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Composites Industry News

News for 16 December 2005


Virgin Galactic Spaceport Agreement

16th December 2005 0 comments

Virgin Galactic will be building a $200m spaceport in the southern part of the state on a 27 square mile area of state land in New Mexico, as the base for operations of the composite SpaceShipOne. “”When Burt Rutan and SpaceShipOne won the X PRIZE in October 2004, we knew the new space industry had arrived,”” said State Secretary Rick Homans. “”And when Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin would use that same technology to fly paying passengers into space, we realized that our most important job was to convince Virgin Galactic to come to New Mexico and launch the personal spaceflight industry. This announcement is a convergence of dreams and we are proud that Virgin will be New Mexico’s anchor tenant at the world’s most exciting space tourism location. “” “”New Mexico has worked hard to bring us to their exciting new spaceport facility,”” stated Will Whitehorn, President of Virgin Galactic. “”The State has several factors that make it an ideal operations base: climate, free airspace, low population density, high altitude, and stunning scenery. Our team was highly impressed by the professionalism and the competitive pitch the state and its advisors developed. We look forward to working together to make the “”Final Frontier”” a reality for tens of thousands of pioneering space tourists. Our activities will prove the commercial viability and excellent safety technology behind private personal spaceflight and give birth to a new industry in New Mexico.””

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Fiberfil Engineered Plastics Acquires Polypropylene Business

16th December 2005 0 comments

Fiberfil Engineered Plastics has acquired DSM’s North American polypropylene business, in conjunction with the manufacturing site in Stoney Creek, ON Canada. Fiberfil Engineered Plastics Inc.’s acquisition of DSM’s polypropylene business will continue the 53-year legacy of the Fiberfil product line under the Fiberfil trademark. In addition, it will allow for the continued supply of the same products and services that the industry has come to expect from Fiberfil over the past 50+ years. Formerly known as Wilson – Fiberfil, the company was a pioneer in the growth of Engineered Thermoplastics throughout North America. Since 1952, the Fiberfil trademark has received global recognition in reinforced thermoplastics. “The prospect of enhancing Fiberfil products in the market is a tremendous opportunity”, said John Wilkie, President and CEO of Fiberfil. “The history of Fiberfil has always been providing solutions through Creative Custom Compounds. We intend to resurrect the celebrated history of this world-renowned trademark”. Fiberfil Engineered Plastics Inc. will focus on development and growth of new and existing compounded polypropylene, while maintaining superior Service and Customer Satisfaction. A well-established manufacturer of value-added reinforced thermoplastics, Fiberfil is engaged in the production of multiple resin-grade reinforcing, coloring, and additive enhancing. All products are customized to meet Specific Customer applications, a position that enables Fiberfil to market products throughout North America. The company is dedicated to providing the highest quality workmanship, meeting the agreed delivery dates, and executing custom work exactly in accordance with the end-user specification. “The sale of its polypropylene compound business is another step in DSM Engineering Plastics’ global strategy to focus on core thermoplastic resins, specifically nylon 6, nylon 46, copolyester elastomers, and specialized polyamide nylon 66 compounds,” said Auke Rottier, President of DSM Engineering Plastics (Americas). “We are excited about recent successes obtained with this strategy and the growing demand for our core resins. Backed with domestic nylon 6 polymerization capacity in Augusta, Georgia, we are preparing additional capacity for our Evansville, Indiana compounding operations to meet the increased demand for DSM products in the automotive industry.” Concerning the Stoney Creek divestment Rottier commented, “We feel our current polypropylene customers will be best served because this sale places the business in the hands of a corporation that is dedicated to its development and growth.”

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New Conductive Polyacetal Compounds

16th December 2005 0 comments

Premix Thermoplastics has introduced a line of conductive and static dissipative compounds based on copolymer polyacetal (POM), available with or without fibreglass reinforcement. Their PRE-ELEC 12-000 conductive (

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ICT Produces Composites for Landscaping

16th December 2005 0 comments

Integrated Composite Technologies, which extrudes wood plastic composite profiles under the company’s tradename EverGreen, recently introduced new products to serve the landscaping industry. ICT’s wood plastic composites are now available in both a thin, flexible profile designed for edging and a thick, rigid profile designed to be used as a border timber. Both profiles can be used in place of traditional materials such as metal, plastic or wood.

