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Composites Industry News

News for 25 November 2005


Composite Oracle Helps SGL Technologies Determine Failure

25th November 2005 0 comments

SGL Technologies GmbH supplies the German Company Medi Bayreuth with carbon fibre struts for prosthetics, the reason for using carbon fibre in prosthetics being the high rigidity and light-weight, which for this application means a better quality of life for the user.

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CBS Homes Plans Affordable Composite Housing

25th November 2005 0 comments

CBS Homes, the developer of patented fibreglass composite exterior support walls, has announced plans to locate a state-of-the-art Construction Technology Campus (CTC) in Florida. James P. Antonic, President and C.E.O. of CBS Homes Florida, will be meeting with state officials and parish governments to unveil his business plan to build affordable and sustainable homes in Louisiana. The CTC will bring together manufacturers of glass, windows, doors, sheeting, and insulation in one location to create a core of parts needed to build homes to a higher standard. These components will flow into the hurricane resistant fibreglass composite wall panels creating economies in construction not available when combining products from a variety of independent and scattered makers. Uniting all the exterior wall component manufacturers at one location will showcase the best methods to mitigate potential disaster damage with sustainable buildings. This integrated process will save time, money, and create a finished house at a lower cost with improved features compared to conventional homes built on-site. According to Mr. Antonic, this one site will synergize research, manufacturing and sales. There is no other site in the United States where manufacturers are located in the same place, he explains. “The CTC can be Louisiana’s response to the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and produce immediate mitigation in a meaningful way throughout the state. CBS Homes uses pultruded fibreglass composites to create support wall framing for residential and commercial buildings. CBS claims its prices are about 20 percent lower than other structural support methods. The complete framing package, which includes rafters, trusses, joists and wall panels, is stronger, safer, and longer lasting than any other product commercially available in the construction and building industries, according to Mr. Antonic. “These homes are energy efficient, will never rot, have higher resale value, lower insurance rates and lower maintenance costs than homes built with any other type of support framing structures.”

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Lockheed Martin Awarded $2.9 Billion F/A-22 Raptor Lot 5 Production Contract

25th November 2005 0 comments

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $2.9 billion contract by the U.S. Air Force for continued production of F/A-22 aircraft through November 2007. “”As the Air Force has announced, we have concluded negotiations to produce 24 F/A-22 5th Generation stealth fighter aircraft as previously authorized in the FY-05 Defense Budget. This is great news for the Department of Defense, the U.S. Air Force and the nationwide F/A-22 Raptor team,”” said Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F/A-22 program manager. The new Lot 5 production contract will increase the total number of contracted aircraft to 107. To date, 53 aircraft have been delivered to the U.S. Air Force and 66 have completed final assembly. The Air Force is flying the F/A-22 Raptor at four bases across the United States and is preparing for Initial Operational Capability in December. The F/A-22 Raptor is built at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facilities and also includes 1000 nationwide suppliers and subcontractors in 42 states. Final assembly and initial flight testing of the Raptor occurs at the Marietta plant facilities.

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Eastman Launches Laboratory in Shanghai

25th November 2005 0 comments

Eastman Chemical Company last week inaugurated its China Lab in Shanghai, to support the development of new formulations and performance-enhancing applications for North Asia-based customers. Eastman’s Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President Greg O. Nelson unveiled the new facility, the first of its kind in the region, with customer representatives and employees at a grand ribbon cutting ceremony. “The China Lab represents Eastman’s latest commitment to the Chinese market,” said Greg O Nelson. “This strategic investment enables us to introduce our world-class expertise and decades of technical excellence to this dynamic market, for the benefit of our local customers.” The Eastman China Lab is located in the Pudong New Development Area of Shanghai. Scientists and engineers at the Eastman China Lab will partner with local universities, customers and research institutions to provide faster, enhanced technical assistance as well as facilitate strategic or joint development projects and partnerships. “With this newly established technology group, we’ll work to enhance customer satisfaction by providing joint technology development and innovative solutions right here, where our customers are,” said James Dickerson, Eastman’s technology service manager for China. “When they succeed, we succeed.” The lab currently has eight full-time scientists and engineers on staff, and Dickerson anticipates it will grow to support Eastman’s expanding businesses in the North America region.

