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News for 16 January 2005


Multi-Axial Fabrics High-Production Composite Factory Opens in California

16th January 2005 0 comments

Multi-Axial, Inc. have issued details of their new production facility designed for high-volume production of commercial composite materials which is due to open soon near San Clemente, California. Multia-Axial assert that they will have the world’s largest production capacity for converting their two internationally patented and trade marked product lines. They are marketed under the brand names of StructurPly Engineered Thermoplastic Prepregs and Reinforcement Architectures (preforms) as well as, TowStrand Engineered Selective Reinforcements. The new 25,000 square foot facility will have an annual conversion capacity of more than 25 million pounds of StructurPly and TowStrand products that are targeted for the high-growth global and commercial market sectors. The Multi-Axial family of StructurPly Engineered Multiaxial Thermoplastic Prepreg products has balanced physical and mechanical properties for both primary and secondary structural applications. The StructurPly Engineered Multiaxial Reinforcement Architectures (performs) were designed and fabricated with up to 24 plies in thickness for the following applications: RTM and the many related process techniques, wet lay-up fabrication techniques and as precursors for the thermoset prepreggers to use to make and sell multiaxial thermoset resin prepreg on their equipment. The way-of-the-future Structur Plyfamily of products has an inherent characteristic that reduces the fabrication cost up to 60% of the composite components: namely, materials are supplied to the customer that are ready to be placed on the cure form eliminating the need for ply cutting or lay-up. The TowStrand Engineered Selective Reinforcement products were designed to provide the most effective means of selectively reinforcing snowboards, hockey sticks and engineered wood products such as GluLam beams for building construction and many other applications. The products will be manufactured on uniquely designed machinery that collimates, prestresses (keeps fibres straight), and spreads the reinforcement fibres into a web up to 63 inches wide and maintains fibre areal weight ranging from 70 to 600 Gms per ply. The wide range of fibre areal weight per individual ply allows the engineer to design the lightest weight and most efficient composite structure at the very lowest fabrication cost. The web of fibres are pulled through the machine’s heat, pressure and cooling source at production speed ranging up to 300 feet per minute under a highly controlled process. The conversion process includes: Aramid, Basalt, Carbon, E-glass, R-glass, S2-glass, Vectran, and hybrids of these fibres. Other special fibres are also used to make products. The fibre orientation can be made in uniaxial or the combination of uniaxial and any angle degree of biaxial, triaxial, quadraxial, and multiaxial directions as required by the customer. Century Design Corporation of San Diego, California (owned by machine designer and builder for the global composites industry, Bob Basso) has been selected to build the unique multi-million dollar machinery. Multi-Axial started the research and development phase of its product line in May of 2003 and completed this task in June, 2004 at the combined total cost of $1.2 million dollars. In August 2004, “serial” production began with the proof-of-concept machinery at their Huntington Beach, California facility. Multi-Axial Fabrics will maintain the Huntington Beach facility until the new high-speed machinery is delivered to the new facility. Multi-Axial Fabrics, Inc. located in Huntington Beach, California produces a family of engineered non-woven composite fabrics that replace the existing “aerospace or conventional” woven fabrics and collimated unidirectional tapes that have been traditionally used with thermoset matrix resins.

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Boeing Selects Two New 7E7 Contractors

16th January 2005 0 comments

Boeing will use a new wing ice protection system on its all-new 7E7 Dreamliner from UK’s Ultra Electronics Holdings and Boeing have selected Goodrich Corporation’s cargo handling system for the 7E7 Dreamliner Boeing will use a new wing ice protection system on its all-new 7E7 Dreamliner. Ultra Electronics Holdings of the United Kingdom is the lead contractor on the effort, responsible for overall integration and the controlling software and electronic equipment. The United Kingdom’s GKN Aerospace will provide the composite mat for the wing ice protection system. Because the 7E7 does not use bleed air — the extraction of hot air from the engine to power systems — it is the first commercial jet airplane to use electronically based wing ice protection. The system is based on the proven technologies Ultra and GKN developed for helicopters. “This is another example of Boeing finding proven technologies and partnering with top international companies to bring the best possible solutions to our customers for the 7E7 Dreamliner,” said Mike Bair, vice president and general manager of the 7E7 program.

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BMW M6 Combines Lightweight Materials for Increased Performance

16th January 2005 0 comments

The new hugely powerful BMW M6 relied on a host of lightweight materials to generate 507bhp with a V10 5.0 litre engine. To obtain the greatest performance from the M6, engineers focused their efforts on paring weight from the 645Ci to offer racetrack dynamics without compromising real-world on-road comfort. In this regard one of the M6’s principal design features was borrowed from the M3 CSL – the carbon-fibre roof, which reduces the weight further – saving nearly 5kg and contributes towards the overall weight of just 1710kg.

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ACG Wins Award for Olympic Bike Contribution

16th January 2005 0 comments

Advanced Composites Group (ACG) have been awarded with the Enterprise in Sport Award, for their contribution to the carbon fibre bikes that the winning British cycling team were equipped with in this years olympics. Team GB Cycle team were equipped with carbon fibre bikes that were designed and built by ACG when they competed at the Athens Olympics in August 2004, winning 2 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze between them. The latest achievement was awarded to ACG in recognition of the company’s contribution to sport. The EMDA (East Midlands Development Agency) awarded ACG their Enterprise in Sport Award, which was collected by Dimitris Katsanis, designer of the bike, when he attended the BBC Midlands Sports Personality of the Year Event on Sunday 5 December 2004. The bikes were built at ACG’s structures division, Advanced Composites Components (ACC) where a skilled team of designers and laminators work on projects that range from aerospace and automotive prototypes to the design and build of tools for these and many other market industries.