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UPM Developing New Wood Plastic Composite

16th December 2005 0 comments

UPM is developing a new wood plastic composite that makes use of recyclable raw materials from sawmilling operations and the plywood industry. The composite material manufactured from laminate edge trim is said to be durable and moisture-resistant, and is suitable for machine-tooling using the same methods as those used for wood. “The material combines the best properties of the wood fibres and polymers. In the construction sector, our focus is on the joinery and house building industries. Germany and the UK, where windows are made from aluminium, wood and PVC plastic, are interesting markets. We want to position the new material somewhere between wood and PVC to compete mainly with PVC products,” tells Markku Koivisto, Venture Manager at UPM. “”UPM has already access to raw materials that hopefully gives us a competitive edge. The use of waste material also reduces the load on the environment”, Mr Koivisto adds. The initial investment needed for developing the idea further include an extruder from Austria that would be suited to product development as well as small-scale production. The machine will be supplied at the end of December and installed at the Wood Products Division’s premises in Lahti at the beginning of January. The goal is to achieve fast growth in production capacity.

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UK SAMPE Students All Set for Paris

16th December 2005 0 comments

The UK and Ireland Chapter of the SAMPE, in collaboration with the Composites Division of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), held their Annual Student Seminar in London recently. Commenting afterwards the SAMPE UK & Ireland Chapter Student Coordinator, Dr John Summerscales of ACMC, University of Plymouth, expressed great satisfaction with another successful event: “Eight students representing six universities took part. Each gave an interesting well-presented talk on their respective research project. The presentations ranged from nanomaterials, through composites and bone cements, to Comeld joints. Two students were selected to go forward to the European Student Seminar (prior to and during the SAMPE/JEC Conference to be held in Paris during 27-30 March 2006). They were Zhujuan Wang from the Department of Materials at Queen Mary University of London who presented ‘Highly oriented nanocomposite fibres’ and Andrew Lamb from the School of Industrial and Manufacturing Science (SIMS) at Cranfield University who presented ‘An investigation into the energy absorbing properties of composite materials used in Formula-1 structure’. The third place (reserve for the Paris meeting) was awarded to Polly Sinnett-Jones (Bioengineering Sciences Research Group, University of Southampton) who presented ‘Fatigue life enhancement of carbon nanotube-based bone cements’. “As always the judges had a tough job in choosing just two winners from such a high quality field. The range of topics presented was wide and varied illustrating the strength and depth of M&P research in the Chapter area. I am grateful to the IOM3 for the provision of the venue and facilities. The judges were Andrew Long (University of Nottingham), Denis Cartié (Cranfield University), Emile Greenhalgh (Imperial College), Geoff Gould (Surface Transforms plc), Roy McCarthy (Dowty Propellers) and John Summerscales (University of Plymouth).”

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Joint Collaborative Effort in Aircraft Composites Repair

16th December 2005 0 comments

Composites Technology Research Malaysia, together with Malaysian Airline System (MAS) is in exploratory discussions with Goodrich regarding a joint collaborative effort in aircraft composites components repair. The collaborative effort by the parties includes a composites repair centre at the new Malaysian International Aerospace Center (MIAC) in Subang which was launched on 12 August 2005 by the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The composite repair centre will be the first of its kind in Malaysia and is geared towards providing repair and overhaul of commercial aircraft composite components. This proposed composite repair centre is in tandem with the call from the government to make Malaysia as a one-stop centre for the aerospace industry. The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service industry would be an addendum to the existing composites capabilities, which are currently manufacturing based. According to CTRM’s Chief Executive Officer, Col.(Rtd) Rosdi Mahmud, CTRM involvement in the composite repair centre highlights the enhancement of CTRM capabilities as the centre of excellence for aerospace and composites. “Malaysia should capitalize on its skilled work force and venturing into the MRO business will help to further diversify the existing capabilities. Collaboration among CTRM, MAS and Goodrich would be an excellent platform to kick start Malaysian foray into composites repair.” Encik Roslan said, “Malaysia Airlines has an excellent infrastructure at its Subang base for MRO activities and this collaboration for composites repair will act as a catalyst towards further skills upgrade of our workforce. It will also enable us to market a comprehensive array of MRO services to customers worldwide and act as a one stop center. At the same time MAS can cease sending its own composite components for expensive repairs overseas.”