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15% Annual Growth Forecast for Composite Decking

25th November 2005 0 comments

US demand for decking is projected to advance 2.8 percent per year through 2009 to 5.7 billion board feet, valued at $5.8 billion. The relative stability of the decking market stems from the fact that more than 85 percent of demand is generated through repair and improvement activity. New markets will offer more mixed prospects. These and other trends are presented in Wood & Competitive Decking, a new study from The Freedonia Group. The US decking market has seen a shift in product mix in recent years. In 1994, wood decking materials accounted for 97 percent of volume demand, with only minimal use of alternative decking materials. Between 1994 and 2004, the replacement of natural wood materials with alternative materials accelerated significantly. By 2004, alternative decking materials in the aggregate had acquired eleven percent of the five billion board foot market, posting double-digit gains in most markets over the span. Composite decking will provide the strongest growth opportunities, posting 15 percent annual growth through 2009 to almost 900 million board feet. Demand for composite decking will be fuelled by its high durability and low maintenance requirements, as well as by product advances that provide a more realistic wood appearance. Other alternative decking materials such as plastic and aluminium will also show strong growth, rising nearly eleven percent per year through 2009. Demand for these materials will benefit from many of the same performance characteristics composite materials have. However, these decking materials often provide less favourable aesthetics and a much higher price than composite or wood materials, which often limits use in the key residential market. Despite significant competition from alternative decking materials, wood will remain the dominant material used to produce and repair decks in the US, accounting for 81 percent of total decking demand in 2009. Wood decking will continue to reap the rewards of its good reputation and preference among consumers, builders and contractors, as well as its aesthetic appeal. Pressure-treated wood in particular will continue to benefit from its lower price compared to other woods and alternative decking materials. However, demand for wood decking is forecast to expand only 1.0 percent annually through 2009, a significantly slower pace than the overall decking market.

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Continuous Compression Moulded Profiles for Airbus A340

25th November 2005 0 comments

Continuous compression moulding has been used to produce an aerospace profile for the first time, a profile onto which the cabin interior panels are fixed. The patented production system allowed all the technical target to be met and also achieved a weight reduction of over 50%. ACM Markdorf invested more than two years of development and intensive test series to meet all the requirements from Airbus. It is planned to manufacture more than 9000 meters of profile in 2006, for over 80 aircraft. This new carbon reinforced PEI profile replaces the aluminium profile.

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UltraFlex Honeycomb Core

25th November 2005 0 comments

Ultracor has introduced UltraFlex, a honeycomb core with distinctive cell geometry that allows compound curvatures. UltraFlex is claimed to provide similar or higher mechanical properties compared to hexagonal cores of equivalent density, together with exceptional Formability into compound curvatures. UltraFlex can be tailor made using practically any non-metallic web material and core densities can match existing hexagonal cores.

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New Catamaran Builder in Brazil

25th November 2005 0 comments

Avante Yachts, a Brazilian company, is set to launch their new boatbuilding operation in a facility near Recife, Brazil in early 2006. The well experienced North American – European team, with many years in the Marine Industry, are primarily aiming to build innovative, sail and power multihulls using the latest eco-friendly, cost-effective marine technology on the market. “”We feel that Brazil is a viable option to building boats in China – as so many other boatbuilders in the industry look east,”” stated Allen Brown, an American partner in the new venture. “”And that’s for a number of great reasons… including the outstanding government support mechanisms in place to support boatbuilders in this country,”” he added. Company co-founder Brown attended MIT in the sixties and has been a boatbuilder for over 20 years – bringing a wealth of innovative and creative engineering to the company. “”Not only do we feel that using emerging technologies to drastically save on the cost of, or completely eliminate fossil fuels (it may be inevitable), makes sense… I think it’s simply smart boatbuilding to use what tools and products we have available to build better, more efficient boats,”” said Richard Kastelein, Brown’s partner. “”And the fact that we can build boats that are more environmentally friendly in an increasingly more sensitive ocean environment also adheres to our ethos.”” “”What was not feasible three years ago is very possible now,”” added Kastelein.””At the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) show in Amsterdam this year it was clear that cutting edge composites, prepregs, moulds and resin infusion are the answer when it comes to requirements for stronger and lighter laminates, less wasteful production, better use of labour and cleaner working environments.”” The group not only has day charter catamarans on their mind – but has also been discussing the production of cruising power and sail catamaran lines with several designers. With a startup five-axis CNC plug maker in Paraguay offering affordable moulds, Avante Yachts are looking towards capitalizing on the latest technologies in yacht construction to fuse efficiency, strength and quality in their boats. The success of The Catamaran Company, who sold over 250 boats last year has also caught their attention. “”After ten years in the vibrant Caribbean industry, it became clear that catamarans would take over many of the markets including day charter, term charter, and the cruising crowd,”” said Kastelein. “”The incredible success of catamarans.com is a clear litmus test of what’s to come. Baby boomer’s are entering retirement and have comfort in mind… and hands down, a catamaran wins when it comes to chartering, living aboard and the cruising life.”” The advantages of building in Brazil include – a government program allowing for duty free importation of quality marine products from overseas for boatbuilders that export their final product out of the country, a large pool of talented craftspersons, competitive salaries, low cost of living, vast array of fine products such as farmed hardwoods, resins, composites, fibreglass and much more… all produced in the large and diverse country of over 200 million people.