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Hybrid GMT Composite Instrument Panel Carrier Wins SPE Innovation Award,

16th January 2005 0 comments

At its 34th-annual Innovation Awards gala in November 2004, the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) International’s Automotive Division board of directors awarded a new, hybrid glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) composite/steel lower instrument panel (IP) carrier with a first-place finish for the Most Innovative Use of Plastics in the Body Interior category. Featured on vehicles from Ford, Volvo, and Mazda, the IP carrier is claimed to reduce weight, provides parts consolidation for easier assembly, lowers cost, and improves noise/vibration/harshness (NVH) and crash performance. Joining representatives from the OEMs and Tier supplier, Faurecia, in accepting this award were members from the three molders – FPK and Faurecia Molding Div. in Europe and Nishikawa in Japan – and the materials supplier, Quadrant Plastic Composites. The same IP carrier is now being used with 6 IP designs. “It is an enormous success story for us and our partners and tells that good partnership and team-working leads to successful products”, says Volker Fritz, CEO of Quadrant Plastic Composites. It was designed as part of a new cockpit strategy called Syntes by Faurecia to commonize components and systems across multiple platforms, and meet or exceed all global safety standards and cost targets, while still retaining each vehicle’s signature look and feel. The Syntes cockpit system that the hybrid IP carrier is used on integrates over a dozen features, including the vehicle’s cross-car beam, and is lighter than traditional steel-intensive cockpits. This new concept launched last year on an entire Ford platform – for the Ford Focus and C-Max, the Volvo S40 and V50, and the Mazda3 passenger vehicles. The IP – and in particular its carrier – has a very important structural and safety role in a passenger vehicle, essentially functioning as the skeleton of the cockpit. It holds the front-end of the passenger compartment, ties left and right side of the vehicle together, stiffens the front-end for crash, supports the steering column, holds the airbag deployment canisters and HVAC system, and is the structural component from which hangs the IP topper, instrument cluster, centre console, knee bolsters, and glovebox door. The IP carrier must pass rigorous testing, since it must withstand high loading during impact. Required safety standards and tests vary by geography.

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Marlite Introduces FRP Ceramic Tile Alternative

16th January 2005 0 comments

Marlite has unveiled Symmetrix with Sani-Coat, a scored FRP panel coated with an exclusive sanitary sealer. Symmetrix panels, available in a variety of colours, are grooved to resemble ceramic tile and grout lines. Once scored, Marlites exclusive Sani-Coat sealer is applied to the entire panel, providing excellent resistance to mould and mildew. Independent testing has shown Marlite’s Symmetrix to be more resistant to mould and mildew than typical unsealed ceramic tile application.

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New Samson Window System Utilises GFRP

16th January 2005 0 comments

Specialist building component supplier, Octaveward, have designed a new “performance” window system, Samson, using a pultruded glass/polyester composite.

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Honeywell Complete Sale of Performance Fibres Business to Sun Capital Partners

16th January 2005 0 comments

Honeywell has completed the sale of its Performance Fibres business to Sun Capital Partners, Inc.

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University Takes National Lead on Earthquake Study

16th January 2005 0 comments

The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Nevada a $2 million grant to take the lead on research studying the safety and performance of highway bridges under destructive earthquakes.

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Boeing Finishes 2004 Strong with Increase in Commercial Airplane Orders

16th January 2005 0 comments

Boeing has released its year-end commercial airplane orders numbers, capping a strong year in which it successfully launched the all-new 7E7 Dreamliner and 747 Special Freighter programs. Net orders increased nearly 14 percent to 272 in 2004 from 239 in 2003, reflecting improving conditions in the commercial aviation market. Also, as announced yesterday, Boeing delivered as planned 285 commercial airplanes during 2004. On stronger demand, Boeing plans to increase production in 2005 to approximately 320 airplanes, with further increases expected in 2006. “”The launch of the 7E7 and the unprecedented interest it has generated was a great highlight for 2004,”” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally. “”All across Boeing Commercial Airplanes, we had a strong year because we kept our focus on meeting our commitments to our customers, continuing to improve our quality and productivity, and investing in our future. As we enter 2005, we will build on the successes of 2004. We look forward to continued momentum on the 7E7 and a relentless focus on helping our customers succeed.”” During 2004 Boeing logged a total of 126 customer-announced orders and commitments for the 7E7 Dreamliner, including 56 7E7s booked as firm orders. Overall Boeing has received deposits from customers securing nearly 250 7E7s, which essentially commits the first two years of planned production deliveries. Eight airlines have joined the 7E7 Dreamliner launch team in just eight months after its April 2004 launch: ANA and Japan Airlines from Japan; First Choice and Blue Panorama from Europe; Continental and Primaris airlines in the United States; Air New Zealand; and Vietnam Airlines. Other Boeing Commercial Airplanes highlights in 2004 included: Assembling a global team to develop 7E7 engines, systems and structures. Winning 10 new orders from five customers for the 747-400 freighter, which maintains a substantial market share advantage in the large cargo aircraft segment. Launching the 747 Special Freighter and winning 20 orders for the aircraft. Teaming with Boeing Integrated Defense Systems to win the U.S. Navy’s Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft program.

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