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Toray to Expand Carbon Fibre Capacity in Europe

16th December 2005 0 comments

Toray Industries will expand production capacity of its PAN-based carbon fibre, Torayca, in Europe, in order to respond to the mid- to long-term growth in demand for carbon fibre composite materials. The company plans to build one more line of carbonization facility with capacity of 800 tons per year at its carbon fibre production and sales subsidiary Soficar, based in Abidos, France. The new facility is scheduled to start operation in August 2007. The total investment will be about 8 billion yen (about USD/EUR 60million), including the investment for expanding capacity of PAN precursor production facility at its Ehime plant. After this expansion, carbon fibre production capacity of Soficar will increase to 3,400 tons per year (currently 2,600 tons per year) and Toray Group’s production capacity is expected to expand to 13,900 tons a year in August 2007. This planned expansion in production capacity is aimed at enhancing the group’s supply structure for secondary structural elements used in aircraft applications, whose demand is expected to surge mainly in Europe and for 3k and 6k products for general industrial use. As of 2005, the global demand for PAN-based carbon fibres is estimated at approximately 25,000 tons a year. The demand is expected to grow at a rate exceeding 10% a year, reaching 34,000 tons in 2008. Toray previously embarked on a series of large-scale investments, mainly in 12k and 24k products that are widely used in applications ranging from primary structural elements for aircrafts to industrial use. These investments include the new facilities at Soficar that started operation in October 2004 and the facilities at CFA in the U.S. starting operation in early 2006, followed by those at its Ehime Plant expected to go into operation in early 2007. The announced enhancement in capacity this time is aimed at further promoting its strategic expansion of the carbon fibre composite material business by strengthening the production system for low k fibres.

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International Award for Innovative GRP Footbridge

16th December 2005 0 comments

An advanced pedestrian footbridge spanning the Madrid-Barcelona high-speed rail link has won international acclaim in the form of the Footbridge Award 2005. Situated close to the Spanish city of Lleida and formally opened in 2004, the bridge is made of high-tech glass fibre-reinforced plastic. The bridge was designed by the Spanish engineering consultants Pedelta and built using structural components supplied by Fiberline Composites A/S, Denmark. The award, in the category “”Technology”” for medium span (30m-75m) bridges, was presented by an international panel of judges. Speaking on behalf of the panel of experts, Helena Russell, editor of the journal Bridge Design & Engineering, described the bridge as “”a world first, opening up a complete new field of structural design possibilities. The bridge makes excellent use of new technology to solve a number of specific problems. It combines the advantages of minimum maintenance and light weight, making it easy to transport and to erect.”” As the bridge would cross a major rail link, minimising disruption to services was a key priority for the Spanish railway authorities. Accordingly, the bridge was assembled at the line side and then craned into place, resulting in a railway possession time of only three hours for the complete erection,”” says Dr. Juan Sobrino, Pedelta. “GRP does not conduct electricity, which is also very important as it means there is no magnetic interference with the electrified railway,”” continued Mr. Sobrino. The 3m-wide bridge boasts a 38m span, one of the longest in Europe for a GRP footbridge. A major challenge in the project was the construction of the two arches, which each lean approximately 10 degrees inward. The bridge therefore has no simple perpendicular components but is composed of short straight sections. The final result is a triumph both technologically and in design terms. Pedelta chose Denmark’s Fiberline Composites, which specialises in GRP profiles, to develop and fabricate the structural components. The 9m long components were shipped to Spain for on-site assembly and erection.

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Four Hour Fire Rating for FRP Structural Strengthening

16th December 2005 0 comments

Fyfe Company has conducted an extensive research and development project that concluded with a Four Hour Fire Rating for their Tyfo fibre reinforced polymers with the Tyfo Advanced Fire Protection (AFP) System. The Tyfo AFP System created by Fyfe is a two part system designed to minimize heat exposure as well as provide flame and smoke spread protection. “Five Years ago FRP structural strengthening was limited by strict fire regulations for occupied buildings. Now Fyfe Company has overcome those limitations by inventing a new fireproofing material consisting of a cementitious component coupled with a hardened rock outer layer that provides up to a 4 hour fire rating with UL Approval and excellent flame and smoke spread protection,” said Ed Fyfe, President of Fyfe Company LLC. The research conducted was to find cost effective means to provide fire protection for the Tyfo Fibrwrap Systems. Working in conjunction with the National Research Council in Canada and Underwriters Laboratories, Fyfe was able to conduct testing on reinforced concrete columns, beams and slabs while under load and exposed to fire. A major concern regarding the use of composites for structural strengthening is fire. Elevated temperatures during a fire can cause epoxy resins to soften or burn, compromising the structural strength provided by the FRP, potentially leading to failures that could jeopardize the building, building occupants and rescue services. The Tyfo AFP System has received Underwriter’s Laboratory Certification to meet the requirements of ASTM E-119 and ASTM E-84.

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