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Several Orders for Composite Airbus A350

25th November 2005 0 comments

ALAFCO, TAP and ILFC have all announced orders for composite-structured Airbus A350s. ALAFCO, the Kuwait-based international aircraft leasing company, has signed a contract for 12 Airbus A350s with options on six more, reaffirming the commitment that it announced in June. It is the first leasing company to select the new jetliner. Deliveries of ALAFCO’s A350-800s are due to begin in the third quarter of 2012. “We believe in investing for the future, and the Airbus A350 is a great way to do that,” says ALAFCO Chairman and CEO Ahmed Alzabin. “Our customers in the Middle East and around the world will want the improved economy and range that the Airbus A350 offers and, when they do, we will be ready to supply it.” TAP Portugal, an all-Airbus operator, has announced the decision to acquire 10 Airbus A350s and seven Airbus A330-200s to modernise and reinforce its long-haul fleet. TAP’s decision confirms herewith the number of sales for the A350 of 143 aircraft from 10 customers. TAP will cover its long-haul route network with its A330s and A350s. It will add the new A330-200 aircraft starting from 2007, in response to the increased demand for its destinations in South America, Africa and North America. A350 deliveries will begin in 2013. Both the A330s and the A350s will be fitted with a comfortable two-class layout. The TAP A330-200 will accommodate 268 passengers. CEO of TAP Portugal Fernando Pinto underlined, that, “this order of Airbus A330s and A350s is a natural step for our airline, it will help build on our success and enable us to provide our passengers with extraordinary travel comfort. TAP is dedicated to making forward-looking decisions, investing in the most modern technology and operational efficiency, and this decision is no exception.“ International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), the world’s largest commercial leasing company and a subsidiary of American International Group, Inc, has signed a contract with Airbus for 12 new A350 aircraft. “The Airbus A350 is the natural choice for a global lessor like us,” said ILFC Chairman and CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy. “The A350’s innovative features combined with operational commonality with existing Airbus fleets, give it a winning performance with our customers, as well as making it an attractive asset to invest in for the future. It complements our portfolio of Airbus aircraft in which the A330 and its singe-aisle Family are the cornerstones.” ILFC was a launch customer for Airbus’ A319, A321-200, A330-200, A330-300, A340-600 and A380, all market leaders in their categories, and has ordered virtually every type of Airbus airliner. It is Airbus’ largest single customer worldwide. ILFC has a portfolio of more than 750 airliners. By placing an early commitment for the A350 series, including A350-800s and A350-900s, ILFC underlines the confidence leasing companies and financial markets are placing in the value of Airbus’ new aircraft. Airbus’ new A350 comes in two versions – the A350-800 selected by ALAFCO, which can fly 253 passengers up to 8,800 nm/16,300 km, and the larger A350-900, which can seat 300 passengers on ranges of up 7,500 nm/13,900 km. Both versions feature the best economy in their class, as well as the lowest maintenance costs. Both versions also feature a more spacious passenger-pleasing cabin with larger windows and greater headroom. In addition, passengers will be able to benefit from other Airbus advances, such as email connectivity and mood-lighting. With a new composite wing and a fuselage made of aluminium-lithium, which give it an airframe comprising up to 60 per cent new materials, plus a new cabin and up to 90 per cent new manufacturing part-numbers, the A350 will have an unassailable advantage when it comes to fuel consumption and seat-mile costs – as well as cash operating costs. The A350 will also retain full operational commonality with the current Airbus widebody long-range fleet by keeping most of their systems, allowing it to benefit from the “family effect”, complementing the current leading A330/A340 family, with which it shares the same type-rating.

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Lotus Exige Cup and Lotus Exige Cup 240

25th November 2005 0 comments

Lotus Sport, the motor sport division of Lotus Cars, has developed two higher performance versions of the Lotus Exige, the Lotus Exige Cup and the Lotus Exige Cup 240, both developed for track use. The Lotus Exige Cup cars are based on the new 2006 Model Year Exige and are completely track ready sports coupés with uprated clutch, sports exhaust, adjustable suspension, uprated brakes, limited slip differential, switchable traction control, a T45 steel roll-over hoop and A-frame with harness mounts, fuel and ignition kill switches and a fully plumbed in fire extinguisher system. An FIA approved 6 point roll cage is a no cost option*. The cars feature the same aluminium and composite chassis and bodywork as their road-going siblings, and are available with two different engine variants. Performance from both the variants is phenomenal with the Lotus Exige Cup reaching 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds and 160 km/h in 13.2 seconds, with a top speed of 237 km/h. The Lotus Exige Cup 240 reaches the 100 km/h mark in around 4.5 seconds and 160 km/h in 11.3 seconds. Top speed is 249 km/h. Both versions are built as official factory conversions of new Lotus Exige cars by Lotus Sport at its facilities at the Group Lotus Headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk, UK.

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