr Smith, “The preliminary research results have been so encouraging that we are offering the technology to industry at this very early stage. The intention is that, alongside in-house development, a collaborative project (known as a Group Sponsored Project or GSP) is being set-up so that interested companies can collaborate and direct the way future research is performed. In the GSP, Comeld technology will be used in conjunction with joints and materials of interest to participating companies so that they have early access to data that is relevant to their applications” This project is expected to begin later this year. The potential applications for this technology cross all the industry sectors as composite materials and metals are used and joined in many industries. A composite component could be manufactured using the same processes as previously (e.g. RTM or vacuum infusion) but using Comeld technology a metallic edge could be applied all the way around the component during the manufacture. This metallic edge would then allow the component to be welded in place to a metallic structure.

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Composites Merit Badge for US Scouts

7th May 2004 0 comments

The M.C. Gill Corporation is to help fund development of a Composites Merit Badge for the Boy Scouts of America. Merwyn C. Gill, Chairman of the Board of M.C. Gill Corporation, said that “Working to create a Composites Merit Badge would show thousands of youths what composites are all about, introduce them to these materials and perhaps even interest them in a career in this growing field. There are Merit Badges for many other fields, so it only makes sense to work toward developing one that encourages them to learn about composites.” The San Gabriel Valley Council, Boy Scouts of America is working with M.C. Gill to create the requirements, pamphlet and related materials for the badge. The first phase in this process is meetings with a group of active Scout Leaders, Merit Badge counsellors and composites industry experts to outline a development plan. Once the requirements and materials have been refined they will be revised and retested in a variety of venues, including a demonstration at the 2005 National Jamboree. “Once we are certain that it’s completely ready to go, we will formally submit the Composites Merit Badge for consideration to the National Boy Scout organization for review. After they have had a chance to consider it, we hope that it can become a part of the national program. Learning about Composites will be a positive addition to the program and Scouting appreciates this involvement and support,” said Bob Booker, Scout Council Executive Director. Merit Badges have been part of the Boy Scout tradition since Baden-Powell first created the program nearly 100 years ago.

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AOC, Reichhold and Dow increase Resin Prices

7th May 2004 0 comments

Further to last weeks price rises, AOC, Reichhold and Dow have increased the prices of resins.

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Composite Skateboards Offering Improved Durability

7th May 2004 0 comments

Mitchell Boards and Would Inc. have collaborated in designing what they claim to be an indestructible revolutionary fibre composite skateboard. Six years in the development, the fibre composite boards are expected to have mass appeal in the US, and potentially world-wide skateboard industry. The fibre-composite deck will initially be distributed in Australia and the United States, the world’s biggest skateboard market, from May 2004. Company Director, Jenny Mitchell said an agreement had been signed with Queensland company Would Incorporated to brand, market and distribute the “”decks” around the world. “”We’re the inventors …we needed to find someone who has had success in commercialising products, particularly in the US,” she said. “”The US skateboard industry is worth more than $7 billion a year, even if we only take a small percentage of that it still means big dollars.” Ms Mitchell would not elaborate on either the material used in the flexible fibre composite, or the process used to make the boards, as the technology was under worldwide patent. The Mitchell board – three years in the making – is claimed to have a much longer life than the traditional wood–boards, and more eco friendly. Mitchell Boards director Michael Collins said wooden decks took about 12 hours to make and retailed for up to AUS $200. In comparison, fibre composite boards could be completed in 30 minutes and would cost about AUS $150. Mr Collins said the board would eventually be sold in 23 countries under the Would Inc. brand, with a woodpecker logo. The companies have already signed up some Australian riders to promote the board and will soon target the bigger US professional stars. The Boards will be exhibited at the forthcoming Innovation Festival in Australia.

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Composites Investment in Czech Republic Fuels Industrial Growth

7th May 2004 0 comments

Industrial production in the Czech Republic grew by 5.8 per cent in 2003 a growth fuelled by the composite and materials sectors, and the growth in the automotive industry, according to an Investment promotion agency. In 2002, the country produced 22,500 tons of composites, a volume which looks to have been exceeded in 2003. According to a recent survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers (2002), investments to the Czech Republic are becoming profitable within two-years’ time, which is the primary reason why companies like Saint Gobain Vertex, Schneider Electric, Faurecia, Vivendi, Valeo, and numerous others have invested in composite production plants in the region. The Ministry of Industry and Trade established Czechinvest as an investment promotion agency to help companies that are interested in setting up in the Czech Republic.

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